We have all seen the promoting of ‘going green’ and ‘zero waste’. But how many have actually started implementing changes in their homes to help to reduce their waste and carbon footprint? Looking after the environment and everything in it is an important task, that we all play a part in. Teaching children about zero waste and looking after the environment can be not only a beneficial activity but also a very fun one!
What is Zero Waste?
The first thing to do is to explain to them what zero waste is and why it is important. Teaching them about how packaging can not always be recycled. Or what happens when things go into landfill will help them to understand. Then use examples from throughout the house to show them what you mean.
Things such as individual chip packets. Vegetables in bags. Single serve packets of sultanas and such.
It might surprise you to see how many things there are in your home that contribute to landfill and waste.
Teaching children about zero waste – Reuse and Recycle
Not everything goes into landfill. There are many things that you can reuse or recycle in the home. Go through the different packaging and products in your home and talk about the differences. Teach them about things that can be recycled such as cardboard, paper and glass. Also teach them about things that you can repurpose or reuse. Things such as glass jars, old formula tins and many other items can be reused for something else.
They can decorate old jars and containers and use them for storing their own bits and bobs in as well.
Take them grocery shopping
Who am I kidding – its not like we get to do the grocery shopping on our own anyway!
This is actually a really good exercise to do with the kids and will help them to understand the zero waste concept. Talk about the different products that you are putting in the trolley. Ask them if there is going to be any waste from the products. And if there is something else you can choose that would be better for the environment.
Doing things such as not putting your fresh fruit and vegetables into plastic bags a big way to reduce your waste. Also buying bulk and separating into the lunch boxes is another.
And most importantly when shopping; remember your green bags! Although the plastic bags provided now are biodegradable – doesn’t mean you need 10,000 of them!
Teaching Children about Zero waste – Make some changes
Once you have starting the learnings about zero waste and helping the environment, have the kids help you to make changes in the home.
There are plenty of fun activities that you can do with them to not only make changes but also give them something different to do.
Starting a compost bin is a great family activity that will get you outside and learning about how the environment works. Each night after dinner, get them to take the food scraps out and add them to the compost.
Another activity is getting them involved in creating a zero waste lunch box for school. There are plenty of great bento style lunch boxes on the market now. These are great because you can put different foods in each section without them touching. Getting them to help will not only reduce the waste, but it will also guarantee that there are foods they want to eat in the lunch box (no more soggy bananas at the bottom of school bags)
Another activity that they can get involved in is creating pantry labels. Rather than buying single serve products, buy larger amounts in bulk that can be stored in large containers. This reduces a lot of waste and keeps your food fresh. Get them to create fun labels to place on the different jars and containers.
Becoming a zero waste household does not need to be an expensive or time consuming process. If you start to make little changes each day you will see a big difference. Continuing to teach your children, get them involved and make decisions will help them to understand the bigger picture as well.
What kind of changes have you made in your home to move towards a zero waste household?