We are all citizens of planet earth. In an effort to teach my own kids to be good earth citizens, we practice sustainability in and outside of our home. The school year has begun to ramp up, which means extracurricular activities are starting, and life is getting busier during this season. I have shared some activities my kids and I do on a regular basis in an effort to be good stewards and citizens of earth.
1. Repurposing Old Clothes: The average American purchases 100 rolls of paper towels a year-which equals 51,300 feet of paper towels, stretching to about 10 miles every year. When cleaning windows and mirrors I go through tons of paper towels and sometimes even a few rolls. I have started to repurpose old shirts and use them for cleaning the house. I have shirts that have had better days-they have frayed edges and seams that are coming undone. I have been able to give my old t-shirts a new life by using them for cleaning. I use them all over the house on windows, bathrooms, floors, etc. After I’m done cleaning I toss them in them in the washing machine, and clean them for the next use.
2. Reusable Snack Bags: During the school year each child uses an estimated 1,000 plastic alone. I found that the plastic bags would tear and spill when being used for snacking while we are out and about. I created these reusable snack bags to help Moms and kids reduce the waste created by using plastic snack bags.
3. Bringing a washable laundry bag with you . Using plastic bags when traveling, going to the gym, and storing dirty clothes for other sports/activities can add up quickly. I have found that using a washable laundry bag for all of those activities is more environmentally friendly, and it makes life easier. When coming back into the house, all I have to do is unzip the bag, turn it upside down, and toss the clothes and dirty bag directly into the washer. I loved using these bags so much that I started making my own for my family.
4. Composting food waste with a barrel composter: When I’m making meals for my family there is always some food waste created from cutting vegetables. During meal prep I keep a small bowl on the counter for food waste, and then I take it down to the composter. Food waste turns into rich fertilizer for your soil, which you can use in your garden. You actually don’t even need to have a composter, you can take the food scraps and bury them into the dirt in your garden. The kids will love the chance to dig into the dirt and play.
5. Reusable Water Bottles. Americans used about 50 billion plastic water bottles last year. However, the U.S.’s recycling rate for plastic is only 23 percent, which means 38 billion water bottles – more than $1 billion worth of plastic – are wasted each year. Instead, use reusable water bottles-they transport easily, you can pick out fun bottles, and they’re earth friendly. There are also many water fountains and bottle refilling stations available so it’s easy to stay hydrated while on the go. I like the brand Hydroflask.
6. Teach the kids to pick up trash and be good stewards of the Earth. Kids are closer to the ground, therefore they notice more trash than we do. When my kids and I are running errands, or out exploring local and national parks, we pick up trash left by other people. I keep some hand sanitizer with me at all times to clean our hands afterwards. By teaching my kids to pick up trash that is left behind, they learn the importance of being good stewards of the earth.
7. Bring Reusable shopping bags with you. Bringing your own bags with you when you go shopping can positively impact the environment by using less plastic bags. It can also positively impact your family budget. Stores like Target will give you 5 cents off for every reusable bag you use on your shopping trip, wow! Over the course of a year that can really add up, especially if you shop there frequently.
~ Caitlin, Owner/Designer of Sharp Plant Designs