The Hamster asked that we include a “beach clean-up” as an activity at his birthday party. While I admire his ecologically aware bend, I didn’t think parents would appreciate our encouraging their 2-5 year-olds to pick up trash on the beach, albeit we could have provided gloves and pails. You just can’t trust those toddlers not to put tasty McDonald’s wrappers in their mouths!
So, we compromised by including these stickers in the goody bags we distributed to all of the children. The Hamster was satisfied. But, continues with his clean up campaign.
I have been amazed at his interest in the environment and sometimes just a bit embarrassed as he tends to be rather vocal about it. Not everyone appreciates a preschooler reminding them to not litter. That said, I continue to look for ways to encourage him to think green.
Some of my favorite green sites provide lots of tips for teaching kids to live a green lifestyle. Not all are easy to integrate into my not quite crunchy life. So, I have my own list of things I do to go green and increase the Hamster’s awareness of the benefits. Call it the “lazy mom’s” going green program or a practical approach to saving the environment.
1. Recycle Simply – Since we do not have a recycling program in our neighborhood, recycling means schlepping bottles and newspapers to a local center. We do this less than I care to admit. We do however, save packing materials for use in art projects, buy reusable fabric tablecloths for parties instead of paper and save jars and bottles for crafts and science experiments.
2. If you can’t Compost - enrich - As our HOA would be less than pleased if we installed a compost bin, we do our part by saving old coffee grounds for our plants.
3. Use cloth - I’ve become an advocate of cloth napkins, dishrags and tablecloths. As with cloth diapers, I debate whether this is truly ecologically sound as we use up more water…but I like the look!
4. Buy a Manual House sweeper - We love our electric sweeper but, the hand sweeper we keep in the playroom is a favorite of the kids and never needs charged!
5. Switch to energy (and money saving) light bulbs. This actually was my thrifty DH’s idea. What a difference though in our electric bills and they are easy to find at Home Depot and Lowes.
6. Use Cloth grocery bags - Wondering what to do with your collection of cosmetic company, beach and promotional totes? I keep mine in my car to use for grocery shopping and trips to Target. Since retailers have decided to switch to “easy-rip bags” these have become indispensable for bigger shopping trips.
7. Reuse plastic grocery bags as car trash bags - When, as I often do, I forget my bags- I order up plastic. Yes, paper may be better, but the small plastic ones get returned to my car to hang nicely from my hand brake as a trash bag.
8. Shop at The Farmer’s Market – This is oh, so trendy now but, I’ve always found it a great way to kill an afternoon with a child.
9. Buy a box of painter’s gloves and do a beach, park, forest clean-up. We do this once or twice a week at our local beach. The Hamster loves wearing the gloves and is thrilled by the opportunity to pick up trash without being admonished.
10. Eat vegetarian once a week - Besides the health benefits, meat production is energy intensive and creates pollution. You probably do this already on “Cheese Pizza’ or “Mac and Cheese” days - now talk about it!
11. Freeze it for smoothies – Just as veggies and fruits get ripe – we go out of town or eat out or find some other way to not want to use them. So, I freeze them to use in soups and smoothies.
12. Christmas gift wrap – flip it over. Until recently. I was a sucker for buying Christmas gift wrap to support various causes. Since I’m getting greener by the minute, I have mountains to use up and less reason to use it. Recently I’ve begun flipping it over and painting drawing/ stickering on it. We wrap gifts in it for all occasions.
13. Buy greener toys - Besides the nicer feel, trendier look, and better play value – wooden toys last longer and can be handed down or sold on E-bay.
One of the things i noticed you didn't touch on was what you use to clean your home with? All of your ideas are very helpfull, but what about the chemicals you use while cleaning? There are alot of useful eco-friendly
non toxic cleaners out there.