Lighten your household's footprint
When it comes to making changes at home, it's more often than not, the little things that will come together to make the biggest difference. And as it's said that all the best work starts at home, making sustainable choices for your family is easier to do than you may think. With quick and easy changes to improve your household’s footprint, being a planet-friendly parent can be an enjoyable way to lighten the load at home by getting all hands on deck, including help from the kids.
With a variety of ways to reduce your home’s carbon footprint and to put your stamp on sustainable living – or at least a step towards it - we have worked closely with Dan Burgess, a creative catalyst to inspirational and sustainable change, and together compiled some fun and engaging ways to improve your home's footprint.
Read our guide for more info and top tips on how planet friendly parenting is one small step for families, and one big step for the planet.
A load of rubbish
Take some gloves and a bin bag with you when you go on walks in local parks, to the beach or local streets and make a game of clearing up local litter. It could help give your children both a sense of responsibility for the environment and a feeling of making a real difference. You can even combine picking up litter with going for a quick fun run – it’s known as plogging.
Power to the little people
Get your children involved in monitoring your energy usage. Put them in charge of making sure lights are switched off in empty rooms and at night, that electrical items aren’t left on standby, when to use the heavier flush, and hanging clothes out to dry rather than using the dryer. Come up with fun stickers to put on switches and plugs to remind you that ‘Off is the new on’. Perhaps suggest layering up with jumpers and blankets rather than turning up the central heating as winter starts. And ask them for their own ideas on saving energy and water.
Rot and roll
If your kids are the kind that love to get dirty, then composting is made for them. Give them their own container, which should be at least a metre tall and a metre wide, drill some holes in the top, bottom and sides to allow air in and water out, and they're set to go. Ideally, they should fill it with plant material from the garden, including dry leaves, household waste including tea bags, eggshells and shredded newspaper and a layer of soil, preferably with earthworms. Then just give it a stir every so often. If you don’t have a garden, then a small wormery on a balcony could be the answer. You can find out about them from the Royal Horticultural Society.
Waste not want not
You can give your kids a sense of responsibility by putting them in charge of sorting recyclable waste. Start with doing a waste audit, capturing all the packaging your family uses during a week. This can be a real eye-opener and point the way to further actions you could take to cut back, before you even get to sorting waste. Take your children through the recycling rules for your local area, let them decide which kinds of paper waste and food containers are suitable, what to do with food waste and how to divide up glass by colour. Finally, make it their duty to put out recyclables for collection every week or two.
Turn your children into helpful aisle activists by teaching them what to look out for on supermarket items. Encourage them to avoid single-use plastic or no packaging where possible and recyclable or compostable packaging where not. Inject intrigue on whether produce is local and seasonal. Get the kids questioning who made it? Is it fair trade? What’s in it? Then they can help make your next supermarket visit more sustainable.