Green ideas for children
So, you want to help our planet and the extraordinary wildlife that we share it with – that’s brilliant news!
Here are plenty of ways that you can help make a difference to the state of our planet in your everyday life. Lots of small changes in your daily routine can add up to have a big impact on the health of our planet.
Please read on to find out how you can make these changes.
How to save energy?
- Turn off all television and computer consoles properly and try not to leave them on standby.
- When you leave a room turn off the lights.
- Feeling chilly? Before you reach for the heating, try popping on some slippers and an extra jumper.
Making green decisions when it comes to clothing
- Before putting something in the washing basket, make sure it really needs washing first, you may be able to wear it another day.
- When washing your clothes, always makes sure the washing machine is full. You may need to combine laundry loads with members of your house.
- Only buy clothes you really need, avoid ‘fast fashion’- clothes which you only wear a few times.
- If you grow out of something or decide you don’t want to wear it anymore, donate it to a friend, relative or to a charity shop.
- If the piece of clothing isn’t in a wearable condition, you can pop it into a clothes bank where they can recycle it, or you can turn it into rags by cutting it into pieces and using it to clean surfaces in the house.
Making sustainable decisions when it comes to bathroom habits
- Turn off the tap between wetting your toothbrush and rinsing your mouth into the basin when you brush your teeth to save water, only turning it back on to rinse the brush.
- Have a short shower instead of a bath, it will save water and energy.
- Don’t flush cotton buds or baby wipes down the toilet – they can end up polluting the sea and beaches.
Be green when it comes to food and drink
- Avoid plastic straws: if you need to use a straw, use a paper one which can be recycled or, even better, a reusable metal or bamboo straw which you can carry with you and will last for years.
- Palm oil is often grown on areas that have been deforested to grow oil palm trees. It is in all sorts of things from biscuits to shampoo and it is almost impossible to avoid completely, so we recommend looking out for products that contain sustainably sourced palm oil.
- Avoid fast food, it has lots of extra packaging which has to be thrown away afterwards.
- Recycle food packaging – tins, bottles, jars, cans, clean tin foil, cardboard boxes can all be recycled. Check your council website to find out what is recycled in your area.
- Eat less meat. Compared with growing crops, meat production uses a lot more land per amount of food produced and produces far more emissions which are harmful to the environment. Why not introduce #MeatlessMonday into your household and commit to having at least one meal a week without any meat.
Making eco-conscious decisions in the garden
- Grow some of your own fruit and vegetables. There are plenty of things that you can grow even without a garden, lettuce grows well in tubs as do beans and peas, even carrots and potatoes. Cress, pea shoots, herbs and kale can all be grown on a windowsill with good sunlight.
- If you do have a garden, talk to your parents or guardians about creating a flowerbed packed with indigenous (local) plants and leaving it a little bit wild to help local wildlife.
- If you don’t have a garden but you do have a balcony, you could grow flowers in tubs for pollinating insects like bees and hoverflies to feed on.
- When you are out and about, always put your rubbish in the bin or take it home to recycle.
Making green choices at school
- Try to buy recycled paper to write or print on.
- Only print the things that you really need to, to save paper, ink and energy.
- Use both sides of the paper when you are writing or drawing and don’t forget to recycle it when you no longer need it.
- Use a reusable bottle for water rather than a disposable one.
- Find out if there is an eco-club at your school that you could join. If there isn’t one, perhaps ask if you might be able to start one.
- Talk to your teacher about entering Global Canvas, our annual art competition for groups of children aged 16 and under. We love to see recycled materials being used in your entries.
- Before buying something new, think about whether you really need it. We are all buying too much ‘stuff’ that we don’t need. Using so many resources is having an enormous impact on the planet.
- Avoid plastic bags where you can, always carry a reusable one of your own when you go shopping. Plastic bags can cause big problems if they get out into the environment. Once in the sea they can be mistaken for food by marine creatures such as turtles or whales, plastic bags in the water look a lot like jellyfish.
Putting the planet first when it comes to birthdays
- Say no to balloons! They’re not good for the environment as they take years to break down, and if they fly away or are let go in balloon releases, they can easily get into rivers and the sea and cause big problems for wildlife.
- If you are giving a present to a friend or relative think about how you are going to wrap it, paper with shiny or glittery bits can’t be recycled. Instead maybe try wrapping your present in newspaper or even brown paper that you could print patterns onto to make it extra special. Think about making your own cards and labels, they’re more environmentally friendly and they mean so much to the person you are giving them to!
Think about the five R’s to help you live as green a life as possible
Rather than throwing something away once you have finished with it, can it be recycled? You can also donate things you no longer need (but are in good condition) to friends, relatives or charity.
Choose things that can be used more than once, for example, material shopping bags, metal straws and water bottles.
Buy less – only buy the things you really need and choose things with less packaging.
Say no to straws, plastic bags and plastic bottles, things that can only be used once then need to be thrown away.
If something has torn or broken, can it be repaired? It could be a good opportunity to learn a new life skill, like sewing on a button or darning a sock. If you can’t fix it yourself, check whether there is a repair café where you live, sometimes the volunteers there will fix things for free or for a small donation.
Whether you are an adult or a child, every person has the power to make a difference…