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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Do Your Part - Healthy Choices Begin With The Three ‘R’s, Sending Kids Back To School In Healthy Style

Aug 04, 2009 07:25PM
The choices we make while gearing up for school can make a big impact on our children’s health and the health of our planet. My family and I have fun this time of year by finding interesting ways to reduce our waste, reuse items, and recycle what we can’t.

One of my children is 13. Need I say more?  She wants the latest fashion and you can find them at Plato’s Closet; a resale shop catering to children and young adults. It’s a bit overwhelming at first but you can really find some steals. Plus, my daughter can trade in outgrown items for cash or store credit. The same is true at resale shops for the younger set. You can find newborn to youth sizes at one of many resale stores including Once Upon a Child. It’s a great way to get gently used to practically new items for the ages that grow so fast. This is a great lesson for your kids in reusing and you’ll spend a lot less money.

School lunches are a biggie when it comes to a healthier lifestyle.  I found a cool lunch bag made from recycled water bottles ( My family has a daily goal of packing 100% waste-free lunches. So, we ditched the non-recyclable plastic baggies for plastic containers that we’ve been stockpiling in the pantry. And we use a “Wrap-N-Mat” (also at that keeps any size sandwich fresh and doubles as a placemat.

Packing a reusable water bottle is essential and reusable utensils and a cloth napkin finish off the waste-free lunch. I don’t have worry about my kids accidentally throwing them away because they never need to go to the trashcan –everything goes back in the bag!  Think about it this way - every child generates about 67 pounds of lunchtime trash each year. Do Your Part to reduce what your child tosses in the trash.

Don’t forget what goes inside the lunch bag. Buying snacks in bulk will cut back on packaging waste. Items like crackers or pretzels are available that way and your kids won’t be throwing away those small, individual packages. Organic and locally grown fruits and vegetables are another smart choice. Pack a little dip too! That’ll encourage kids to eat up. Buy seasonal fruits and vegetables from local growers and you’ll be supporting your community’s economy and farmers while significantly reducing your eco-footprint.

You can also make a statement that you’re working toward a healthier planet by stocking kids’ backpacks with eco-friendly supplies. Folders, dividers, composition books, pencils and pencil packs made of recycled content are easier to find. One local company, Carolina Pad, recently launched a new line of recycled paper products called “Sasquatch: leave nothing but tracks” available at Target, Wal-Mart and Walgreens. Supporting the recycled-content industry is another way to Do Your Part.

These simple choices about what your kids take to school can drastically reduce your family’s eco footprint. It also is a good opportunity to have important conversations with your kids about what we all can do to tread lightly on our planet.

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