What is Jewish About Recycling?

Why is it important to turn off the light switch when we leave a room? Recycle old bottles and magazines? Find new uses for our old toys and clothes rather than throwing them away? There's a Jewish value called bal taschit that tells us that we "don't destroy needlessly." There are lots of easy--and fun--ways that kids can learn about bal taschit--from recycled crafts, to books, to videos. 

Children recycling.






The books in this list show characters giving new life to old objects, pitching in to clean up, and working together to keep their neighborhood clean.

Book covers

26 Big Things Small Hands Can Do 
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
Just a Dream
My Grandfather's Coat
Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand
Something From Nothing
Tikkun Olam Ted



After learning the ins and outs of bal taschit with the Sparks, you can also watch a fun behind the scenes video from Reading Rainbow:




Start a Compost Pile

Compost Pile

Composting is a great way to practice bal taschit and it's a fun, sensory, and scientific learning experience for kids too. Here are two great links with more information:

Composting: A Jewish Practice via MyJewishLearning
How to Make a Compost Pile in a Small Apartment via Forbes

Make Something New From Something Old

Do you have old tshirts lying around? Matzah boxes from Passover? A bunch of broken crayons? You can create something new from something old and enjoy some quality family crafting time too. In addition to the video above, here are some other ways to make something new from something old or broken:

Turn a Tshirt Into a Grocery Bag via Practically Functional
Jumbo Building Blocks via The Stay at Home Mom Survival Guide
Recycled Rain Sticks via MyJewishBoston
31 Things to Make With Plastic Bottles via DIYJoy

Plant a Garden

Grow your own veggies and plants. You can use seed packets, your PJ parsley seeds, or leftover food scraps from your own kitchen.


How does your family practice bal taschit? Share your stories with us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram. Don't forget to add #pjlibrary to your post.

« Find more activities, book lists, and recipes