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Proper Green: Recycling Reprimands

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What would you do if you overheard someone giving incorrect recycling advice? Proper Green gives you the scoop on what to do in an awkward situation.
Dear Proper Green,

I took my daughter, Brenda, on a play date recently and overheard one of the mothers giving her kid the wrong information on what plastics were recyclable in our town. I don't know her that well, and didn't feel comfortable correcting her. Should I have?

-Walker D.

Dear Walker,

It's always awkward to correct anyone, especially another mom, but given the same situation, I'd encourage you to approach it differently.

You weren't judging this mom's parenting style or offering advice for the sake of offering advice, so I think you were well within your rights to speak up. After all, the intent of that mom was to give her own child sound knowledge on making a green difference (a commendable act!), and your goal was to ensure the right message was delivered.

Now, I can completely understand not wanting to make the correction in front of her child — so next time consider introducing yourself as a fellow recycling advocate and give her the low down when her child's not within earshot.

Also, here's an idea: Depending on the age of your children, consider having your next play date be a Recycling and Upcycling activity-filled get together. You can get some examples of the recyclables that are and aren't accepted in your municipality and set up a sorting game. There are also tons of arts and crafts you can create using objects that would normally be thrown out. Teach them the importance of reuse, while keeping it fun! To get some adorable inspiration, check out this Pinterest Board.

Have you ever been in a situation when you had to correct someone for a green misstep? How did you handle it?
About Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and the environment are still evolving) to providing easy ways to make your every day more sustainable, Proper Green aims to help smooth the way with answers to questions that are important to you!

Do you have a question for Proper Green? Send inquiries to Please note: Questions may be edited for clarity and length.

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Proper Green
Proper Green

Proper Green is Recyclebank's green advice column. From promoting good manners in a green world (because ideas about what constitutes proper behavior and... more

  • james and Ella Mae j. 5 years ago
    never happened
  • Bradley B. 5 years ago
    I'm currently taking a county 'Master Recycler Program' here in Oregon. It's awesome! Read here:

    Some counties may produce/offer a 'Recycler Handbook' free of charge or even better online. Example here:
  • SL S. 5 years ago
    Always encourage.
  • Nevin R. 5 years ago
    Okay, I'm a big mouth. I've stepped in and said I had the same confusion and correct them and then suggest to do what I did, call your local recycle center or waste disposal company. It usually opens a great conversation and let's me learn about some things that I was unsure about too.
  • Rebecca M. 5 years ago
    hasn't happened yet.
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