10 Easy Ways to Make Your Child’s School Year More Environmentally-Friendly
With another school year comes many important decisions to make. For families trying to lessen their carbon footprints or attempting to go waste-free, planning for the occasion takes time and creativity. Fortunately, we’ve taken care of the task for you. The following list of 10 suggestions provides easy ways to make your child’s school year more environmentally-friendly. You’ll find the suggestions easy to implement.
Ditch Trendy Plastic Lunchboxes
Marketers know precisely how to appeal to kids. They offer the trendiest cartoon characters and pop culture icons on lunchboxes to get parents to buy new ones each year. Rather than shell out money for something that they’ll use for a few months, opt to purchase cloth lunch bags in neutral colors or a favorite pattern. That way, they can use them for several years before opting for a new way to carry their lunch. It’s one fad you can avoid as a family by setting expectations when your child first goes to school as a preschooler or kindergartener.
Say Goodbye to Juice Boxes and Hello to Reusable Water Bottles
Expensive and non-recyclable, single-serve juices are not ideal for school lunches. Reusable water bottles are because they can be filled with water (or juice from large plastic bottles) and consumed without creating extra cost or waste. The Triple Insulated Bottles sold by Green’s Your Colour are excellent for serving hot beverages, too, as drinks stay warm for hours until lunchtime. If your child wants hot chocolate or apple cider to drink on occasion, you can make up a batch of it and put it into their bottle to be placed in their lunch bag.
Use a Thermal Bottle with Lidded Cup/Bowl for Soups and Hot Meals
If your child wants to enjoy a hot lunch, you can warm up leftovers from the night before and keep them in a thermal bottle with a cup or bowl attached to it. That way, they can enjoy hot soup or a casserole instead of a sandwich or other cold foods. It’s a great way to use up what you’ve already made, reduces unnecessary waste, and teaches kids how preparing in advance yields fantastic results both monetary and planetary.
Invest in Beeswax Wraps and Cloth Snack Bags
That way, there is no plastic or aluminum foil being thrown away. Beeswax wraps can be used 100s of times before needing to be discarded. Cloth snack bags can be washed and dried until they no longer hold items optimally. You can make your own by watching YouTube videos or purchasing them from an eco-friendly retailer of your choice.
Use Bamboo Cutlery
Durable and sustainable, cutlery made from bamboo is better than plastic because it doesn’t take as big of a toll on the environment. It can be used many times and cleaned regularly. Some sets come in their own containers, too, making it convenient to pack them away in a lunch bag for future use.
Include More Plant-Based Food Options in Lunches
Even if you’re not vegetarian or vegan, you can reduce the amount of meat your family eats each week by switching to more plant-based food options for lunch. Nuts, seeds, and beans provide rich sources of protein for kids. They can be prepared in many ways, too, to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.
Make Items from Scratch Once a Week
Preparing meals and snacks for school lunches at least once a month saves a ton of resources. It forces you to use what you have on hand versus buying additional things. It allows you to be creative and to create lunches that cost very little money and produce minimum waste. That way, you’re able to spend your resources on more of the things that matter most to you and your family such as events and vacations.
Purchase School Supplies Made from Recycled or Sustainable Materials
There are many alternatives to the mass-produced, environment-depleting school supplies of yesteryear. In fact, you’ll find entire companies devoted to creating less waste in the classroom. From recycled paper to pencils made from old newsprint, you’ve got options. You can easily choose items that are durable and long-lasting as opposed to those that are cheap and convenient. Your child will appreciate being different and responsible when it comes to choosing and caring for the supplies that they use throughout the year.
Always Invest in the Extended Warranty
If you purchase electronics or other items that offer an extended warranty, don’t forgo it. Elect to buy it. It will save you tons of money in the long run especially where kids are concerned. If a company offers a no-questions-asked warranty, it’s imperative that you know the details of it so you can replace items that are damaged or inoperable. You’ll ensure that your child always has the computer, tablet or phone that he or she needs throughout the school year.
Instill Values in Your Children So That They Make Choices That Benefit the Planet
Modeling the type of behavior you want your child to exhibit is crucial. That way, there aren’t any concerns about how their consumption affects the planet. They’ll be mindful of how they use the items that they need for the school year. They’ll be less likely to waste items because they know how harmful it can be to the planet.
Use this list as a starting point for your own school year routine. That way, you can get into the swing of things as quickly as possible. You’ll be able to help your kids enjoy the school year while simultaneously protecting the planet with their actions.This school year can be the best and greenest that it’s been yet. By implementing some strategies and laying down ground rules, you’ll be able to rein in the spending you do on school supplies and lunches so that your money is able to stretch further. Best of all, you’ll be doing less harm to the planet while teaching your children responsibility and accountability for their actions while they’re away from home.