The best way to start tackling your environmental impact is to start at home. Going zero-waste is a big lifestyle change - but by involving the whole family it can become a creative and educational learning experience. Here’s a few ways to get everyone involved, including the kids!!
1. Teach Kids About the Environment
This is the most long lasting, zero-waste method with children. Spending time in nature can lead to kids being an advocate for a mor sustainable life later on. We can be teachers for children to learn early on the power and importance of nature by taking time to walk outside and teach them about the planet, plants, and animals. Not only is this incredibly interactive, but can we greatly impactful for their future advocacy and understanding for the importance of our earth. In addition, teaching children about the negative effects of waste and the positive effects of waste management, will help them grasp the significance of taking care of our planet.
2. Pack Trash-free Lunches
This is great way for your children to be zero-waste outside of the home and even involve their friends. When packing your child’s lunch consider packing non-disposable alternatives. Things like beeswax wraps, silicon baggies, glass Tupperware, and metal or bamboo utensils are easy swaps you can make. Also, try to eliminate packaged snacks (this can be done by buying in bulk, or making/baking snacks). When packing lunches, get your children involved!! Explain why you’re packing what your packing and how it benefits the environment.
3. Build a Package-free Pantry
This is another method that is about taking baby steps to work past the mindset of convenience. Of course it’s more convenient to grab a bag of chips, a box of crackers etc from the grocery store. The method of a package free pantry is done by buying in bulk by filling jars or other non-disposable containers with snacks the family will want. Not only does this become a really beautiful decoration in your home in shelving but also creates a healthy eating environment. This method encourages consumption of raw, nutrient rich food like dried fruits, nuts and seeds. Alongside, it is another educational tool for children to learn about clean eating, and a fun way to involve them in grocery shopping. Additionally, the more they see less plastic, the more likely they are to choose a non plastic wrapped snack when you’re not around.
4. Ask Teachers for Digital Assignments or Less Paper
This is for kids that are a bit older but is such a great way to eliminate waste. Requesting digital homework encourages kids to remain zero-waste outside of the home and further solidifying that going zero-waste is a lifestyle. This additionally involves technology in a responsible and sustainable way.
5. Create a No Plastic Rule
One of the most important ways to help in reducing our waste is to eliminate plastic (or as much as possible) in the home. This concept can become a rule, or guideline depending on how you’d like to incorporate it in your home. When implemented creatively, this can become a fun family activity. Not only is plastic bad for the environment, it’s bad for your children’s health. It is enveloped in chemicals and harmful ingredients that can have long term effects. Parents can help to set an extra example for simple ways to stay plastic-free like bringing your own coffee cup to the shop, buying glass water bottles instead of plastic, refusing to use plastic baggies and/or plastic containers. Your children are always watching, so the best place to start is within yourself.
6. Start a Challenge Within Your Home
Create a month long challenge with a new zero-waste objective every day. The options are endless, so you can do a new one every month. You can also add an incentive such as allowing your children to choose an activity at the end of the month the whole family can do (a bike ride to the ice cream shop, play date at the park, etc.) We’ve included a copy of a challenge below to get you started.