David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II opened a real can of worms – and the world is now focused on our use of plastic.
If you have a child of any age you’ll know that totally banning plastic from our lives isn’t practical. But what can we do to educate ourselves and our kids and help any projects to reduce plastic that their school has launched?
Set an example
Get the reusable habit.
- Take a bag shopping (or several)
- Keep one of those cloth bags rolled up in your handbag or in the car for random purchases
- Try to buy fruit and veg that are loose (and if there’s a market near you, they’re probably cheaper, if less perfectly formed!)
- Encourage your kids to drink tap water instead of bottled water and get them a proper water bottle (you can put juice in it as a treat)
- Get reusable straws (there are some really fun ones available that can be washed and reused)
- Always recycle plastic if possible. If there is no kerbside collection, most supermarkets have recycling bins in their carpark, take your plastic and use their recycling facility.
Get the kids involved
Involvement creates commitment, so get them to be part of the solution.
If they haven’t seen the Blue Planet II clip showing the dreadful plastic contamination in our oceans, get them to watch it and then sit them down and ask them what they think about it.
Talk to them about what they could do to improve the situation, personally, as part of your family, with their friends and as a member of their community. Younger children will have a different understanding than older kids so the discussion will need to be tailored to varying age groups – especially if you have kids spanning a big age range.
Ask them if their school is doing anything and what you – and they – could do to help.
Discuss goals for the whole family. This could be as simple as reducing the number of bags of plastic that go out for recycling or something more challenging like every member of the family having water bottles, their own mugs for the coffee shop (Mum and Dad need to be on board), reusable straws, switching to toiletries that use less plastic (especially avoiding those with plastic particles, such as exfoliants). Be creative, it doesn’t have to be a costly exercise.
Some schools have already started to put bans in place for single-use plastics, but not every school has the resources to just ban plastic. Many plastic learning toys are actually not harming the environment at all, they get used over and over and are easy to clean. It’s the disposable, single-use items that are causing the problem.
Have you spoken to the school about their plans in relation to this? The government are already making pledges and eventually, the environmental legislation will start to come into play. What could you do to help the school achieve their own goals for reducing plastic?
No cling wrap or plastic food bags in lunch boxes, no drinks that are in throwaway plastic bottles.
Awareness is half the battle
The more aware your family is of what plastic you use – and whether it’s really necessary – the more your children will take action to be part of the solution to the plastic pollution the world is suffering from.