Parents want the best for their kids. This includes a liveable planet for future generations. That is why parents are going green for kids health. There are a lot of little steps you can take to minimize your carbon footprint, and to teach your children about the environment.
The four key areas you want to check your ‘green’ to ensure the best for the environment and your families health are: -water efficiency -energy efficiency -product selection -waste management. We are lucky to live in a country rich in natural resources, including water. Ways you can save and protect our water are:
1. Water Efficiency:
- Turn taps off tightly after use so they don’t drip. Do not leave water running while you brush your teeth, do dishes, clean, etc.
- Use any leftover water from plastic water bottles to water your plants, put in the pet’s water dish, etc.
- Buy bio-degradable soaps, shower gels and laundry detergent. If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, buy HE (high-efficiency) detergent since it requires less water to rinse.
- Watch what goes down the drain. Do not put harmful chemicals (found in some household cleaners, paints, solvents, pesticides, etc.) down the drain where they can harm our water systems.
- Do not use the drain as a garbage can to put cigarette butts, paper tissues, hair, etc. Teach your kids to follow your example.
2. Energy Efficiency helps the environment and lowers your electric bill. Here are some easy to follow tips:
- Replace old, power guzzling appliances with energy efficient ones. Look for the Energy Star label. Check for rebates and programs from your local government.
- Buy energy efficient light bulbs for the house. Compact fluorescent bulbs are 75% more efficient than conventional bulbs.
- Turn lights and appliances off when not in use. Computers, TV’s, stereos, and video game units still draw power when they are turned off. A power strip makes it easy to turn off several devices at once and stops them from drawing current. Don’t leave your cell phone charging longer than it needs to.
- Get solar lighting products -especially good for outdoor lighting since you don’t have to worry about power cords.
- Do not automatically reach for the car keys anytime someone has to go somewhere. Look for alternatives – like walking or biking, or even carpooling.
- Check your home for drafts and seal them up. Make sure your home has adequate insulation everywhere – the attic, basements, floors, walls, etc. Your house will be more efficient and comfortable, and you will see lower bills for heating and cooling.
3. Product Selection:
- Not all products are created equally. Look for green materials, products made with recycled materials, and bio-degradable products.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones that can leak toxins into the earth. Choose green and bio cleaning products over harsh chemicals. (See our article on using products like vinegar and baking soda to clean your house).
- Replace the chemical pesticides you use for plants, lawn and garden with non-toxic alternatives.
- Buy bags that you can reuse time and again for groceries and shopping.
- Use reusable containers and water bottles for lunches and on-the-go.
4. Waste Management:
- Reuse, recycle, renew whenever possible. Get green and blue bins from your city to put the least amount of trash in landfills.
- Organize a neighbourhood cleanup -get everyone to pitch in to clean up parks and walkways. Make an event out of it or even a fundraiser. Have prizes or accolades for ones that fill the most garbage bags.
- Look for creative ways to reuse items instead of throwing them away. Some items could be used for storing things, for crafts, for decorations (garbage art is in!)
- Look for the recycle codes on products. Plastics that can be reused are those labelled 2, 4 or 5. Plastics labelled 1, 3, 6, and 7 should only be used one time and then recycled.
Learning about going green can be something you do as a family. It will make you and the planet feel better.