Teaching Children about Reducing Waste (Bal Tashchit)

A Shaboom! Discussion Guide for 4-7 year olds and their parents

Yasmin must hold her nose to wade through the garbage piling up outside the Plony house. Though she turns off the faucet and begs Momma Plony not to use extra paper towels, it takes a magical Sparks- inspired flood to sort out the real trash from the recyclables. Grab a sparkwich and join in the effort to reduce waste! Watch "Waste Not," Season 1, Episode 6 of Shaboom!

Follow Up Questions

  1. Why do you think Papa Plony threw garbage bags out the window?
  2. Do you remember to turn off lights in rooms where there are no people?
  3. How can you and your family reduce waste in your house? What do you think can be re-used?

Related Activities

  1. Practice saying Bal Tashchit the way Gabi and Rafi do! Try telling a friend what it means.
  2. Make toys out of empty egg cartons and paper towel rolls and save glass food containers to use for leftovers. Contact your town about what’s recyclable and fill up those bins! Young children can help separate plastic from paper.
  3. The whole family can pitch in to make new sheets of paper from bits of paper that you would otherwise discard. Use the new paper to write Rosh Hashanah greetings!
  4. Create a compost pile with your fruit and vegetable scraps after reading about this super-green kibbutz in Israel.
  5. Celebrate a special occasion by wearing costumes made from recycled materials and clothes that don’t fit anymore.

For Parents: What’s Jewish About Reducing Waste?

The concept of bal tashchit covers much more than reducing waste. For example, there are implications for endangered species and climate issues. These conservation tips for a synagogue can be extrapolated to any large organization.