Posted by SchoolDays Newshound, on 22/08/2016. Tags: Parenting
As Irish children get ready to return to school this September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling on families and schools to encourage simple sustainable habits in the back-to-school period that support our environment in the long term.
To help, families can find friendly advice, awareness and education on sustainability at home, at school and in the community at the EPA’s web resource, www.livegreen.ie.
The site also contains consumer-friendly information about waste prevention, water conservation, energy efficiency and health and community projects, as well as tips and ideas on how families can make small and common sense steps towards becoming more environmentally conscious in the home.
Speaking about the importance of ‘living green’ during the back-to-school period, EPA’s Odile Le Bolloch said: "Back-to-school time can often end up being a shopping rush. But, this year, we’re asking families to get the new term off to a good start by integrating sustainability into their everyday routine and creating positive habits that last a lifetime.
‘Instilling an awareness of the importance of sustainability in young children in particular is essential in helping them develop good habits for the future. Simple, positive changes to how we approach the new school term can have small but effective postive changes on our environment, our family’s health and ultimately our wallets."The EPA has the following top tips for helping families become more sustainable ahead of the new school term:School supplies Before hitting the shops, check around the house for school supplies from last year that are in good condition. Look out for binders, plastic folders, loose paper, markers, pencils and scissors that are still useable.
If you still need supplies like pencils, rulers, copy books and folders, choose ones that are made from sustainable resources and can be recycled.
Remind your children to replace lids on markers and art supplies like poster paints and glue, so that they don’t dry out and become unusable.
Talk to your children about the importance of saving paper by using both sides of their notebook or copy book.
Use compartment lunchboxes instead of foil, film or paper bags.
Around the house
Encourage your children to be energy aware by getting them to turn off the lights in the bathroom or any unoccupied room at home, as well as at school.
By simply reminding them to close the door, you also teach them not to let heat escape.
To help the kids become more conscious of saving water, teach them to turn off the tap when brushing their teeth.
Actively encourage children to help with the disposal of waste in the home, so that they learn how and what they can recycle or compost.
To cut down on food waste, get them involved in making their own lunches. They’re more likely to eat a lunch that they’ve been involved in making.
If your children avail of a school milk programme, remind them to finish up their milk, place the empty carton back in their lunchbox and then bring it home for recycling.
With children now alternating from uniform to tracksuit a couple of times a week, consider a quick sponge down to remove stains rather than washing every time.
Travelling to school
If you live within walking distance of the school, avoid the temptation to travel by car. Use bikes or scooters instead to ensure a healthy and fun start to the morning.
If you live a little further away, try to organise a carpool with other parents. Take it in turns to drop off and pick up the kids. You’ll save time, energy and fuel.
In the community
Encourage your children to enjoy and become aware of their natural environment and to treat it with respect.
Help them to become litter conscious by drawing attention to littered areas and encouraging them to pick up litter where appropriate.
For more information, tips and ideas about making simple steps to support our environment from the EPA log onto www.livegreen.ie and www.irelandsenvironment.ie.