A Parent’s Guide to Being Green

Do you ever wonder what the phrase, “going green” really means? This movement, if you want to call it – began over a decade ago when people started to really open up their eyes and notice that our environment is alarmingly in danger. While our planet slowly deteriorating is certainly not new news, the harmful effects of long-term damage has increased drastically over the years.

As a parent and an educator, I want to teach my son and other students the importance of preserving our precious planet. A small impact of good can slowly grow to something bigger and better: one child can make a difference and one adult can help them achieve their goals. And while you’re reading this, let’s break it down to the importance of teaching our children to being “green” and allow them to make a better world for the future.

So how do you “Go Green”? With climate changes negatively affecting the world, greenhouse gases are increasing around the world, making it almost near impossible to reverse the damages. But global markets in major consumer industries are finally starting to recognize the dangers of our depleting environment and are moving towards natural resource energy makers such as wind, solar, and water. We, as individuals may think we can’t do much to improve our environment, but all it takes is one person to care, to make a change for the better.

So how do we teach our children to protect the future of their planet? We must start by realizing that children have the potential to make positive changes in the world. “We must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.” – Mary McLeod Bethune. Children have the drive, intelligence, and ability to make positive impacts in improving our planet and being great leaders of society. Children around the world are taking winning steps in reducing waste while not only helping the environment, but other people as well. Their leadership and compassion are things we want to emulate and encourage so that we can all eventually open our eyes to the climate changes around us.

What can kids do? Here are some great (and easy) examples of environmentally-friendly acts and projects for kids of any age:

– Follow the 4 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.

Reduce your purchases, wants, and needs. The less we buy, the less carbon footprint we contribute to.

Reuse what you already have. If we can reuse even just 3 times, we will already have made a dramatic change.

Repurpose what you can still reuse. Repurposing is truly a great trend that should go on forever. For example, you can take a pair of torn jeans and make it into a unique grocery tote* or zippered pencil cases.

Recycling is typically the last resort as not everything can be recycled. Most plastics, glass, aluminum are readily recyclable but it still takes up carbon footprint when machines are used to break down these materials. Still, it’s better than throwing them in the trash where they’ll most likely end up in the landfill. To find recycling centers in your area, check it out here: https://americarecyclesday.org/find-recycling/

– Sort trash properly.

One of the biggest problems with overflowing landfills is trash that aren’t sorted properly. You can probably find at least 30% of your trash that can be recycled, reused, or repurposed. And if you can recycle any kind of beverage bottles, your kids can make money from doing that too. When recyclable products are mixed in with trash, it takes tremendous time, money, and effort for facilities to sort them. Oftentimes, the recyclable items will end up with the rest of the trash, thus leading to the growing problem of overfilled landfills in our country.

– Use reusable containers whenever possible.

Kids can bring their school lunches in resuable lunch containers, water bottles, and utensils. To make it even more fun, give them colorful and fun reusable napkins. Great ones can be found at: http://www.ukonserve.com/ and https://ecolunchboxes.com/.

– Pick up trash.

Pick up trash around your neighborhood as you’re taking walks along the roads. This helps keep waste from going into storm drains and ending up in unlikely places where they might just get disposed of improperly. Plus, it helps the neighborhood look nice and clean too. Just remember to have kids wear gloves if they’re doing a “clean up the neighborhood day”. Then, be sure to sort and dispose the trash properly.

– Eat local, co-op, and organically grown food.

Local foods are usually produced by companies within your county or city’s range. This is a rather tricky range as there is currently no guidelines to how far or close a product is produced in order to qualify as local. Read labels on products and check out the local companies you buy from to get a clearer picture. Co-op farms help the farmers and the consumers. Co-op is governed by its members so there is more control of what is produced, how it’s produced, and where it’s sold. Organically grown food must follow strict guidelines that companies must follow in order to be certified. Organic products simply means any product made without certain fertilizers and pesticides and without any synthetic ingredients used in producing the products. This applies to both food and non-food items. Take your kids to local farmers markets and grocery stores where they can see and feel the difference between organic produce and conventional produce. When you make the change yourself, your kids can greatly benefit from it.

– Reduce use of electronics and water.

In a perfect world, we’d have less electronics to use and we could all produce our own water usage and recycle it. But in this day and age of fast growing technology, it seems that the future will only continue with this trend. While technology is important, using too much of it can also drain our natural resources as well as enable harmful aftereffects of radiation and coal. Remind your children to turn off lights when not in use, reduce their screen time by playing outside or reading a book, and turn off the water when brushing their teeth.

