by Sheri Helman
Keen to go green? April is Earth Month and with more products and ideas at your fingertips than ever before, it’s never been easier to do just that! You’re never too young to learn how to reduce your carbon footprint. Here are 5 ideas to get your family started on a greener path.
Plant the Seed…Literally
There’s something about growing your own produce or herbs that makes salads taste better. The benefits to planting a garden—especially an edible one—are endless. Besides being great exercise, tons of fun and a way to teach responsibility to your littles, it’s also great for the environment. After all, you can’t get more local than your own backyard. In addition to planning, planting and tending, kids can learn an important lesson about water conservation by collecting rain water. Any bucket or barrel will do, and that water can be used to hydrate your indoor plants too! Just make sure sun protection stays top of mind when you’re out.
For excellent gardening supplies like apparel, tools, organic gardening supplies, seeds and indoor gardening kits, check out our Gardening category.
It Starts at Home
One of the easiest ways to incorporate greener choices into everyday life is by taking a good look at your cleaning products; you don’t need harsh chemicals to keep your home sparkling clean. Look for products that are (among other things) non-toxic, and ideally free of Chlorine, Formaldehyde, VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), (SLS’s) Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate, Phosphates, Ammonia and more. Bonus points for those that don’t contain PVC in packaging, and are made in Canada. And don’t forget about those common household ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and salt for a variety of hacks to help get your home in tip top shape!
If you want to green your cleaning routine, look no further than our Green Cleaning Supplies page for Earth Month. You’ll find everything there from Kitchen and bathroom cleaners to laundry soaps and reusable dryer balls.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
The three R’s are an easy (and catchy!) way to instill simple, lifelong environmentally conscious values in your kids. With Spring Cleaning top of mind, start by doing a major overhaul of the toy mountain lurking in your basement or playroom. First, get rid of the toys that are broken or damaged. Then, have the kids go through the ones they’ve outgrown and set aside those in good enough condition to donate. Finally, make a pile of ‘swappable’ toys they’ve lost interest in but would be willing to trade. Organize a toy trade with your neighbours and watch your kids discover new toys without having to spend a penny. By having less, they’re also likely to enjoy what they do have more.
If you want to keep the clutter at bay after you’ve cleaned out the closets and under the beds, some new bins and totes might be just what you need.
Tame the Paper Monster
It’s easy to cut back and improve significantly on your use of paper products in the household, whether that be for leisure, house-cleaning or hygiene. Use cleaning cloths instead of paper towels for every day spills and wherever possible, switch to either tree-free, sustainable or made-from-recycled-materials paper products. And, if you’ve got a budding Picasso on your hands, cut paper into smaller pieces for colouring to stretch those sheets further and avoid the tantrums associated with drawing on something that (heaven forbid!) already has marks on it.
Just by being plugged in, small appliances, computers, chargers and game systems are using energy unnecessarily. Once that iPod is full of juice, there’s no need to keep the charger plugged in. Make a conscious effort to unplug electronics and accessories when they’re not in use. It’s a simple change that kids can take part in monitoring and will go a long way towards conserving the environment and saving you money!
Remember that going green is easy and can be done in baby steps. Read our list of 9 Ways to Go Green for Earth Month for more inspiration!
About the Author:
Sheri Helman is a mom of two great kids, living a sassy, suburban life with her husband of almost ten years just north of Toronto. At home, Sheri is constantly striving to make great choices for her family – whether that means deciding what to make for dinner (and how to come up with new recipes her kids will actually eat!) or which environmentally friendly products will get the job done when it comes to cleaning, bathing and everything in between.