We’ve all heard how plastic is killing our oceans, but you don’t have to become The Hulk to go green! Here’s some SMALL changes you can make as a family to make a BIG difference to the environment.
Thanks to Bob the Builder we know the 3Rs stand for ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle!’ It’s so easy to recycle – the council’s bin teams collect it for us! If you are regularly recycling your cans, bottles, newspapers and magazines etc. into your recycling bin you are already part of a vital green network. Get kids involved: Little ones can have fun stamping down plastic milk cartons to make more room in your recycling bin.
Think about what you buy – does your child really need another plastic toy? Toddlers’ toys seem to need endless supplies of batteries and avid young gamers can get through hundreds of batteries a year. Batteries need specialist recycling as they can leech nasties into the ground. Get kids involved: Invest in rechargeable batteries and a charger and you’ll save loads of cash over the year. Give older children the responsibility of making sure batteries stay charged or they don’t get to play! Get little ones into the habit of turning toys off to preserve battery life.
Be proud to use hand-me-downs, pick-up bargains from charity shops and join your local library to reuse books. Look out for Mum2mum Markets or NCT Nearly New Sales where you can sell your outgrown baby equipment, toys and clothes. Get kids involved: Help them sort through their old toys or clothes, price them up and sell them at a local car boot sale, with the incentive they can keep a percentage of the profits.
Step away from the plastic!
Go for plastic free options - straws and cotton buds can now be made with paper stems. It can take up to 200 years for a straw to decompose so the first plastic straw ever made probably hasn’t even decomposed yet! Get kids involved: Skip single-use plastic packaging at the supermarket by buying loose fruit and veg. Get your child to help you weigh-out a bunch of bananas, print out the price and stick it on, they come in their own natural wrapping!
Green packed lunch!
Pop veg sticks or fruit in washable containers. Ditch cling film, which can’t be recycled, in favour of wrapping sandwiches in foil, clean it off and use it the next day. It’s also easier for small fingers to unwrap. Instead of pre-made drinks and cartons buy a reusable drink bottle. Get kids involved: Collect crisp packets. Around 400 can be swapped for £2 in donations to a good cause. There’s collection points across the country or set up your own to benefit your school or PTA. Find out more at www.walkers.co.uk/recycle
Pick up litter!
Get kids involved: A litter grabber makes the experience more exciting for children. Organised litter picks usually supply them or they can be found cheaply in local pound shops or online. Visit www.keepbritaintidy.org
Kids love mud! Get them involved in the garden, you can easily grow your own food such as tomatoes or why not give a fruit tree as a children’s birthday, naming or Christening present and watch it grow as they do? Get kids involved: Invest in a composter - children love adding ingredients that will feed the garden like leaves, food peelings and compostable coffee cups!
Make ‘green’ slime!
Some of the ingredients in slime can be harmful to the environment when it is thrown away. If you are using glue, it’s like making a big lump of plastic. Instead change your recipe to include food-based products like flour, marshmallows or icing sugar. Make ‘green’ slime: 1. Pour some cornflour into a bowl. 2. Gradually add warm water, stirring all the time, until it gets squidgy. 3. Add natural green food colouring, essential oils or food flavourings such as peppermint. 4. Get squishing!