Individuals, organizations, and enterprises around the world are joining the campaign toward practicing sustainability. The trend has invited everyone to do their part in working together toward a better future. In order to fully produce a culture of sustainability for the next generation, it’s important to start young. Before children start interacting with others and going to school, they first learn from their parents and household practices. This means that as parents, you have the unique opportunity to empower sustainability in them and send them down a socially and environmentally responsible lifestyle.

Create a positive impact right from your own home, with these tips on practicing sustainability with your children.

Reduce Plastic Use

Reusable Bags

One of the main methods to reduce the waste product from your home is to start cutting down on plastics. In an average household, there are a lot of opportunities to reduce plastic waste, such as using reusable shopping bags instead of single-use plastic bags for shopping. In addition you could look into using eco-friendly alternatives for diapers and nappy sacks. Opting for some of these substitutes might require an additional effort but will pay for itself in the long run.

Environmentally Friendly Art Materials

Similarly, you might want to encourage the use of more environmentally friendly art materials. For example, traditional glitters actually contain microplastics that end up in landfills, or worse in the oceans where they are consumed by marine life. This includes fish we hunt and consume, ultimately bringing microplastics into our own bodies.

Talk About Practicing Sustainability

Regarding less plastic use, it’s important to talk with your children about why your family is making the choices it is. State why you pack stainless steel utensils in the diaper bag and no longer request plastic spoons and forks whenever possible.

Reuse Materials

Use Both Sides of Paper

Although homes use significantly less paper, it’s better to teach children how to deal with and use it efficiently. If you’re among the parents who still use a lot of paper and printed material as a part of their work, you can hand over your used materials to your kids to write and draw on the back. Something seemingly significant as this could save you from buying new paper for kids to craft with. On top of that, they’ll catch on to the idea that both sides can be used. This also creates an opportunity to introduce the concept of reusing and could rouse a child’s curiosity about how simple actions help the community.

Reuse Food Containers

It’s hard to avoid all papers and plastics in today’s world. When food you purchase comes in a plastic container, wash it out and reuse it. A lot of precut deli meats are in Tupperware containers that you could reuse to put leftovers in. Plastic bottles can be cleaned and put in a craft bin for a child’s unique creation or school science project. Cardboard boxes previously containing cereal or noodles can be reused to set up a kitchen or store for pretend play.

Discuss Recycling

Of course, there is the process of paper recycling as a way of practicing sustainability. Introduce the idea of recycling and give your children an idea of how paper can be sustainably sourced. Sorting recyclables together once a week can be a unique opportunity to talk to your child one-on-one and bond. Exposing kids to the nature of recycling can help them become more conscious about the paper they use themselves.

Aside from reducing the number of paper materials you have to throw away, reusing or recycling paper helps reduce the greenhouse gas emissions involved in cutting down trees and processing them to become paper–all because you’ve made a small change.

Rethink Your Food Decisions

Food production around the world is a notorious driver of climate change, from the energy involved in the growing, harvesting, packaging, and transporting food waste. Imagine the impact to the supply chain and the environment should households all become more responsible about their food wastes.

First is the promotion of eating healthy foods. If time allows you or your nanny should try to cook the family’s food, whether at home or when going to school. You will ensure a balanced diet and portions that kids can finish in one sitting, therefore reducing food waste. Additionally, this reduces the need for processed and packaged food items. 

Lastly, segregation helps reduce the waste you throw out as well as the food scraps that end in the landfill. By separating your biodegradables, you can either compost them in your backyard or you can send them to the community compost. Additionally, there are websites that help you find the nearest composting facility near you.

One Step at a Time

Although it’s not a yellow brick road to totally cutting the waste from your household, it helps to remember that every small step is a small win for you and your environment. Furthermore, these conscious choices to be more environmentally responsible can also benefit you, the children in your care, and the community you belong to. Practicing sustainability as a family sets positive examples that help mold your child into the adult they will become.

About The Author

Aussy Aportadera is pursuing the unhurried life in the beachside town of La Union, Philippines. After a career in communications and publishing for luxury lifestyle, food, and wine, she is now a yoga teacher and co-owner of a ceramics brand. Find her on twitter and instagram to learn more about her!