Eco-Friendly Parenting Tips for Going to the Park
Going to the park with the kids is fun. But it also can be bad for the environment if you aren't careful. I try my best to teach my kids greener ways to do everything, including going to the park. What's greener than the park? That may sound true in retrospect, but waste and mistreatment makes it not so green. So, how do you green your park trips?
Pack a Green Lunch
When packing lunch for the park, be cautious of the potential waste. Whenever possible, avoid disposable items and go for reusable, BPA free, earth-friendly containers and dishes. If you absolutely must use disposable, at least use something biodegradable or recyclable. Paper, plastic, and styrofoam disposable dinnerware and drinkware may seem easier. But at what cost? These items are often non-biodegradable and sit in landfills destroying the earth.
Do you know how many trees are cut down and how many toxic chemicals are emitted into the air to create these items? The most green lunch would likely be made of 100% natural and locally grown foods, not be packaged in a container, and be fully consumed with nothing left over. However, some people will not comply out of convenience. Therefore, the above tips will help reduce some of the waste.
Reduce Waste at the Park
In line with creating less waste, teach your kids not to litter at the park. Anything you bring with you should go home with you. If it's trash, it goes in the proper receptacle. If it's recyclable, same thing. Some parks do not have a recycle bin. In that case, take it home with you and recycle it yourself. Keeping the park clean helps foster a healthy environment, which in turn is good for the kids.
Avoid bringing unnecessary items to the park with you. That includes lunch items. But it also includes toys and other entertainment items. If the kids color at the park, don't let their papers litter the ground. If they blow bubbles, be sure the bottles and wands are taken home for rinse and reuse or recycling. Visit Condo Blues for an eco-friendly bubble recipe.
In addition to reducing your own waste when at the park with the kids, you can help combat the problem further. Help clean up other people's waste from the park. Go through the same routine you would with your own trash. Dispose of it properly, collecting recyclable items or placing them in receptacles if available.
Perfumes, products for the car, cleaning supplies, and even some toys (such as commercially sold bubbles) contain chemicals. These chemicals can pollute the park. Not only does this destroy the plants, but think of the animals that live in the park. It can be hazardous to their health and even deadly. If you absolutely must use some of these products, at least go for an all-natural green version.
Impact of Greening the Park Routine
You may not think one family cleaning up after themselves and others at the park can make a difference. Think again. How many times do you visit the park in a year? How much waste could be accrued in that time period if not picked up. In two years? Five? Looking at the big picture can help illustrate how much impact you and the kids could have on he environment. It's your choice whether to make that impact negative or positive.
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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