Sustainable Living: Going Green as a Family
If you read or watch the news, you’re probably familiar with the notion of global warming and how it’s only getting worse. While we can’t control the actions of everyone, we can reduce our own carbon footprints as individuals and families by implementing small practices everyday. Here are some sustainable living tips for the whole family.
Pre-cycle It’s likely you’ve heard of recycle and reuse, but what about pre-cycle? As a consumer, you have the ultimate say about what you buy. Take a moment and think about your buying habits. Do you purchase items that contain a lot of packaging? Are you buying from companies that have eco-friendly business practices?
According to a University of California-Santa Barbara 2015 study, nearly 8 million metric tons of plastic finds its way to the world’s oceans every year. Another not so fun fact: Based on plastic recycling facts and figures, it takes as many as 500 years or longer to breakdown plastic in junkyards. Do you want to be part of this problem or the solution? When you pre-cycle, it means that you actively make a conscious decision about the items you buy or the way you go about buying them.
A painless way to ease into the idea of pre-cycling is to invest in your own fruit and veggie bags. This eliminates the need to buy pre-packed items or use the plastic bags located in the produce section at the store. The same goes for regular grocery bags. Instead of opting for what the store has, simply bring your own. If it seems impossible to remember the bags, get your kids involved. Kids love being able to help out. Giving them the assignment as bag master will keep them involved and connected to a sustainable practice.
Recycle When you find yourself needing to discard something, do you immediately throw it in the garbage? As a family, it’s easy to produce a lot of trash. But when you’re living sustainably, it’s important to consider whether an item can be recycled, reused or added to a compost pile before tossing it to the landfill. If you’re new to recycling, check out your city’s webpage to inquire about recycling programs and request a bin.
Reuse If you’re item can’t be recycled, can it be reused by you or someone else? If the answer is yes, think about whether or not you actually need it anymore. If you don’t have a reason to keep the item, be sure to give it to someone who can use it, or make a donation to an organization that helps others.
On the flip side, if you find yourself needing an item, consider repurposing things you already have or buying something gently used or made from recycled materials. Extend this idea across the board with your family, even with your pets. If your dog needs a soft area for napping, buy an eco-friendly dog bed and use old blankets as bedding for your dog. Your pooch will be more than cozy, and it’s easy to keep clean!
Compost When it comes to food, yard trimmings and other organic wastes, make a compost pile. This not only fertilizes your plants and garden but also decreases erosion while increasing water retention. Additionally, it repurposes natural materials and keeps them out of landfills. Going natural with fertilizer keeps the outdoors safe for your kids and pets.
Here are some other quick ways to be green:
● Ditch bottled water and use refillable water bottles. ● Pack lunches in reusable containers, and make homemade dog treats and meals. ● Turn off lights when they’re not in use. ● Unplug cords or use a power strip to turn off electrical currents when items aren’t using electricity. ● Turn the faucet off while you’re brushing your teeth. ● Walk, use a bicycle or take public transportation, when possible. ● Use non-toxic dog dishes that won’t contaminate your dog’s food or water with BPA and phthalates. ● Try Meatless Mondays (or a vegetarian diet), and make a game out of taste testing fruits and veggies.
Your kids will be adults someday. Let’s show them how to live sustainably and why it’s important. Let’s continue this valuable practice for the Earth, for our pets and for generations to come.
Photo credit: Pixabay.com