Helping kids (and yourself) to start caring for the environment in teeny tiny easy steps ..
Reduce , Reuse – Going plastic free with these simple swaps
Phasing out single use plastic bags is clearly the right thing for the environment, but its going to take some getting used to for people like myself and my family that are not big environmentalists or eco warriors but ARE interested in learning how we can make simple steps to help the environment and teach our children to do the same.
From July 1st most states will have banned single use plastic bags and our local shops have done this for the last few months as a trial for Coles. It's taught me that there are some simple steps we can take to help the environment and that are not too overwhelming but that also have opened my eyes up to the waste that single use plastic really is .
Since using the reuseable shopping bags my son and I have started talking more about the environment , about the animals that are affected by humans and their plastic , about how there are only limited resources in the world and that we all need to take steps (even small ones) to assisting in keeping where we live on this planet a cleaner place.
To be honest I’m learning as my family are learning and whilst we have always preferred some things like stainless steel lunchboxes over plastic and educational wooden toys over highly processed and manufactured cheap toys , this year we have spent time in both the business and also in my family realising WHY and HOW each tiny step can help our planet .
My son is a MAJOR stressor and often ponders the extinction of mankind when its bedtime. He has often raised the fact that there are limited resources in the world and WHAT happens when they are all gone .. It's gotten me thinking how I can encourage him to feel like he is making steps towards helping in what feels like a never ending , overwhelming situation – especially when we are just 4 people in our little family ..
So I wanted to share with you how we have started doing this – making small steps towards caring for the environment ,learning a little more each week about what we can do and why we should do something even if it feels like we are getting nowhere . I'm sure there are more qualified eco warriors that have been doing this for years and better to explain it but i wanted to share our real every day beginners guide ..
What I’ve learnt this year is that taking care of the planet, and teaching our children to do the same, is a responsibility we have as parents both to our children and to the Earth we live on . Samuel (my son) is correct in that the world only has limited resources and we can help in some way or we can bury our head in the sand until its too late.
So here’s 10 simple things your family can do to be more Eco – Friendly straight away and with little effort from a newbie
1. Buy and start using reusable shopping bags .
Have some in your car ready for shopping , a few small ones in your handbag or school bag to use when you run into the shops and end up with 50 items that were NOT on the list ! The ban on plastics in supermarkets is making this so much more forced and therefore you have to rethink how you grocery shop , we have started it with ALL shopping when we go to Target or Kmart etc .
2. Start using reusable produce bags
Once we got used to reuseable shopping bags , we realised – why weren’t we doing the same for the produce we bought ? SO we swapped top them too . EASY to do and reasonably priced !!! Again , we use them , wash them and pop them in the car – we have two sets of each and rotate .
3. Go paperless.
Try and get all your bills and invoices and reports and anything you can on email . Invest in a filing system online that can hold all your receipts or important info and store it there NOT in piles on your desk or dining table ! By doing this simple thing – you are both saving yourself money (as most companies prefer to email now anyhow and charge you for paper bills) and doing you part to save millions of trees. WINNING !!!
4. REDUCE CONSUMPTION
This is a bit harder this one as no one likes to spend more money than they have too BUT I noticed we were starting to buy absolute CRAP for the kids when out , buying multiple cheaper shirts or clothing rather than the more expensive item . Than throwing them away as they didn’t last anywhere near as long . So this year we made a decision as a family that we would learn to better save for items we REALLY wanted – a more expensive table that was going to last forever versus a cheap one, NOT buying cheaper wooden toys or items that were ripping off smaller original companies and selling for cheap prices and that may last a year. Clothing too , buying one really good quality shirt versus 4 cheap ones that would only last a few washes. we have started considering reusing what we had lying around the house rather than rushing out and buying a new storage appliance etc . In doing this it made our shopping more a conscious decision and we saved more money but have nicer stuff – WINNING AGAIN !!!
5. Switch from disposable items to reusable items wherever possible – for example we LOVE buying coffee takeaway so now we use our reusable cups instead of the throw away options . I was a bit worried when we started this but not one person has ever said no or looked at me strangely when we started doing this ! It’s estimated Aussies throw away one billion single-use coffee cups every year. I must have been responsible for half of that consumption LOL !
6. Buy in bulk and use containers for lunch foods . STOP buying tiny teddies in little itty bitty packets and buy a big box and split it into Reuseable snack bags or containers . Try and reduce as much throw away rubbish for lunch time as possible . Most kindy and schools are already on board with this so its not a big stretch but every little bit helps . PLUS it saves you money when you buy in bulk rather than convenience .
7. Teach respect for the outdoors. This can start in your own backyard. Help kids plant a garden or tree. Set up bird feeders, a birdbath, and birdhouses. Kids can clean out and refill the bath daily, and clean up seed debris around feeders and restock them.
8. DRINK your own water .. Bottled water is expensive and so much wasted plastic !!!! We take our own drink bottles everywhere and fill up before we leave . If we run out we will buy if we have too or we will try and refill somewhere . lately I've seen these new machines that fill up your own bottle with filtered water using a 500 or 800 ml water bottle you supply .. How cool an idea is that !!!
9. Pass it on. Ask kids to gather toys, books, clothes, and other goods that they no longer use or want for donation to local charities. Have them ride along for the drop-off so they can see how groups such as Goodwill and the Salvation Army use donations to help others. My kids LOVE doing this and have really developed a giving heart from doing this from such a young age.
10. Conserve energy. Remind kids to turn off lights when they're not in use, power down computers, turn off the TV when nobody's watching, and resist lingering in front of the refrigerator with the door open. It all helps on the hip pocket and helps the environment !!