The statistics surrounding waste in our homes can be daunting; incandescent bulbs, for example, can use up to 80% more electricity than energy saving varieties. With a little investment any home can save huge amounts of money every year by being more ecologically aware; but is there a way to have a big impact at a smaller scale? What lessons can we teach our children that will help save our purses and the planet?
The Magical Shower
Showering uses around 20 gallons less water than a bath does, but it is estimated that around 20% of the water in a shower is actually just thrown away. By deciding not to have a bath you have made a big impact, but by letting the water run while it heats up you are contributing to over 200 billion gallons of water wasted, every year in this way. You can help by installing a low flow shower head to save water; but there is a difference the children can help with too. A simple bucket to capture the water that would be wasted while the shower is running is a nifty little trick. This water can be used on the garden or to flush the toilet when urinating. While you are teaching the children this trick, it is worth placing a brick in the toilet cistern to reduce its volume and to demonstrate the difference between a half and full flush.
Recycle Those Bags
It is a common problem. You plan to bring your bags for life with you when you go grocery shopping but every time you just plain forget. This isn’t your fault, you have so much to focus on, after all. The trick is to make someone else responsible. Children love to be in charge of something, no matter how small. A plastic bag is used for 12 minute on average and lasts in the environment for thousands of years. It is estimated that up to a trillion plastic bags are used every year globally. Make one of your children the bag monitor, make it their job to ensure you always have your recycled bags with you when ever you go shopping. Even if they forget themselves, the act of making them responsible will help remind you to prompt them.
Learn To Turn Off
Light bulbs left on are incredibly wasteful but this is just the tip of the energy iceberg. Making a game out of turning lights off is easy, but remembering to turn gaming systems off… Modern appliances being left on standby are responsible for $19 billion being wasted on energy bills every year. It is vital that children learn the difference between standby and something being truly off. This wasted electricity could be the difference between a fantastic visit from Santa Claus or finding a piece of coal in the stocking instead.
It is easy to focus on the costly ways to be ecologically friendly as a household but small changes can be just as important. Teaching your children about their carbon footprint at an early age can help to instill habits and behaviors that will set them up well for life.