How to be an eco-friendly parent

As parents and teachers we wish to instill care, respect and pride alongside the academic and social growth of our children. With 2019 came a renewed awareness of the impact of our carbon footprint on our planet. More companies are changing the way in which they produce and design products so that it can be biodegradable or sustainable, directly contrasting the plastic that infiltrates our water systems, oceans and natural spaces.

Here are five easy ways that you can be a role model for your children:

1. Single-use plastics

The 5R’s of single-use plastics are Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and lastly Recycle. Opting for a reusable water bottle, reusable lunch box, bamboo or steel cutlery and straws that can be composted or washed at home and switching single-use plastic bags with reusable zipper bags. Take your reusable shopping bags with you for groceries, clothing and household shopping and use a refillable mug for your morning tea or coffee.

2. Food

Single-serving food creates a large amount of plastic waste and the food usually contains lots of preservatives. Our children’s bodies are nurtured by healthy meals and will also make them more focused in class than high sugary alternatives. For example, instead of purchasing single-serving cheese strings, buy a bigger brick of cheese and cut it up for their lunch.  Buying in bulk with the option to bring your own container reduces the amount of plastic packaging and provides you with a teachable moment about nutrition for your children.

3. Second hand

Purchasing and swapping second hand items like backpacks, clothing, lunchboxes and books is a eco-friendly way to prevent quality items ending up in our landfills. Instead of just purchasing a new item and throwing out the old, find creative ways to mend, fix and repurpose the old. You might discover a hidden talent for fixing items!

4. Sign up for a walking school bus

Walking to school isn’t just fun, it’s also environmentally friendly and provides your kid with a connection to nature. Find out if your school has a walking school bus program or offer to start one! It's an incredible way to include exercise in the morning. Where public transportation isn't an option, carpooling with some great music will make the experience of getting to school more enjoyable.

5. Picking up garbage

Providing a good example on how to take responsibility for yourself and your surroundings is to pick up garbage. On the way to school, in the surrounding areas of the school and on the playground is a good place to start. Whether it’s a piece of chewing gum or a plastic wrapper, littering impacts our environment and the health of all living things in our neighbourhood. Next time you see a piece on the sidewalk, be an eco-steward and pick it up.  This awareness of your surroundings will also bring a positive connection to you and your child by being mindful of your actions and not just simply rushing from home to school in the mornings.

"At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child's success is the positive involvement of parents." Jane D. Hull

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