How to go Zero Waste with your Kids

Updated: Dec 29, 2021

Kids are notorious for waste, whether it’s a half-eaten apple or plastic toys that don’t last. For a family, becoming zero waste can be challenging and take time. But, there are lots of things you can do to influence your child’s behaviour and help foster a zero waste lifestyle change.

These 5 tips are simple…and don't have to happen overnight, introduce them one at a time, gradually until they stop thinking about that chocolate bar in the lunchbox, or the snack attack that’s all plastic packaging and no substance.

1. Reduce

An easy place to start going zero waste is with your child's lunchbox…

What's inside?

Packaged muesli bars, plastic-wrapped sandwich, a small bag of popcorn? Take one food item at a time and look for a package-free alternative.

Bake flapjacks at home, buy from a wholesaler, prepare fruit, veg and dips.

Not only will this lead to a zero waste home, but you'll also save money and eating healthier.

2. Reusable Food Packaging

There are now so many fun and convenient zero-waste alternatives for food packaging that kids will love.

Try beeswax wraps instead of cling film or reusable sandwich bags you can throw in the washing bowl with the dishes.

For young children buy squeezable pouches you can reuse for yoghurt, purees and smoothies instead of the single-use options at the grocery store.

3. Reusable Water Bottles

Plastic single-use water bottles are an environmental hazard and removing them is an easy step towards zero waste living.

Allow your children to choose a quality stainless steel water bottle that they take with them everywhere. Preferably one that’s thermo so that it stays cold while they’re at school all day.

Not only is stainless steel more durable and eco-friendly, but it also won't leach toxic chemicals into the water, especially when exposed to heat.

4. Recycle

Is your child's room overflowing with toys? Do they have piles of clothes they never wear hidden in their wardrobe?

Spend an afternoon on a weekend or a day in the school holidays making donation piles of quality toys, books and clothes that can be given a new life. Consider going to a car boot sale and letting them sell their toys and earn pocket money.

Favourite times to do this are…before birthdays or Christmas where your child's focus will be on the new gifts not the old. This also fosters the spirit of giving in your children.

5. Visit Your Local Library

Instead of buying books, magazines or DVDs, visit your local library and browse through their collection.

Libraries are a valuable resource for sustainable living and an exciting place for children to explore. Let them get a library card and pick their own books or DVDs. This will allow them to be independent, and reduce the amount of children’s books etc you have in the house by HALF.

Not only can your child pick up lots of books, but they can also get involved in the many activities hosted in the library.

Also, any books/DVDs that are used but still in good condition, let your children donate them to the library.

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