With the dangers of climate change becoming more and more evident, it has never been more important to change our habits and attempt to live more green.
Sustainable living has become a popular topic. Creating a sustainable planet and culture requires commitment, which can be very difficult. Being a role model to and teaching the next generation is key to this.
To start you off I have given 5 changes you can make right now to start you on the road to sustainable living and living green.
1. Change how you travel to school/ nursery
The average school is just 1.6 miles from home, yet a lot of parents drive during the school run.
So, this tip is get you walking, cycling or scooting to school.
Encouraging children to walk, cycle or scoot to school will not only help the environment, reducing pollution, but has shown to improve children's mental and physical health. It's a win win. The journey also becomes a great opportunity for children to learn about their local area, develop wider social networks and gain independence.
Even if you do live a bit further away or cycling or walking seems too difficult you could make smaller changes to help the environment. Some examples include:
- Taking the bus instead of driving
- Driving or taking bus part of the way and walking/ scooting the rest of the way
- Having a walk day - choosing one or two days a week where you decide to walk
Learn more about how you can change your school run here on the sustrans.org.uk website.
2.Maximise your laundry load
Children, especially babies, are very messy and can go through a number of clothes in just one day. The temptation here could be to do small loads, rather than waiting for the laundry to pile up.
However, doing a full load saves a lot of energy, saving money and helping the environment.
Other ways to wash more economically is to wash on a colder wash (you can use a completely cold wash if your clothes are only lightly stained) and consider natural detergents.
3. Swap some of your regularly used items
One way to become more eco-friendly and encourage sustainable living as a parent is to swap some items for natural, biodegradable or organic materials. This includes choosing items that are more ethically sourced.
Some items you can swap are your:
|Single use wipes, like baby wipes or make up wipes||Reusable/ washable options or biodegradable ones like the ones found here|
|Plastic shopping bags||Tote bags|
|Single use plastic bottles||Reusable bottles|
|Common household cleaners||Eco-friendly cleaners|
Could go a step further and make your own cleaners using vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda
|Laundry detergent||Organic/ eco-friendly laundry detergents many of which can be brought from here|
|Tea bags||Tea leaves and strainer|
|Plastic toothbrush||Bamboo toothbrush|
Did you know that you can biodegrade some of these items in your own home by making your own compost pile. Click here to find out how.
4. Use rechargeable batteries
Using rechargeable batteries can save you money and help the environment.
With most our children's toys using them this can be a valuable switch.
Most used batteries end up on landfills. When this happens, these batteries (even rechargeables) can release harmful metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium into the environment.
Rechargeable can often be recharge hundreds of times, saving hundreds of batteries going to landfill, conserving resources as well as protecting the environment.
Even when they do run out they are easily recycled. Click here to find out where you can recycle yours.
Top tip - the battery life of rechargeable batteries is dramatically increased when stored at cooler temperatures. Why not try storing them in the fridge.
Although rechargeable batteries can traditionally be a lot more expensive, they you can buy two AA or AAA batteries for a pound from Poundland.
5. Teach your children respect for the environment
This is important in nurturing future little green fingers. Some ways you can involve your children are to:
- Encourage them to recycle
- Remind your children to turn off lights and electrics when they are finished with them
- Encourage children to pass on their old items, either to charity shops or selling online
- Volunteer in your local community e.g. cleaning up the local park
- If you have one, you could use your garden to plant a tree, create a bird feeder, or create a compost heap (click here to learn how to create your own compost heap)