How to Raise a Green Family in 7 Steps

Sometimes enlisting the whole family in eco-friendly efforts can be a challenge, but these simple steps make it easy to be green.

by Laura McHolm • Member { View Profile }
Laura McHolm is an organizational and green expert and Co-Founder of NorthStar Moving Corporation.
Photograph: iStock

Committing yourself to being green (or greener) sounds pretty simple in retrospect. Recycle more, waste less and use organic products — easy as apple-bought-from-your-local-farmer’s-market, right? However, convincing your family (namely your kids) to follow in your footsteps can be a bit more challenging. After you explain the importance of being eco-friendly to your family, let them know that even the littlest things they do and changes they make every day can help lead to a cleaner, greener environment. I’ve found that even the simplest changes in regular everyday activities can help you and your family be green with success:

1. First, make sure there are adequate recycling bins in your home and that everyone in your family knows about which “stuff” goes in what bin. Make it easy for your kids and color-code the bins! Blue for paper, red for glass, green for plastic, for example.

Clean up after those frequent spills and messes the green way. Moms, shop for greener household cleaning products. Brands such as Simple Green and Method are great. Old-fashioned household remedies like vinegar, lemon and baking soda also do the trick! (Think of it as a fun science project for the kids!)

2. Bring your children to a local farmer’s market and pick out plants to have in the house together. Literally green! Pretty plants help improve the flow of oxygen in your home. Substitute some of your kids’ pre-packaged snacks to organic fruits/veggies. Shop local and take your family to a local farmer’s market to  pick out locally grown food. Plan a meal and cook together!

3. Clean out and organize your closets and pantries so you don’t end up with duplicates and get more use out of what you have. Do you need really need six spatulas? Or how about those 10 pairs of jeans you have stacked in your closet? If you or your children have outgrown clothes, donate them to those in need. Gives true meaning to “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”

4. When cleaning out and organizing your closets and cupboards, take a look at what you keep. Ask yourself: “Can I buy a greener alternative for this??” Believe it or not, there is most likely a greener alternative to almost everything in your home. Try Bamboo chopping blocks or 100 percent organic cotton sheets! Look at where and how the products you purchase are manufactured.

5. Purchase a container for e-waste. Teach your family not to dump old batteries in the trash and instead use the container. Once full, bring the container to a domestic recycling center.

6. Simple energy savers, such as purchasing light bulbs that are low-fluorescent and EnergyStar appliances are useful in conserving energy and save bundles of money at the end of the year. Perhaps you can use the extra savings to plan a fun outing with your family!

7. Thinking of home improvement? Ask your contractor/vendor what they do to be green. This goes for any service you or your family use – many businesses nowadays have green alternatives that you may not even know about! Ask away!

With these initial steps and group efforts, you will encourage your family to come together as a team and they may even find that it can be easy being green. Start the trend, and be the first “eco-family” on your block!

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