Beyond Recycling: 11 Small Ways To Help Save The Planet Everyday
Want to make small changes at home that will have a big impact on the environment? Here are 10 simple steps your family can take today…
Earth Day is celebrating its 50th anniversary on April 22 and the theme for 2020 is climate action. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity, but we can make a difference by taking small steps to reduce our family’s carbon footprint.
We suggest reading through this article with the whole family and choosing four or five changes you’d like to focus on and create a family action plan. You could even set up a reward chart system that allows family members to earn stars for every planet-saving task they accomplish. When you have 10 stars, you get a reward!
Here are 11 ways you can help save our beautiful planet…
How to Help The Environment As A Family
Here are 10 ideas to get you started…
Reduce your waste
You can reduce the amount of trash you produce by buying less. Before you snap up that sale top in three different colors, ask yourself if you really need them all or if one is enough. You can also make some smart swaps that will decrease your waste: opt for reusable food containers over disposable sandwich bags, bar soap over liquid soap, and cloth napkins over paper ones. Avoid buying any items that are overpackaged.
Reuse or repurpose household items
Instead of throwing away old items, try to figure out how you could reuse them. Glass food jars can be used to store small objects in the shed or for children’s craft projects. Egg cartons are perfect for starting seedlings for your garden or craft projects. Old T-shirts can be sewn into reusable shopping bags. Clothes and books you no longer want can be donated to charity or shared with friends.
Use less water
Reducing your water usage not only helps conserve this precious natural resource, it decreases the amount of energy used to deliver it to your home and cuts down on pollution. Easy ways to save water include turning the tap off while you brush your teeth, choosing a shorter cycle on your washing machine and taking shorter showers.
Choose reusable shopping bags
States such as California and New York have banned single-use plastic bags, while other states have gone in the opposite direction and placed bans on plastic bans. Avoid the whole controversy by ditching plastic and bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.
Get into composting
Fun fact: Composting at home for one year can save the same amount of global-warming gases that a washing machine produces in three months! Forget the old myth that composting is complicated and messy – our easy guide to composting for kids will have you set up in no time and get the whole family involved.
Switch to energy-efficient lightbulbs
Replacing traditional incandescent lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED blubs can decrease your energy consumption by more than 80 percent. You’ll not only be helping the planet, you’ll save money on your electricity bill too.
Use non-toxic cleaning products
Traditional cleaning products contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other nasties that can have negative effects on your family’s health and pollute the environment. Choose cleaning products that are certified by Green Seal or ECOLOGO to ensure they’re truly green. You can also try natural homemade alternatives such as vinegar and baking soda.
Ditch the disposable cups
According to Clean Water Action, Americans throw away a whopping 108 billion disposable cups each year – they could circle the Equator 300 times! By replacing one disposable cup a day with a reusable mug for one year, you could save 87.6lbs of greenhouse gas emissions, 76 gallons of water, 126 trees and 12lbs of waste. Amazing!
Start a vegetable garden
Growing your own food without pesticides reduces the amount of toxic chemicals that end up in your children’s bodies and in our waterways. It also cuts back on harmful carbon emissions that are produced when transporting food from the farm to the grocery store. Even a small veggie patch can make a difference!
Driving at a steady speed of 50mph uses 25 percent less gas than driving at 70mph, so slowing down can save emissions and money. Better yet, leave the car and walk or ride your bike to work whenever you can.
Avoiding plastic is harder than it sounds because it’s everywhere! You can reduce the amount of plastic you use by choosing toys that are made from wood or other sustainable materials, buying products that are packaged in little or no plastic, and storing your food in silicone, glass or stainless steel containers. Plastic is also hidden in clothes made from synthetic fibers, glitter and other craft products, so read labels before you buy.
- Ready to spring clean your nursery? Here are our tips and tricks for creating non-toxic cleaners, simplifying storage and creating a safe space for you and your tot.
- Planting seeds and helping them grow seems like a simple activity, but it teaches children a range of valuable life skills that will last a lifetime. See our article on 7 things gardening teaches kids.