When our children see all the goods in the supermarkets wrapped in plastic it is easy to understand that it is hard for them to imagine that the plastic has not always been there. It is sometimes strange for my kids when I tell them that in my childhood food mainly came unpacked and that their grandmothers did not carry their shopping home in plasticbags! We talk a lot about how plastic is causing so many problems in our environment today and how we can participate to avoid even more contamination.
It is great to experience that their school - and so many others - run projects about recycling, minimise waste, no plastic etc., but at the same time sad, that these projects are necessary at all.....! It is an ongoing process to make kids conscious about waste vs. zerowaste, a process we continuously work on, especially when they see so much waste around them in our daily life!
The best waste is the waste that is not created.... and we continuously agree on new and more ways to minimise our waste, for my kids, and the whole family, to get more conscious about waste vs. zerowaste.
5 minutes clean-up!
A 5 minutes clean-up of trash and litter lying around is the first thing we do when we go to the beach, to the playground, a park or the forest.
In only 5 minutes we can – unfortunately – collect a lot of rubbish, and I believe it to be a good practice for the kids to remember to always throw rubbish in the bin and even better; to create less waste! After only doing this practice a few times they are now very focused on looking for trash to bring it to a bin.....! I Always bring a cotton bag in my bag, which we use to collect rubbish to carry it to a bin if there is none around.
Compostable waste vs. non compostable waste:
Still having rather young kids, they have grown up knowing that leftovers, cut off ends, coffee ground etc. goes to compost, or to the hens, who will then convert the waste into tasty eggs! They participate in throwing the waste into the compost pile and twice a year we all together empty the compost and use it in the garden.
Second Hand and Reuse vs. throwing out or storing:
As the kids gets older they participate in the process of selling the things we no longer use, as secondhand and talking with them about the facts that before being able to buy new things we must pass on or sell some of our “old” things; circular economy..! and that process also gives them a good idea of how much you need to work to be able to buy stuff; cause selling secondhand is a work process in cleaning up, preparing the things to be sold, putting it for sale, talk with possible customers etc.!
Reusable packaging vs. single use packaging:
It has been years now that we only use our foodwraps to wrap leftovers and all other foods. When the kids take lunch to school or when I bring the afterschool snack it is wrapped in our foodwraps vs. cling film, aluminium foil or plastic and they know it is to be brought back home to be reused.
They have lovely tap water at school, but if I bring drinks, other than water, i.e. Kombucha or tea, we use reusable glass bottles or our metal bottles.
Replacing everyday articles to unpacked or reuseable vs. creating more waste:
Eliminating as much packaging as possible we use:
* solid shampoo vs. plastic bottle shampoo.
* bamboo toothbrushes vs. plastic.
* pencils vs. pens!
* At the dinner table we have each our own fabric napkin vs. paper napkins, (and hey, great; the boys are now getting very conscious about when it is time to wash the napkin!)
* Every now and then, together we prepare our own lip balm and toothpaste; they get to add their preferred scent and we store them in used metal boxes or other small glass boxes.
* At home when we drink something with “bobbles” we use our refill mineral water machine to make our mineral water with gas and we ferment our own kombucha or water kefir vs. buying plastic or glass bottles with prefabricated flavoured drinks.
* I show them what it means to buy bulk and unpacked vs. buying foods wrapped in plastic and they also participate in carrying any waste to the recycle station to see where things end up and how to separate the different waste.
Recycle and upcycle:
Lucky to have a garage with extra space means we can save things…. Things which we can later recycle or upcycle vs. buying new. For example:
* the kids participate in cutting branches in the garden and they see how they are useful to lit up the chimney in winter.
* they help cutting an old table cloth into smaller pieces to be used as our fabric napkins and when they grow out of their trousers they get to do fun part of cutting them into shorts etc.; repairing vs. throwing out.
Saving water and energy:
Trying to make them conscious about energy vs. energy waste they know that:
* the water should be turned off when brushing their teeth and when we wait for the hot water to reach the shower we fill up a bucket, which we can use to water the plants etc.
* the light is to be shut off when leaving a room and they remember it, I would say, 80% of the time ;).
Bring our own:
Since they were born we have always brought a metal water bottle vs. buying plastic bottles (still amazed about the excellent quality of for example the Clean Kanteen bottles we have had now for 10+ years!).
In my bag I always bring our own:
* metal straws and we are practising the “say no thanks” to plastic straws.
* fabric shopping bags vs. buying plastic bags
* handkerchiefs made from used shirts vs. plastic packed paper towels
* wooden cutlery vs. using plastic if normal cutlery is not offered and we have much fun bringing our whittling knifes to nature to make our own cutlery!