australian stream

3 Ways to Bring Kids Into The Zero Waste Movement

Share this post

I’ve been chatting with Nicola lately about how we each play a tiny part in making the world a better place. Living in Sydney, we’ve been exposed to more ocean concerns—like how plastic is getting washed into the sea and how runaway balloons are hurting marine life. These topics have sparked quite a bit of interest in how we might be able to help. We are by no means perfect at this, but we’re making small steps. Here are a few simple ideas I’d like to pass along:

  1. Give Experience Gifts
    I love, love, love this idea. Not only does it reduce “stuff” brought in the house, it’s a great way to keep life exciting. I love having my calendar peppered with fun activities. Instead of a physical gift, give a gift certificate for ice cream or movie tickets. For Nicola’s past birthday, one of her presents was a trip to a special kids’ performance at the Sydney Opera House and a juggling workshop. We’re actually doing it this week. I’m looking forward to it!
  2. Naked Lunches
    This is something her school is doing and I really love the concept. The idea is to only bring food in reusable containers so the kids won’t create any trash. I think back to the lunches my mom packed me. Each day a new brown bag, Saran Wrap around my sandwich, a small bag of chips and a little carton of milk and straw. Nicola just brings her lunchbox and water bottle. Zero waste.
  3. Donate Old Toys / Buy Second-hand Ones
    I love a good purge. Whether it be a closet, a cabinet or an overflowing coat rack, piling up and removing things around the house that are no longer useful has a cathartic effect. Nicola seems to like it too. (Must be her good genes.) We declutter her room 2-3x/year. When she was much younger, we’d head out to the thrift store and find something “new” to play with. This was perfect for when she wanted lots of little trinkets and I didn’t want to spend much money on something small that would quickly be replaced. Lately, with our transition back to Boulder at the forefront of our minds, we’ve been doing book swaps with friends and we plan to donate Nicola’s own books that she no longer needs to our local library and the thrift store down the street instead of shipping them back. (Although a few books are coming with, I’m sure.) Buying books second hand is also a win-win. They are so cheap! And then you can donate them right back. Of course, the library is always incredible too. You get the point.

The point is that it’s not about being perfect, really! (There’s just no way. Too high of a mountain!) But the idea is to just start thinking about it. That’s all. Give your actions a second thought and see if there is a more eco-friendly (and realistic) option.