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Making a Difference on Earth Day

Earth Day is April 22 and there are many ways to live greener.

Earth Day is Friday and since 1970, it has been a day to celebrate the beauty of the earth and remind us of ways we can help to preserve it.

Raising green kids may be one of the easier things we do as parents. Kids are very impressionable when they’re young and good habits will be easily formed with repeated reinforcement and a good example.  A healthy sense of responsibility for the environment can last a lifetime and now that the green movement is trendy, your kids will want to do their part to help and fit in. Here’s a few things you can work into your everyday routine to get your kids to help the earth, and help you around the house.

Recycle – It’s a given. We are lucky enough that our communities offer recycling pick-up at the curb, but are you taking advantage of it?  Most of us recycle plastic and aluminum containers, but are you recycling the containers fruit comes in, cans from vegetables, beauty and cleaning product containers, paper (you know the pounds sent home by the school), and cardboard?

Electronics, computers, and appliances can even be recycled and Allegheny County offers multiple drop off locations for these items as well as plastic toys and other large items. In addition, the Allegheny County Health Department and the Pennsylvania Resources Council will provide free curbside pickup and disposal of Freon-containing appliances including refrigerators, air conditioners, dehumidifers, water coolers, and freezers. To schedule your free pickup call 1-888-463-7366.

Get you and your kids in the habit of recycling everything possible by having a designated place for each item so it doesn’t pile up in the house. Use larger boxes for cardboard or shopping bags for paper. I am always proud when we have more recyclables to put out than trash and the kids notice, too.

Use less energy – Remind your kids to turn off lights, televisions, computers, and all electronics when they’re not in use.  Set up carpools for parties, practices, and events. It will be easier on you as well as the environment.  If you’re close enough, walk to the store, or let them ride their bike to a friend’s house, safety permitting.  Kids are known for starting the shower then brushing their teeth, getting pajamas, etc. all while the water is running down the drain. It shouldn’t take drastic measures to get them to change, and it will help your utility budget, too.

Buy local and homegrown – With less packaging, preservatives and shipping fuel used, this is a no-brainer, not to mention supporting the local economy. And, it’s almost farm market time.

Donate used items – When you clean out your playroom and drawers, think of what you can donate. Your kids will get a kick out of their old clothes, toys, etc. going to someone else who will appreciate it. If you don’t have any friends or family that would like gently used items, there’s plenty of places that will be glad to have them. Daycares, churches, and organizations like Goodwill, the American Veterans Association, and more will take toys, furniture and linens in addition to clothes.  Goodwill also recycles everything that they don’t use so include those ripped T-shirts in the bag, too. Have a garage sale and let your kids help run it. They can also learn about working and earning money this way. Buy some used items yourself if new ones aren’t required.   

Teach them to encourage others to be responsible. Kids’ opinions do matter. Encourage them to speak up at restaurants, Grandma’s house, recreation facilities and places that don’t have recycling and it will make a difference – after all they’re the ones who will be living here longer.

Summer April 20, 2011 at 10:45 PM
We try to make sure we always do the little things to live a green lifestyle since we know they really do add up to make a huge difference and will help our little ones develop green habits. One great example of this is with our son's lunch. We always pack waste free lunches for him and now his daycare has caught on and is promoting waste free lunches throughout the entire center which is huge! You should check out www.wastefreelunches.org to learn more about waste free lunches and what a difference your kids can make.
Tracy Fedkoe April 21, 2011 at 01:50 AM
Thanks Summer! I will check that out. Needless to say, the school using four different styrofoam items to serve one lunch one qualify.

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