We can all strive to make a better impact on our environment if we remind ourselves that our children, their children, and all future generations should have the ability to live on a clean and healthy planet. It can take small and simple steps but each step can lead to bigger steps that can make a dramatic improvement for our world.

For some fun and helpful tips for parents and kids, check out PBS Kids Green project book: http://meetthegreens.pbskids.org/features/pdf/Greens_Activities.pdf

*photo source: www.denimdoover.com

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.








Happy, Healthy Halloween


It’s no doubt that Halloween is one of our most favorite holidays of the year. Is it a holiday or a celebration? Either way, it is the best time of the year to go wild with your imagination or stick to something easy and uncomplicated. Regardless of whether you celebrate this fun holiday, one important rule to remember is to be safe! But here we’re also going to talk about how to “green” your Halloween this year and hopefully keep the tradition in your household every year after.

Halloween has always been a fun tradition for me while growing up. Realistically we all know that it derived from an older tradition that dated back hundreds of years ago but in this day and age, Halloween has become one of the most fun celebrations in the world. Some people plan months ahead on decorations, parties, and of course the costumes. But with so many possible haphazards out there, we have to be extra diligent during this much loved holiday. Safety for our children and other children are the top priority of course, but what about safety for our environment? Let’s talk about how to green our Halloween this year with the following guidelines:

***DIY Costumes or Costume Swap – First think of what you want to be for Halloween. Then find things you have in the house already. If not, then be sure to buy materials that are easily recyclable or reusable.  Making your own costumes can run from very easy to professionally done. Think of old bedsheets that you don’t want to throw out but don’t want to use either. You can make creative costumes with those or even a simple ghost costume would work. Costume Swapping is also becoming quite the trend. Start off locally with your friends and family. Organize a neighborhood swap. There is sure to be a costume a friend has that would fit your child.

***Organic Candy – If you must hand out candy this year for Halloween, try buying organic candy. They are made without any artificial ingredients and most are packaged in recyclable packaging. However, organic candy may still contain an abundant amount of sugar so be sure to watch out for the sugar content.

***Green Costumes – Many costumes that are sold in stores are made with some type of plastic. Not all plastics as you know, are safe. PVC, a type of plastic that contains phthalates  among other compounds have been found to be unsafe for prolonged contacts. So if you must buy store bought costumes made from plastic, check the labels to see what type of materials are used and if possible skip that costume. If you must buy something with potentially toxic plastics, air it out in an open room or outdoors for a few days to dissipate the fumes.

***Pumpkins and Decorations – We all love some kind of decorations for Halloween. Be it a fresh pumpkin or a plastic one, my advice is to buy the fresh ones. While plastic decorations may seem like you’re saving money and resources, it still takes millions of dollars and emission fuels to produce these types of plastic Halloween decorations. However if you still kept yours from last year, by all means reuse them or trade them with a friend or neighbor to freshen up your decorations. I personally feel bad for all the pumpkin farms that sell a whole yard full of pumpkins because really – who’s going to buy up all of those pumpkins anyway?

***Halloween Treats – Who can resist opening up that delightful package of M&M’s filled with colorful chocolate candy? Well, in our household we try to resist them mainly because of the type of ingredients used in those eye-candy. Thousands of pounds of candies are sold each Halloween and many end up in our trashcans or into our tummies which results in some uncharacteristically bad behavior. This year why not just serve one bar of sweets instead of a handful. Or hand out quarters or a roll of pennies. Remember that with anything you don’t use or give out on Halloween, they inevitably end up in the trash and that’s both wasteful and unnecessary.

***Halloween Parties – Whether you’re having a party at home or a party at your kid’s school, there are bound to be a lot of different views on what to serve, what to do, and what are allowed or not allowed. Remember that if you’re having a party at home, keep them safe with non-toxic toys, games, and food. Give out treats as suggested above. Play games that aren’t wasted later one. And make home made food and treats when possible.

***Recycling Halloween – We know that Halloween comes every year. So as we put away our decorations and costumes, let’s also remember to recycle responsibly. Use the pumpkin seeds in your pumpkins by baking them for a delicious and nutritious treat. Compost your pumpkins. Donate your costumes if at all possible or save them for next year’s costume swap. And if you have leftover candy, save the health of your children by either donating them to your workplace or turning them into valuable things at stores that offer a trade-in.

Remember that Halloween  can be both safe and fun for children and adults. As long as you plan ahead and consciously decide on making it a green Halloween this year it will be fairly easy.

Have a Happy Halloween!