1) Precycle – attempt to reduce waste before it becomes waste. The concept is explained in more detail here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precycling
2) Recycle with purpose! Not all plastics are created equal and recycling takes some degree of effort. The good thing is that if this awareness is created early and turned into a habit, recycling becomes a breeze!
3) Teach your kids how to Conserve existing resources – water and food for example. Remind them to put food back in the refrigerator and close the door. There are numerous creative ways to conserve water.
4) Use paper on both sides and make use of scrap paper. With the abundance of personal printers, this becomes very important. Young kids love to doodle, show them how to do this more effectively by using paper on both sides.
5) Encourage taking shorter showers. Warm water can be so mesmerizing. A water proof shower clock is a great environmentally conscious investment that helps your kids to stop taking 40 minute showers 🙂
6) Use non-toxic cleaners in your house and explain that these are better for the environment. Kids require a lot of cleaning, do your part to help the environment!
7) Use foams and aerosols based on compressed air rather than other propellants.
8) Help your kids learn to turn things off when not in use. This is especially true of personal computers andelectronics, which can consume a lot of energy! With so many things to do, it’s so easy to forget to turn something off.
9) Teach your kids the importance of car maintenance and miles per galon rating. Ask them to work on the car and show them how you dispose of car liquids.
10) Find a way to carpool at least once a week. It’s fun and environmentally friendly!
11) Encourage your kids to get a bike and ride it responsibly. This is a great exercise and saves you some time, because you don’t have to drop your kids off everywhere.
12) Reduce the use of petroleum based products like plastics.
13) Pick up and properly dispose of trash and recyclables, even if they are not yours. This only takes a second and is a great example of a selfless environmentally friendly act.
14) Spread awareness of environmental issues – your kids will have to face these issues during their lifetime!
15) Conserve hot water and reduce the water heater setting by a few degrees during summer months.
16) Show your children how you care for your home, ask them to inform you of leaky faucets and pipes if they see any.
17) Use biodegradable products – plastic bags, dishes, soaps, etc.
18) Preserve your environment. Volunteer with your kids for tree planting programs or creek cleanups. Seeing first hand how much trash is in our rivers sends a powerful message for recycling.
19) Properly dispose of things including hazardous household waste. Find out if your township has a hazardous waste collection program. Properly recycle of used batteries.
20) If you are not already using energy saving light bulbs, try to put them at least in your kids rooms. These are only marginally more expensive than “old school” ones and practically pay for themselves by saving you money on electric bill!
21) Learn to do more with less. This implies enjoying what you already have more, repairing and reusing existing items! This can also teach kids how to be more creative!
22) Talk to your kids about pesticides and other garden chemicals that you may be using presently. A lot of these end up in the oceans.
23) Start a trial compost project in your backyard and get your kids involved.Composting can be done very inexpensively and keeps a lot of waste out of landfills!
24) Explain the importance of house insulation, especially during winter months. Ask your kids to avoid keeping their windows open during the winter. Teach them how to use the thermostat, and explain that setting temperature above a certain point only wastes energy!
25) Use more energy effective appliances and explain their significance to your children.
26) Avoid bulky packaging and opt out for air bags instead of Styrofoam packing peanuts. Styrofoam is virtually indestructible and poisons our oceans. If you receive a package with Styrofoam peanuts, save them and reuse them. Maybe you are looking to sell something on ebay? Now’s the time!
These steps have a significant impact of reducing household waste and hazardous household waste. Water conservation is a “drop in the bucket” compared to the needs of modern farming and cattle breeding, but it is the mindset that counts. Having people who are aware of their impact on the environment will help enact more environmentally friendly regulations!