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Having kids makes you think about all sorts of things you may not have previously considered. Although I cared about our environment before, having two kids has definitely spurred me into making lasting choices which have positive effects on the environment.
It’s hard to be to 100% environmentally efficient in life as almost everything you do will have an impact on the world around you. But there are certainly a few steps we can make towards saving our planet and ensuring that our children have a chance to enjoy it’s beauty.
Firstly, ensuring you have an efficient central heating system in place is key.
You might not be thinking about winter and the colder weather anymore, but now is the perfect time to invest in an efficient system that heats your home and provides you with plenty of hot water when you need it. There are so many different types of central heating boilers to suit different styles of home, so it’s worth having a look to see if you could be making steps towards having a more efficient central heating system in your home. I don’t know about you, but having children means a lot of water is used up in our home by bath times and washing dishes up, so it’s imperative that our boiler is working as efficiently as possible. It’s well worth shopping around to make sure you get the best central heating quote that you can.
Single use plastic has to go!
We are bombarded with information about the danger of single use plastic everyday and yet somehow it still manages to be ignored by many. I saw on a local Facebook Rant page that a woman will only ever buy plastic wrapped fruit and vegetables because she’s worried shoppers will have gone to the toilet and not washed their hands before picking out their fresh produce. Although I appreciate that some people worry about germs more than others, there are certainly foods that don’t need to be wrapped – I’m looking at you bananas! We shop plastic free as often as we can, but I will admit it is tricky, especially if you’re on a budget. Regardless, if we want our children to enjoy what’s left of our marine life, we need to encourage single use plastics to be ditched and get the kids involved in clean up projects, like the 2 minute beach clean initiative.
If plastic is unavoidable, save and reuse your tubs and containers.
We buy big tubs of natural yogurt and although these are recyclable, we prefer to keep them and reuse them in the kitchen. They’re great for storing leftovers, homemade soups and more in the fridge. They’re also handy for storing freshly baked biscuits and the MILLIONS of birthday party sweets Luke comes back from school with. They fit really nicely in the fridge and the freezer and it means we don’t have to spend our money on buying yet more plastic Tupperware.
Learn what can actually be recycled and what, unfortunately, cannot.
Many people assume now that if it’s plastic, you can recycle it. This is sadly not the case for many of the supermarket products we purchase. There are lots of items that families regularly buy as part of their weekly food shop which the packaging for simply isn’t recyclable. For example black plastic trays that meat often comes packaged in is difficult to recycle as the process of recycling involves bouncing a beam of light off the objects. The black plastic absorbs the light and therefore ends up heading to landfills. Other household items you’d think could be recycled, for example hand soap pumps, coffee cups, greasy takeaway pizza boxes and plastic toys can not actually be recycled. Items like shampoo bottles can only be recycled if they’ve been cleaned first. There are also a fair few items that the British public assume aren’t recyclable but actually are, such as tomato purée tubes, used but clean kitchen foil and aerosols cans. There are loads of guides and articles online, like this one, which can help you identify recyclable materials and you can also check on your local council’s site.
Make sure you’re checking out your local charity shops.
Fast fashion is killing the planet and although having the latest trend is important to some, that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to buy brand new. Charity shops are packed full of great finds, I’ve found items worth £100+ on charity shops that only cost me £3 to buy. I read that money saving blogger, From Pennies To Pounds, always buys a “new” dress from charity shops or eBay when she’s going out somewhere fancy and then sells it on again once she’s done with it. Taking your clothes to the charity shop rather than throwing them away could help keep and estimated £140 million worth of clothes out of our landfills each year.
Walking to school rather than taking the car has tonnes of benefits, not just for the environment.
I don’t drive so most of our school runs are done on foot. Luke’s school is about a mile and a half away which means it’s around a thirty minute walk. Within that time we get to chat about all sorts of things, both school related and life related. We’ve talked lots about our plans for our summer holiday, he’s used the opportunity to discuss his worries with me and we’ve planned secret celebrations for the people we love. And while all of this is happening, we’re also saving our already choking planet by not adding fumes into the atmosphere. I’m not saying everyone needs to walk from now on, but it certainly helps the environment if you walk rather than drive once or twice a week.
There are loads of ways that normal families, just like mine, can help preserve our planet and ensure that our kids can enjoy their future! If you’d like to check out some other green and ethical family bloggers, have a look at Captain Bobcat and Little Green Shed for more ideas.