It's a statistic that's shocking but not exactly surprising. When you factor in toys and my husband's creamer containers and toothpaste containers and everything else we use on a daily basis, you can see how quickly consumption adds up. Even if you consider yourself on the more environmentally friendlier side of the equation.
I recently read Beth Terry's Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too. I've followed Beth's blog for years and was thrilled to get a chance to read her book that was just released.
Admittedly in one of my more lax phases as a parent and environmentalist (hampered by bad work schedules and led astray by back to school and store closure sales), I know I also have a responsibility to my children and to future generations. We've been having family conversations lately about reducing our consumption - from turning down the lights and water to whether we want to buy "things" or "do things" for Christmas. (I'm paving that path now.) But Beth's book gives me great discussion starters and family project ideas that even young gradeschoolers and preschoolers can tackle:
- Tallying up your recyclable and non-recyclable items to see how much you add up in a week's time. It's a natural extension for our kids - who fight over who gets to take out the recycling - and has the added benefit of a quiet lesson about addition and charts.
- Collecting all those plastic bottle lids from prescription bottles, milk jugs and soda bottles - those that I've tossed for years - and send them to Evansville's Caps N Cups. (This may actually end up being a Brownie scout service activity during our Wonders of Water badge journey this year!)
- Choosing fresh, more waste-free ideas for school lunches. (I confess: Though we use reusable bags and containers for school lunches, I'm not perfect on this. My son's spacer and his troubles chewing means I've stocked up on fruit cups and other soft options until this brief phase is over. Then we'll be back to his much-missed apples!)
- Cook a little - whether it's crackers, bread or even nut milk or yogurt. (It's healthier, and a great way to spend the afternoon with your children.)
- Make your own sugar scrub and other toiletries. I love the variety of recipes and tips in this section, and I'm anxious to try them out once my work project passes!
Wherever you are in the journey towards lighter living, whether you're a young child or have hours to devote to a cause, Beth's book has a new idea for you. Check it out!