In my heart of hearts, I am a tree-hugging hippy from way back. As a child I collected Worry Dolls, loved anything tie-dyed and really really wanted to be a “Rainforest Conservationist” when I grew up. Only problem being that the job description of a tree-hugging hippy doesn’t exactly come with a large renumeration package. I drove my family crazy by chiding them for littering out the car window way back in the 80s, before being a “greenie” was just a fashion statement.
Now that I am a grown up, and have a job that pays the bills, I still really really want to be a greenie. But, is it really possible with kids?? With a family and jobs and…well general life?? The answer is absolutely, as long as you sometimes think outside the square and you really dedicate yourself to the cause.
1. Donate and accept second hand children’s clothing.
My girls seem to have some unspoken desire to outgrow any new clothing within a week of purchase. The truth is kids grow at such a ridiculous rate that often they outgrow clothes way before they out wear them. (Shoes seem to be an exemption to this- especially where Baby Girl is concerned) Overall, I’d estimate that at least 60% of Little Miss’ wardrobe and over 80% of Baby Girl’s wardrobe is second hand. In fact the vast majority of Baby Girl’s clothing was once Little Miss’. Accepting donated clothes can seem tricky at first. But I guarantee, after you have opened that first bag of outgrown clothes belonging to a friend’s child you will be won over. Especially as second hand clothes are AWESOME as kindy clothes and for gardening/art and crafts etc.
2. Use reusable “green” bags EVERY TIME.
I admit, this is one I struggle with. Simply because I don’t plan ahead. Lots of us have great intentions and completely agree with the idea of reusable bags,but how many of us simply forget to have them in the car when they arrive at the supermarket? Guilty as charged, here. So my resolution for change is to replace the reusable bags in the boot of my car as part of my unpacking the groceries routine. Afterall, good routines become good habits only if we repeat them often enough.
3. Recycle correctly.
Seems so simple. But, when the kids are screaming and the kitchen is a mess, it’s so much easier to just chuck all the rubbish out in one go. It can be quite onerous to separate and rinse and place the recyclables actually into the recycling bins. But, I’m going to call it what it is. Laziness. This is something I used to be so so good at. But, over time, and with the addition of more children, this habit has slipped considerably. I ambling lazy. And I will make a change.
4. Save water.
My girls have learnt from a very young age how to conserve water. They bathe together or shower together because, let’s face it- they are only tiny. As they grow older this will change I’m sure. They also know about turning off the tap while cleaning their teeth. Such simple things, but if we can instill them early enough in our little people then just become the ways things are done. Its so much easier setting up good habits, rather than trying to break based habits.
5. Be savvy about the chemicals you use in your home and around your family.
Because my girls and I all suffer from eczema we have always been quite careful about the chemicals we use. Washing powders and liquids, bath products and even shampoos have been tried and tested in order to discover which ones work for us. Despite what Palmolive would have you believe, most times water is simply enough to wash away the grime of the day. For my girls especially, cutting out the everyday use of soaps and washes has completely cleared their eczema except for the extremely rare weather-related flare ups.
Do you have any tips for being green with a young family?? I’d love to hear them.