If you’re reading this, then maybe you’re wondering what the title of this article really means. It sounds almost contradictive – how can kids be waste free? Aren’t they notorious for leaving LEGO on the floor or begging for a snack one minute then turn their noses up the next? How can the capricious moods of children make a difference when it comes to reducing waste?
The term “zero waste” is really a philosophy that started decades ago in an effort to make the world more aware of product consumption. Purchasing something just because you think you have to have it has contributed to overabundance of things in our lives that we don’t really need. But we can teach our children (and perhaps ourselves) that consumerism leads to lots of waste in our lives. These waste, such as single use plastics, end up in our pollution waste stream.
We can teach our kids to reduce waste and maybe eventually, when they become more experienced, to eliminate the need for single-use plastics overall. Below I’ve listed 10 steps you can take to help reduce plastic waste and learn to Live a Life Less Plastic!
1- Buy consciously. Think about how many times you’re going to use that product. If it’s a plastic sandwich bag, skip it and buy reusable bags such as ones made from silicone, paper, or a stronger plastic that will last for many years. Paper sandwich bags are great in that they will break down when wet and can be disposed into your recycling bin. Try Lunchskins – they’re durable and reusable(https://www.lunchskins.com) *right now if you sign up for their SMS program you’ll get 30% off!
2 – Use natural materials. Natural materials and materials that are sustainable include bamboo, organic cotton, wood, and glass. Natural materials are a lot safer for children as they are usually manufactured without toxic by-products.
3 – Bring your own lunch containers. There are tons of cool looking lunch containers for your kids. Best materials are stainless steel and glass.
4 – Reusable straws. Reusable straws are great for reducing plastic waste. Reusable straws can be stainless steel, glass, or made from sustainable materials such as bamboo, wheat, and non-gmo corn.
5 – Reusable beverage bottles. You can find reusable bottles almost anywhere. Pick some up made from stainless steel, glass, or BPA and lead free plastic.
6 – Bring your own utensils. When packing lunch for your child, be sure to pack reusable utensils. They can easily put their used utensils back into their lunch bags/containers to bring home.
7 – Look at brands and websites that offer sustainable products. Check out websites such as this for ideas: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/8-simple-ways-reduce-your-plastic-use-ncna984396
8- Upcycle. Upcycling is a fun and clever way of turning something old into something new and delightful. What happens if you’re tired of your old shoes? Turn them into planters! And those plastic laundry containers? They’re truly such a waste especially when you’re constantly doing laundry. But you can turn them into planters as well, or upcycle them into holders for your magazines, coloring pencils, toys…there are endless ways!
9 – Look to support brands that care for the environment and provide products and services that benefit our planet instead of adding more destruction. Try brands such as: EC30 (https://ec30clean.com/) which promises that no plastics are used in the production of their products as well as lower emissions, and Plaine Products (https://www.plaineproducts.com/ref/Suzan%20C./) which uses natural ingredients, aluminum packaging, and a subscription service where you can return your bottles for refills. Use discount code: HappyMom to get 20% off total purchase!
10 – Switch to non-plastic products slowly. You might feel at a loss in how to reduce your plastic use. You don’t have to throw away all of your single-use plastics or plastic containers just to buy sustainable ones. Use them up as much as possible, or donate them, and then slowly integrate sustainable materials such as glass, aluminum, and wood. Better yet, the next time you buy something at the grocery store, look only for sustainably made containers which you can use infinitely.
Depending on the age of your children, these are all fairly easy for them to try. You can even ask your children for ideas on how to be less wasteful and to reduce plastic use. Most importantly, make it fun and make it worthwhile.
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.
*photo of Goby Fish in India