“Do This, Don’t Do That”
According to Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents
author Catherine Zandonella, when thinking about how to go green, it is important to remember that protecting the environment and protecting your family's health go hand in hand. Just follow the simple rule, "If it is good for the planet, then it is most likely good for my child." Here are 5 simple tips to get you started.
1. Do invest in Pyrex bowls. Don’t use the plastic containers to reheat food.
They can go from fridge to freezer to microwave to table -- practical and attractive, and you don't have to worry about microwaving in plastic, or choosing the right kind of plastic. They last for years so you are not generating waste. (Plastic margarine tubs make great storage containers for children’s craft items.)
2. When buying organic: Do choose organic soft-skinned fruits and vegetables
because these are the kinds that tend to absorb pesticides into the skin. A list of the top fruits and vegetables to buy organic can be found in the book. Don’t spend money on organic potato chips or cookie bars.
(You are paying for packaging that ends up in the garbage).
3. Sunscreen for babies: Do dress your children and babies in "rashguards" or other sun-protective clothing. Don’t lather their entire bodies with sunscreen.
These should have a UPF rating (similar to the SPF rating of sunscreens). Sun-protective clothing also protects fish and aquatic life from exposure to chemicals. There is a company called Coolibar (www.coolibar.com) that has really cute kids' clothes and bathing suits. For older children, choose a sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide - the white ones.
These block both UVA and UVB rays and don't contain potentially harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone.
4. When hosting a party: Do use reusable plastic plates and cups.
Use your own tableware - or purchase an inexpensive set for parties - instead of buying plastic forks and spoons. You can reuse these for years, saving money as well as being able to cross one more errand off your list prior to party time. At your party: Don’t buy paper goods or plastic utensils. Do use large containers of drinks, milk and water. Don’t serve juice boxes and individual size drinks.
5. To freshen the air inside your home, Do eliminate odors with a box of baking soda or if you crave a scent, make some home-made potpourri.
It is easy to make by saving flower petals from your garden, air-drying them, and combining them with dried orange and lemon peels. Don’t buy air fresheners.
Excerpted from Green Guide Families by Catherine Zandonella and the Editors of the Green Guide. Copyright © 2010 by Catherine Zandonella and the E. Excerpted by permission of National Geographic, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.