Donate Unwanted Items
- When your children outgrow clothes or toys, donate them to a charitable organization. Have your children help you drop the items off to show them how their donations help those in need. Point out that some organizations give the used items to individuals who cannot afford them, and others sell the items and put the proceeds toward helping those who need it financially. These actions keeps toys, clothes and books that still have potential use from filling a landfill or dump.
Grow a Vegetable Garden
- Raising a garden embodies a number of green practices you can teach your children. Even if you live in an apartment with no space to grow produce outdoors or you live on a wide expanse of acreage on which you could plant enough to feed an army, you can adjust your idea of a garden to accommodate your situation. Plant a tomato plant or herbs in a pot next to a window indoors, or devote an entire garden plot to a variety of vegetables.
Growing a garden builds an opportunity to help children learn about green practices such as composting, reusing gray water, organic methods of restricting unwanted pests and, the most obvious, growing your own vegetables to eat and enjoy. Explain to children that growing their own food also reduces pollution in the form of fuel burned in transporting produce from farms to the grocery store and then from the grocery store to your kitchen. The EPA’s Climate Change Kids website maintains that vehicle use increases the amount of greenhouse gases released into the air.
No Bottled Water
- Instead of giving your children disposable plastic bottles of water, let them decide on a colorful, reusable water bottle in which to carry their preferred drink of choice. You can find cool, fun, washable bottles in a wide variety of colors, sizes and designs at nearly any department store. According to the website KidsHealth.org, bottled water is no safer or cleaner than water from the tap. Additionally, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), derived from crude oil, makes up the larger part of plastic bottles in which water is sold. That PET often ends up in landfills rather than recycling centers.
- Motivate your children to turn off electronics, like the television or lights, when they finish using them. According to the EPA, electricity use releases greenhouse gases. You can also teach conservation to your children by encouraging them to turn off the faucet while brushing their teeth. The EPA’s WaterSense program maintains that the average bathroom faucet drains 2 gallons of water per minute, so three to four minutes of running water wastes 6 to 8 gallons.
- As stated on the Captain Planet Foundation website, “Recycling materials not only avoids extra waste through reuse, but reduces the environmental burden of extracting new resources from the earth.” Incorporate your children in the act of recycling materials such as paper, plastic, aluminum, glass and any other materials accepted by your recycling center. They can help out by rinsing cans and bottles and organizing items into the correct recycling bins. Teach them that the products recycled will be turned into new items instead of ending up in landfills.