When you and your spouse decide to start a new family, one of the items discussed is how your legacy can be transferred to the next generation. Sure, you can make certain they have all the needed comforts now and when they leave the nest, and you can teach them the best ways to invest their money for a fruitful future, but more is needed. Hence, the reason why you want to teach your children how to be green consumers. As the economy shifts ever closer to an environmentally-conscious state, the phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle becomes ever more important for the generation that follows you. However, it may not stick with your children if you don’t practice what you preach in the present. To help you along this path, here are some ways you can use the three environmental R’s to become a green consumer and save money.
There are numerous ways to reduce waste in your home that will reduce costs in the process. One of the main things you can do is begin to compost. Whether you subscribe to a service or do it on your own, disposing of grass clippings, tree branches, fruits, vegetables, and even some meats in a special bin decreases the amount you throw into the trash and can potentially save you extra sanitation service fees. If you decide to keep a bin at your home, everything you throw into it will turn into rich and healthy compost to use in next year’s fruit and vegetable gardens.
Which brings up another way to reduce – grow your own food. Many of the items you buy at the supermarket or local farmer’s market can be grown in your own backyard. You don’t even need a large space. By planting by season, you can have a harvest of leafy greens, root vegetables, and numerous fruits during the three warmest seasons. If you want to save more money, forego all of those boxed meals you purchase on a regular basis and substitute them with homemade products. It may cost you some time in the kitchen, but the amount of food you make can be stored in the freezer for future meals, thus reducing what you spend on groceries.
Though disposable plates, cups, and silverware are convenient for your family, they drain your funds on an annual basis and fill up landfills in the process. For the amount you pay for these items you can spend about the same or even less using items that you hand wash or go into the dishwasher. By the way, napkins go into this category as well – why throw needless amounts of these in the trash when the purchase of cloth napkins can save you both time and money in the end.
Clothing falls into the reuse category as well, especially with children. Hand-me-downs have been a staple of families for centuries and it shouldn’t stop with your generation. As long as they’re clean and free of rips, your older sibling’s clothing should be passed down to their younger brother or sister when needed. If the clothes are too damaged to be reused, consider cutting them up and using them as rags or, as some people have done, patches for quilts.
This no longer means taking your glass jars and cans to the recycle bin. In the world of green consumerism, this means reusing what you already have or obtaining an item used by someone else. For example, more and more people are foregoing the purchase of new clothes and heading to places like Clothes Mentor or Plato’s Closet to pick up items at reduced cost. Sometimes they aren’t even paying for what they need. Instead, people head to sites like Craigslist, Swapstyle, and Freecycle to see what others in their area and around the country are recycling for free. While it may sound like you won’t get good products, you may be amazed at what people are willing to recycle for others to use.