Getting your kids involved in helping the environment is not only good for the planet—it’s also good for your family’s health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), when it comes to air pollution, the greater the level of pollutants in the air, the greater the chance for your child to experience asthma flare-ups and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat.
Each member of your family can do his/her part to protect the environment with a few simple ideas.
When you go shopping, buy local. Take your child to the farmer’s market to pick out a healthy, locally grown treat. Buying local products reduces energy burned to transport goods.
Avoid waste by letting your child pick out a favorite lunch box and thermos to reuse every day at school.
Turn off the tap! According to the EPA, turning off the water while you brush your teeth can save up to 8 gallons of water per day, which equals 240 gallons a month.
Invest in rechargeable batteries for your child’s electronics.
Save energy (and money!) by replacing incandescent bulbs in your child’s room with an Energy Star qualified compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL). One CFL bulb uses 75 percent less energy than an incandescent bulb.
Walk more. If possible, walk your child to school or to after school activities.
Set up a recycling center in your home. Have your child decorate labels for separate bins for glass, plastics and paper.
Grow a green thumb. Planting a garden with your child is a simple way to help the environment. Whether inside or outside, plants clean the air.
When planning your garden, opt for native plants, which don’t need as much water as introduced species.
Pack a waste-free lunch by including sandwiches in reusable containers; whole fruits without packaging; drinks in containers that can be reused; and snacks purchased in bulk and brought in reusable containers Don’t include: individually wrapped snacks; plastic baggies that are not reusable; disposable forks and spoons; and straws.
Find new ways to reduce waste quantity and toxicity By thinking creatively, many new uses for common items and new possibilities for source reduction and recycling can be discovered. Here are just a few ideas: turn a giant cardboard box into a child’s playhouse; transform a plastic ice cream tub into a flower pot; give pet hamsters or gerbils paper towel and toilet paper cardboard tubes with which to play; use an egg carton to plant seedlings; turn used tires (not steel-belted) into children’s swings or other playground equipment; select nontoxic inks and art supplies; and choose beverages such as water or milk in reusable containers, where appropriate.