For many children, school is on or soon will be on summer break. During the school year, there are many reminders to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Many schools no longer permit disposable bags for example, and most have curriculums that emphasize the need for kids to play a positive role in helping to save our planet. Summer time tends to be more laid back, carefree, and often, eco-wise practices fall to the wayside.
There are simple things that can be done to make sure that this doesn't happen. Since Green City Living's cornerstone is the EcoBagIt! reusable sandwich bag, for the first post this series, we'll start with reusable sandwich bags and diaper wetbags.
- Oversized sandwich bags are perfect for containing small children's wet swim suits after swim lessons or a trip to the beach. As long as the bag has a waterproof lining, they prevent or at least slow leaks onto other items in backpacks or swim bags. For older children, diaper wet bags, such as those made by JonaCreationBoutique can be used.
- Another use for reusable bags with waterproof liners is to contain bottles or messy items--things such as hand sanitizer, bug spray or creams like Avon's Skin So Soft, bars of soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, sunscreen or makeup. These bags minimize the chance of leaking onto other things being carried. Airport security even accepts reusable sandwich bags with a waterproof lining for containing such items in carry-ons. For packing suitcases, the larger diaper wetbags work great for packaging hair gel, shampoo bottles, etc that can expand and burst open during flights.
- Purchasing food on vacation is expensive and can be very inconvenient when hiking, traveling on a plane or driving through less populated areas. In addition, food choices that are available at gas stations or in the airline snack boxes are often devoid of the nutritional value that parents would usually insist on for their children. A less costly choice is to pack reusable snack bags with foods that parents know their children like while also being nutritious. Again, bags with waterproof liners will help to keep these foods fresher, while also preventing sticky leaks from fruit.
- "I'm tired, can you carry me?" How many times have parents tried to take a family hike, progressed a quarter of a mile down the trail and heard this? Or wheeled along a stroller on rough terrain in anticipation of this plea? Kids love to collect. To keep children entertained so they forget to be tired, turn hikes it into scavenger hunts--an opportunity to pick up pretty stones, pine cones, shells, arrow heads, etc. Using reusable sandwich bags gives them an in hand place to carry all their treasures without the chore of having to stop to put them into their backpacks.
- Instead of using disposable wipes, carry along a moist washcloth or unpaper towel to wipe dirty faces and hands. Hand sanitizer is great, but it doesn't remove the dirt and shouldn't be used on faces. Having a moist washcloth in the backpack helps to remove the grime before using sanitizers. Cloth washcloths, even when moist, also tend to be more absorbent than disposable wipes so that spills can be more cleaned up more quickly.
- Packing a picnic? Tin or even plastic containers work great for packing food, but they they take up space and can be cumbersome to tote around. Reusable sandwich bags are very lightweight, and they collapse flat when they are not in use. Many, like ours can be washed in the dishwasher top rack, or inside out in the washing machine for parents who like the convenience of not having to handwash items. They come in a variety of patterns (Green City Living alone has over 80 designs to choose from).
- Litter is an unfortunate reality, and what can help children to prioritize our environment more than teaching them to pick up trash that litters their favorite playground or park? Caution--please teach kids to always ask an adult if things are safe for them to pick up, and also that it is important to wear gloves. Keeping a wet bag along is a convenient way to carry trash to dumpsters or recycle bins. It can even be turned and used as a glove to grab discarded papers or soda cans and then turned right side to contain the item until a receptacle is located to properly dispose of them.
These are just a few ideas we've come up with for being environmentally friendly in convenient, thoughtful ways this summer. We welcome others to please share their ideas with us and our fan base!