The following is a guest post from momAgendaCOMM blogger Jill Krause.
1. Choose a better sunscreen. Are you aware that many popular brand sunscreens you buy off the shelf at the drug store or big box stores are full of chemicals that have been proven to be detrimental to your health (and the health of your babies and kids)? Obviously, your heart is in the right place if you’re going to the effort of smoothing sunscreen on everyone before a trip outdoors, but not all sunscreens are created equal.
Take the extra step to protect yourself and your family by checking with Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Sunscreen Report for 2012 to see how safe your sunscreen is, or find a new brand. The EWG rates sunscreens on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being the safest and 10 the most unsafe.
2. Stop buying bottled water. America alone throws away TONS of plastic water bottles every year. It’s a heaping mound of litter that can easily be reduced if more people simply stopped buying bottled water. Not only are those bottles bad for the environment, they can also leach chemicals that are bad for YOU when they get hot. Do yourself, your family, and Mother Earth a favor this year and stock up on reusable bottles (I personally love stainless steel options). Then do your very best to keep them with you.
Sure, there may still be some times that you have to buy a bottle of water here and there, but the more you can cut back the better. Not to mention all the money you’ll save! And next time you’re out to eat and want water with your meal, just ask for a cup of ice water instead of shelling out $2-$3 for a bottle.
3. Start a compost pile. I don’t know about your family, but our fruit and veggie consumption tends to go up in the summer months. It must be the abundance of deliciously ripe produce. That also means we have a lot of scraps and cuttings to throw away. We started a compost pile (in a compost box my husband built) 2 years ago. Since then, we’ve had 2 great years of compost to naturally fertilize our little backyard garden which produced juicy berries this year, among other things.
In addition to that benefit, it reduced the amount of trash we produce, and it’s helped teach our preschooler about the life cycle of plants. I promise it’s not too hard to do. There are several great resources online that can get you started. Start this summer and you’ll have a batch of compost ready to go in time for planting next spring!
4. Buy summer clothes from consignment shops and sales. It’s nearly impossible to keep summer clothes looking like new after all the running through sprinklers and mud puddles, popsicles, and grass stains that are bound to happen. So why even worry buying new clothes? This is a great time of year to save money and help keep fibers out of landfills by looking at the consignment store, garage sales, or on craigslist for gently used clothing for your kids. If the clothes are totally worn out after your turn with them, shred and upcycle them into stuffing for floor pillows or throw pillows at the end of summer.
5. Leave every place cleaner than you found it. From campsites to parking lots, teach your kids to pick up not only their own mess, but others, too. Make it a game to see who can find a piece of trash at the park first. Practice leaving every place you visit cleaner than you found it. You’ll be helping to keep trash from tumbling down the sidewalk while also teaching your kids a valuable lesson in respecting their environment. Hopefully, they’ll grow up to be the example everyone else follows – not the rude guy who leaves his half full coffee cup in the grocery cart when he’s done with it.