Green seems to be on everyone’s minds these days. Readers shared on ChicagoParent.com the things they are doing with their children to be more environmentally aware.
"Since January my daughter and I have started recycling aluminum cans. Instead of putting them in the blue bag, we have been taking them to the recycling center. I am trying to teach her to save for a trip to Disney World. In my personal quest of going green, I have been changing to electronic statements vs. paper statements. I am also big on paying online vs. mailing in the statement with the check. Also, my children and husband will plant a flower and veggie garden in the spring and make their own compost." ILona Vida
"Our family has been green for a long time now. We’ve changed all of our light bulbs and recycle our cans, newspapers, aluminum and copper wiring. We reuse certain items to save trees like paper, we turn off the water when brushing our teeth to save water and we do things on a daily basis all the time."
"We recently watched a movie/documentary about polar bears and penguins narrated by Queen Latifah. It totally inspired my 7-year-old daughter. At the end of the movie it said some statistic about turning off the lights in your home will save X number of polar bears. She does not like for lights to be on in our home anymore unless it is pitch dark! She is so cute and I’m glad she is really understanding what being green is all about."
"We bring magazines, newspapers, plastic containers, bottles, cardboard boxes and other stuff we can recycle to the recycling center. At home, we use recycled papers to draw or write on."
"My daughter is 3½ and her and I sort the recycle bin together (usually she is in her Cinderella dress helping do the house work). My husband has replaced all light bulbs in the house with energy efficient ones. We ‘recycle’ our family items by donating them and my daughter picks out which toys to ‘share’ with others at local toy resales."
"We have been recycling our newspapers and junk mail as well as sorting out the plastics and cardboard boxes."
"All packaging material gets rinsed out thoroughly and washed and dried before putting it in a dedicated recycle bin. In the summer, we eat a lot more fruits and ALL fruit and vegetable peels get composted in couple of flower pots in the yard. Both my boys help dig and cover the peels. We recycle so much we are the only family I know that puts out our garbage twice a month. Every single week we recycle at least three containers!!!"
"Our family recycles everything we can. We use Tupperware for lunches, instead of plastic bags. If we do use plastic bags, then we make sure that we reuse them for something else. We always make sure that we only run the dishwasher and washing machine if there is a full load and we turn the water off when we brush our teeth. We turn off all lights and unplug appliances when not in use. I have two young boys and I think it’s great to teach them this stuff at an early age."
"When my first son was born, we really started imagining what all those disposable items in our house were doing to the environment that our kids were going to inherit. We also began to realize that things we do that are good for us are also good for the planet and vice versa. We started using cloth diapers and cloth wipes to reduce waste. With a little planning, I started substituting the use of disposable items such as paper towels as often as we could (I keep a handy supply of rags and old T-shirts all around the house) and I replaced chemical cleaning products with ones I could make myself using common products like vinegar and baking soda and other environmentally friendly items. ... We try to support the local farmers market and eat organic if possible. Our project this spring is to plant a garden so we can all enjoy growing our own vegetables and flowers. I really hope to instill in my kids a love of nature and all the goodness that comes from it."
"We keep two trash cans on our kitchen: one for regular garbage and the other one for recyclables (with a big sign on it: RECYCLABLES ONLY). We showed our 3-year-old son that magazines, newspapers, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles and other recyclables go on the special trash can and he already knows how to sort the items."
"We as a family are using reusable shopping bags, changing our light bulbs and recycling. We also practice Leave No Trace when we go camping."
"My family and I have been very passionate about keeping as ‘green’ as possible. We recycle practically everything we can, we use all environmentally friendly and safe cleaning products—even down to my son’s shampoo and bath soap. We use all CFL light bulbs, we bring reusable bags to the grocery store and out shopping at the mall and we use all homeopathic medications. ... We love to use 100 percent recyclable paper products and use cloth diapers for cleaning the house instead of paper towels.
"My family and our close friends have instilled a promise to add one environmentally friendly practice a year to our lifestyles. We hope to add this program to our neighbors as well."
"Our family vacations are as low impact as possible. We recycle, use reusable water bottles and have a filter for the tap and buy eco-friendly cleaning products (they smell so much better, too!) We grow as much from our garden as able, starting seeds weeks prior in pots on our dining room table aka ‘farm!’ ... I read newspapers and magazines online whenever possible. I buy songs online instead of purchasing the hard-copy CDs."
"We recycle paper, plastic and aluminum every day. We try to reduce the amount of waste by buying in bulk when possible. I even take the plastic grocery bags back to the store to be recycled. When running errands, we combine as many tasks in one trip so that we aren’t wasting time and energy. We also use the back of used computer paper for artwork and coloring projects."
"We do recycling, everything we can: paper, plastic, aluminum, phone books, everything. If we can’t put it out with our normal recycling we find a receptacle to properly dispose."
"We have an 8-month-old daughter and she’s opened our eyes to so many new things in life including ‘being green.’ We want to ensure that she will have a future that is pollution free. My husband and I would car pool to work when I was pregnant and now that our little one is here we’ve made a few changes in our household. Besides recycling newspapers as we’ve always done, we also are recycling plastics, aluminum and glass items as well. I give my magazine subscriptions to friends once I’m done reading them (including Chicago Parent). I attempted to make my own baby food (which she actually liked) and reuse the containers/jars from the previous store bought food. ... We purchase some of her clothes from consignment shops and will hold on to them in case we have another girl in the near future. If not, there’s always garage sales or charity to allow someone else to enjoy them."
"Our family started going green just recently. We recycle paper and plastic and we try to buy items that have been recycled into new things. My son is learning about going green in school and they are taking a field trip to Earthworks. We try to conserve energy as much as we can."