Going green without the mean
You don't have to overhaul your life to spend a fortune to grow your family up green. Here are five simple things to try.

#1 Grow your own veggies

Try not to think of growing a veggie patch as something extra to do; treat it as an adventure for your child.

“Growing our own veggies has been such fun for me and my daughter,” says Joburg mom Victoria de la Cour. “It’s an activity for us to do together, the stuff we grow is good for us and the environment, my daughter is more likely to eat what we give her because of the adventure of picking it, and we put all our scraps back on the compost heap.

Even if you don’t have a garden, you can grow an incredible assortment of fresh produce in window boxes.

#2 Recycle

There is no better way to go green than recycling. Aside from the massive benefi­ts in reducing landfill, it also teaches you about the mass of unnecessary rubbish a household generates every day.

To start, simply purchase two extra extra bins – so you now have one for true trash, one for recyclable plastic, tin and glass and one for paper. Then, depending on where you live, you can either throw it out as separate trash or take it to your local recycling depot. Find out more at www.treevolution.co.za/guide-to-recycling-in-sa.

#3 Say no to plastics

Whenever possible, make the choice to buy quality wooden toys over cheap, environmentally harmful plastics. Of course, that’s not to say all wooden toys are environmentally friendly, so do a little research into which brand names to go for.

“People want to know how to prove that their purchase is environmentally friendly,” says Desseray Beeton, the marketing director of Wood be Fun, which imports Boikido, an environmentally friendly range of wooden toys, to South Africa. “They should look out for the FSC stamp, which means that the wood comes from responsibly managed plantations. Everything from the ink to the packaging should be eco-friendly as well,” she says.

#4 Throw a green birthday party

Lauren Shapiro, writer of blogs.parent24.com/veggietots, threw her two-year-old a green birthday party this year. Here is what she did: “I went paperless with electronic invitations and the thank you notes. All the crockery was hard plastics – not disposables. We held the party at an outdoor venue with a nature scavenger hunt and the brown paper goodie bags we used were ­ filled with dried fruit to take home and bread so that the kids could feed the ducks at the venue. They had a blast.”

#5 Don’t get in hot water

Your electrical geyser accounts for between 30 and 50 percent of your monthly electricity bill and is responsible for a signi­ficant carbon footprint. Converting to solar is expensive, but you can easily install a geyser timer so that you only heat water when you need it, and a geyser blanket to keep the water hot for longer.

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