America’s kids have become our strongest environmental advocates. They are the future, after all, and recognize that small actions by a family can make a difference. With that in mind, we collected 10 basic ideas you can incorporate into your household to live a little greener. Some are so simple a child can do them; others, you can take the lead on.
- Use both sides. Collect or keep scrap paper with a blank side — old handouts, flyers, etc. — and store it in a bin by your computer. Use it to print recipes, directions, and more.
- Take shorter showers. Try taking a “navy shower” — a quick soak, lather, and rinse — more often. The opposite, a “Hollywood shower,” uses more water.
- Shop with reusable bags. They cut down on plastic use and are nice and sturdy. Many grocery stores give a small discount when you use them. Your kids can help by carrying items in their backpacks.
- Use rechargeable batteries. Most batteries (even the rechargeable kind) contain heavy metals, which are a major source of toxins in landfills. Investing in reusable ones (and a charger) helps keep them in service longer.
- Buy in bulk. It creates far less packaging waste, and many bulk superstores encourage you to pack items in their leftover cardboard shipping boxes — which you can then recycle.
- Install faucet aerators. They mix air into the water stream, lowering the amount of water you use (by up to 50 percent!) while maintaining your water pressure. They’re simple to attach and available at most hardware stores.
- Consider cloth diapers. Disposable varieties make up the third largest single consumer item in our landfills and take up to 500 years to decompose. They also make up 50 percent of household trash in a home with a baby. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, can be reused and take less than six months to decompose.
- Give homemade gifts. Baked goods or crafts you make as gifts instead of store-bought ones help cut down on packaging. Tickets to a show or an athletic event are also good options.
- Replace pesticides. If you have ants, for instance, follow the little pests back to their nest or opening and sprinkle chili powder into it. It will drive them away.
- Grow your own. Join a community garden in your neighborhood if you can, and grow your own veggies. Your young farmers will love digging in the dirt and watching seeds sprout. Plus, you’ll be eating fresh, local produce.