To celebrate International Youth Day, our team in San Benito decided to put on a recycling event for the children in our school. International Youth Day highlights the importance of youth and the essential role they have to shape the future of their communities. We wanted to mark this by holding a fun but educational event, which focused on environmental issues. This generation will be the first to grow up in a world where resources are fast running out, and climate change is already wreaking havoc across the globe, and so educating children about the importance of these issues and what they can do to reduce their impact has never been more relevant. 

Recycling in Honduras 

When it came to planning our event we quickly realised that teaching children about the importance of recycling in Honduras had to be addressed in a very different way from how we would do it in the UK. In the UK around 40 per cent of domestic waste is currently recycled, and most local councils provide recycling collection for plastics, glass, cardboard and food waste. Therefore, such an event in the UK would focus on reminding children to sort their rubbish and not place everything in the general waste bin. However, the situation in Honduras is very different. Although Honduras does have a large recycling industry, recycling 14 thousand tonnes of plastic every month, this is mainly fuelled by economic rather than environmental motivations - plastic bottles and aluminium tins can be sold to companies, which ship them overseas to be recycled. As a result of this huge structural difference, the issue had to be tackled very differently. We chose to focus on promoting the reduction and reuse of rubbish, while mentioning the global importance of recycling and the limited opportunities to recycle which are available in this community. 

Our event 

To begin our event, we had a short informative presentation about the reasons rubbish is a problem at both the community and global levels, and also highlighting a realistic strategy to reduce waste in our communities. We also asked the kids to come up with their own suggestions, which included reducing the number of water bags they buy and instead buying a reusable plastic water bottle, and choosing glass rather than plastic bottles of fizzy drinks, as these can be returned, and reused. 

We then held a reused fashion show in which the kids made dresses out of rubbish we had collected from around the community, and they had brought from home. This highlighted the potential value of things that are often just thrown away, but in a way that was hugely enjoyed by all who took part!

Overall the event was a great success, both educating children about a hugely important issue for their generation, while also providing a fun and different afternoon for all the kids!

Written by ICS volunteer Maya Fooks