EMA Parent Board Chair, Constance Zimmer shares her favorite (simple) tips for greening your home and family.
- Bring your own bags everywhere and use them for everything, not just groceries. Shove them into your purse, your car, your bike basket, etc. BAGGU makes amazing foldable, smashable bags to keep with you at all times.
- Buy organic whenever you can. Farmer’s markets are the cheapest, most sustainable way to buy organic and local. Trader Joe’s is a good inexpensive alternative if there’s not a farmer’s market near you.
- Use cloth napkins instead of paper at home. It’s also a great touch for a lunchbox.
- Recycle, recycle, recycle.
- Buy products that use recycled materials.
- Buy craft books that inspire and teach how to use materials/things you have in your home to make new unique toys and gifts. This is a great activity to do with your kids as well.
My daughter, Coco, has found a wonderful amount of joy in giving some of her friends an old toy that she has loved but grown out of, so it becomes a gift from the heart and a great toy for someone else. An old Elmo doll that has been loved and has her smells on it becomes a new baby’s favorite snuggly toy.
- Get a water filter for your house and bottle your own water in stainless steel bottles. You’ll not only help the environment, you’ll save a ton of money! There are water bottles that come with filters built into the lid! Brita and Bobble make great ones if you don’t want to spend the money on a water filter for your home.
- Buy vintage! I search and scour eBay for any “new” wants my daughter has put on her Christmas or birthday wish list before going to a store and buying brand new. Vintage books are a big hit in our household as well. Kids don’t know the difference, I promise, they’re just happy to get it. Plus, there’s so much less packaging when you buy second-hand.
- Any clothes of Coco’s that are too soiled to hand down to a friend or sibling, gets cut into hankies, napkins, blankets for fairies, etc. The fairies and dolls don’t care if the edges are sewn, by the way. You can make them into clothes for dolls too, if you want to get super crafty.
- Grow some herbs if you don’t have the space for fruit or veggies in your house. Herbs can be grown in a pot, if need be! Let your kids help with the watering and with the gathering for meals, or mint for lemonade. Any little bit helps teach them with hands on experience.
- Books about being green are so important. Kids get to see some of their favorite characters doing good for the environment. It gives them that extra push, some might need.
- Turn large vintage scarfs into capes, instead of buying something that your kids will grow out of in a year or less when they don’t want to be a superhero anymore.
- Think before you shop. Do I really need this? How much energy was used in creating this? Can this be recycled or given to someone else once I’m done with it?
- Watch and read Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax!
Some of my favorite kids products and sites:
- Melissa and Doug make great wooden and educational toys.
- Citrus Lane delivers the best kids products to your door that are on the market. They do the research for you.
- Haba makes great wooden kids toys
And just remember, you don’t have to be perfect when it comes to being green. Every little bit counts!