Green your kid: Getting wise about waste - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Green your kid: Getting wise about waste

Updated:
© Stockbyte/Thinkstock © Stockbyte/Thinkstock


By Lynda Fassa
From Green Goes Simple

Having kids means buying stuff, using stuff and, unfortunately, throwing stuff away --sometimes lots of stuff. It's easy to tie your garbage up, cart it to the curb and watch the nice men in the big truck tote it away, but what is "away," really?

Since there is no magic garbage barge carting our refuse off to Mars -- at least not yet! -- working to reduce our rubbish today is the best thing we can do for the generations to come. And as every mom knows, if you really want to commit to something, you need to get the kids on board. Try these tricks of the trade to get your whole family involved in waste reduction:

Visit the Plant
Take your kids on an adventure to your local recycling plant. Most municipalities have visiting hours and will welcome individuals or small groups. Even better, suggest that your school take the kids on a field trip to the plant!

When kids see the amount of resources that can be recycled and made into cool "new" stuff, they get excited about the possibilities. They may even end up nagging you to recycle that smelly can of cat food that you were planning to simply toss in the trash.

Shop and Cook -- Kid Style
Take your grocery budget and give each child the responsibility of one night's worth of food shopping. Have your child run the potential menu by you first so you don't end up with an entree of cheesy corn curls followed by M&Ms for dessert. Then, let her walk the store and fill up her basket with dinner, within your specified budget and with the understanding that you can veto anything you feel has no nutritional value. (Remember: Consuming food with no nutrients is wasteful, too!)

This is a great lesson in economics as well as in ecology. You will find that kids appreciate their dinner much more when they've purchased the ingredients and made the meal. And if your family likes a little healthy competition, have your kids bag and weigh the trash from packaging, food-preparation scraps, and uneaten food at the end of their meals, then keep score of who chose the meal that ended up with the least waste.

Get Composting
One of the most effective ways to reduce your waste is to compost the biodegradable items. You can install a worm composter under the sink if you're especially brave, but a covered bowl next to the sink works just as well. Collect fruit rinds, coffee grinds, egg shells and veggie peelings, then toss them in a pre-dug hole in a designated corner of the backyard. The bowl only needs to be dumped once a day. Within a few short weeks, you'll have great soil for your garden.

Swap It Out
No one really likes to go through drawers or closets, but if the end result is new things, sometimes that can be a powerful motivator. And if the stuff is not truly new, but new to you, it's good for your family and the planet.

Pick a spring weekend and enlist your kids -- plus your neighbors and friends with kids around the same age as yours -- then hold a freecycle swap meet. Set it up like a yard sale and concentrate on easy grab-n-go items, such as clothes, toys and shoes. Donate any remaining items to Goodwill or a local thrift shop.

Start a ‘Pretty Things' Box
There are some things that can always be used again. Special ribbons, interesting stamps, greeting cards, hangtags from clothing and colorful pieces of cellophane should be stashed and saved in preparation for your little Picasso's next playdate or the next time you need to wrap a gift.

Store them all in a sturdy box -- your "Pretty Things" box. Anyone who has ever glimpsed at the whimsical mobiles and sculptures of Alexander Calder knows that bendy straws, paper towel rolls, pliable wires and the tops from laundry detergent bottles can be transformed into magical creations that engage the imagination and delight doting grandparents everywhere.

Purchase Wisely
This one is for you, Mom: Making thoughtful purchases in the first place means less trash later. Highly concentrated laundry detergents, super-efficient anything, and fresh fruits and veggies are all healthy choices for Mama Earth.

Lynda Fassa is the founder of Green Babies, an organic-cotton baby clothing company, and the author of two books (Green Babies, Sage Moms and Green Kids, Sage Families). She is a frequent blogger for sites like Grist.org, ParentsConnect.com, Treehugger.com and PlanetGreen.com. Lynda has also appeared in People, The New York Times, Parents and Parenting, and on the "Today" show, "Planet Green," "Fox News Happy Hour," "CBS Sunday Morning," "ABC News" and more.

Copyright © 2011 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.

*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Rutland pharmacist accused of stealing meds

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:43 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:43:47 GMT
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
    In Rutland a pharmacist is accused of stealing meds from his employer. 32-year-old Brandon Cigana worked at the Walgreens Pharmacy on Woodstock Avenue. Prosecutors say he used his position there to access the pharmacy's inventory stealing regulated drugs like benzodiazepines, Hydrocodone and Suboxone for himself without a prescription. The Whitehall, New York man faces up to two years behind bars.More >>
  • Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Drug bust in Burlington's Old North End

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:04 GMT
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
    Police made a drug bust Wednesday night in Burlington's Old North End. Police and the U.S. Marshal's raided this home on Cedar Street around 8 o'clock. They say they seized heroin and cocaine. Six people were inside when authorities went in. But they're not saying how many arrests were made. The raid was part of an ongoing drug investigation.More >>
  • Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Fire damages Lyndonville tree farm

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:21 GMT
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
    Fire has damaged ten acres of a Lyndonville tree farm. Eight department were called in to battle the blaze. And it took four hours to get the flames under control. Fire officals say a discarded cigarette combined with dry conditions are to blame. One firefighter suffered from minor smoke inhalation.More >>
  • A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    A warning for bird watchers: Give eagles space

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:36 GMT
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
    Bird watchers are being reminded to give nesting bald eagles plenty of space. The Vermont Fish Wildlife Department is urging anyone who sees a nesting eagle not to get closer than 300 feet. Activity too close to their nest can result in them abandoning their young. Harassing a bald eagle is illegal and a violation of the state endangered species statute.More >>
  • Gun fired into New Haven home

    Gun fired into New Haven home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:44 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:44:48 GMT
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
    Police are searching for who fired a gun into a home in New Haven. It happened late Tuesday night at 2420 Munger Street. Police say a bullet passed through a window of the home. Luckily no one was hurt. Investigators say a stop sign at the intersection of Munger Street and Cobble Road had also been shot. Anyone with information should call state police.More >>
  • What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    What triggered a shooting inside the Bennington police station?

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:57 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:57:35 GMT
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
    A Bennington man is in stable condition after being shot by an officer inside the Bennington Police Department. Investigators say Gregory Filo had a knife and was behaving erratically.More >>
  • Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    Former Fortune 500 exec indicted in fatal NH crash

    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in connection with a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
    A New Hampshire grand jury has indicted a former Fortune 500 executive on second-degree murder charges in a crash that killed a Vermont couple in December.More >>
  • Convicted Vt. embezzler charged with stealing from employer

    Convicted Vt. embezzler charged with stealing from employer

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-04-23 23:24:36 GMT
    Nearly two decades after her first conviction, a white-collar criminal returns to court once again charged with stealing from her employer. More >>
    Nearly two decades after her first conviction, a white-collar criminal returns to court once again charged with stealing from her employer.
    More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.