November 15 is America Recycles Day, America!

America Recycles DayThis year I’m posting early!  November 15 is America Recycles Day and what a great opportunity to make some dramatic, but not difficult, changes in our daily lives.  This is a day that “encourages more people to join the movement toward creating a better natural environment by recycling and buying recycled products” and “promotes the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling.”

Last year I used this opportunity to hold a project at our daughter’s school that centered around America Recycles Day and this year will be no different.  I’m encouraging all students to submit their best recycling tips or their favorite way to recycle and will then compile all of their great ideas and turn them into a recycling newsletter that will be sent home to each family.  I never doubt that the greatest way to learn is from each other.  I’ve even added a footnote on each flier reminding families that the paper is recyclable!

I’ve also added a little incentive and will randomly select a bunch of entries to win some really cool “eco-friendly” prizes, like recycled drink pouch pencil cases from Terracycle, BPA-free water bottles, recycled note pads and pencils made from recycled kids recyclnewspapers.

This is a great opportunity to remind kids (and all of us) why recycling is so important:

  • To reduce pollution
  • To save energy
  • To help the environment
  • To save natural resources
  • To keep trash out of landfills and prevent contamination

If you have kids in school, there is still time!  Talk to your principal and ask if you can do a project too.  All it takes is a little time… and really, isn’t a little bit of time worth the impact that you can make to help set kids and their families on the road to Recycle-ville?!?  (If you email me, I’ll even send you the flier!)

November 15 is America Recycles Day but the most important thing to remember is that we should make EVERY DAY a RECYCLE DAY!

Hey, Room Mom!… Green your children’s classroom party.

class prtyMy list of duties just got longer…  drumroll, please… I am now the Head Room Mom (read:  “Lead Party Queen”!) for our daughter’s 2nd grade class!  She is absolutely thrilled and while I’m excited too, I’m also simultaneously worried.

I know what parties essentially “mean”….  things like lots of trash, waste and “un-environmental” activities.  It’s fairly easy to control what goes on for a party in your own home but this is another situation entirely, yet I believe there are still plenty of things I can keep in check.

  1. Ask volunteering parents to send in bulk foods instead of individually wrapped items. One big box of Goldfish and a big bowl from home is far better than 25 individual packages!
  2. Same goes for drinks… large containers and cups over a bunch of individual boxes or bottles, then recycle the container and compost the cups.party pak
  3. Opt for supplies using materials that are less harmful:  Paper over plastic, please!  Paper plates, cups and napkins can be composted, but reusable products are even better.  I love the Party Pak from Kids Konserve.  Invest in this supply of party wares (plates, cups and utensils) and wash and reuse them for every party.  (Get 15% off, now through October 31, by entering: momgreen at checkout!)
  4. Skip plastic tableclothes.  Bring a fabric tablecloth from home and opt for laundering over plastic in the trash.  And borrow decorations from home and take them back afterward… simple as that!
  5. Make your arts and activities eco-friendly.  Consider decorating little totes or lunch bags so they have some usefulness after the party ends.
  6. Play games with supplies from home.  Or consider supplies that can be recycled, like a game of bingo.  You can print cards at dltk-cards and use edible “markers” (like M&Ms!) and recycle the cards afterward.
  7. Pass out goodies in paper bags instead of cellophane treat bags, and give extra thought to what goes inside.  Mounds of plastic will eventually wind up in the trash.
  8. Recycle and compost everything you can!

Sure, these little ideas won’t change the world but they will certainly help make sure that all of those “little partying feet” create a smaller footprint than would have been created otherwise!

Are your kids being forced to be wasteful at school?

Yesterday was only the second day for our daughter being back at school after what felt like an all-too-short summer and, after once again taking the position of Recycling & Environmental Programs Chairperson at her school, I’ve already found myself with Mission #1 for the year… yea, in all of TWO DAYS!cafe-tray

It seems that our children are actually being forced to be wasteful in the lunchroom and my head is just spinning.  The situation was brought to light by a close friend who volunteered to help new students become accustom to the cafeteria line process and when her story began with an “oh, let me tell you about THIS!” I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

The problem?  All students purchasing a lunch are forced to take all items on the lunch menu, even if they don’t want them!  My friend told me I probably would have choked at how many unopened single-serve applesauce containers met the trash can.  My heart just sank.  Not only is this horribly wasteful, but can you imagine how many food pantries could benefit from all of the unused foods that are thrown away daily?!?

I can’t imagine what policy is in place that literally makes this waste a “rule”, but I certainly intend to find out!  Maybe it’s so the school can say that, while they can’t control what the children eat, it was at least given to them… but if this is the case, it’s a lousy standard.

cafet-lineMy hope is to find a place that would accept these unopened foods and allow them to benefit.  With so many regulations, it may be hard to do.  And then I will need to get the school on board, so that will likely be another huge administrative hurdle, but this one ladies and gents, Mom Goes Green is taking on!!! I never knew about this before, since our daughter is a daily waste-free lunch girl(!), but now I NEED to try to make something happen.  It WILL be my first mission.

If you have a similar story to share and ideas of how to resolve this dilemma, please let me know… I would love to hear it!  And if this story sounds similar to a situation in your own child’s school, consider joining me and see what you can do to make a positive change!

Less waste means less trash, and food for those who need it… in that situation everyone wins!

Earn a “green” star for back to school!

Am I obsessed and saddened that the summer is ending?  Yes, (obviously) because I am mentioning it constantly.  Is the end of summer inevitable?schoolbus Well, yes it is!

So, as we prepare for sending our children back to school it’s easy to become a little “spend happy” since every corner we turn seems to remind us to buy, buy, BUY!  Don’t fall victim to feeling like you have to go overboard.

This year, when we received our daughter’s supply list, the first thing I did was check what we already had.  I was surprised to find that we already had over half of the list… notebooks, pencils, glue, scissors, erasers, ruler, CHECK!  I actually kept a box of what was left over from last year, and I assure you, that bottle of Elmer’s glue that was still 2/3 full is perfect to get her started.  If you do need to buy, buy recycled:  pencils, paper, and even backpacks of recycled materials exist if you just look.

I’m happy to say that we also have a green lunchtime covered.  By using her waste-free lunch kit, I can rest easy that our daughter creates almost zero trash. Lunchboxes and reusable containers are both earth-friendly and economical because all of the single-serving foods are expensive in comparison.  (Still looking for a waste-free lunch kit?  There are still a few days to win one in my giveaway!)

The hardest part of preparing for school is outfitting your kids with a new wardrobe.  Little ones grow so quickly, but the older they get the slower star-greenthey grow.  Before you charge out to charge a new wardrobe, find out what still fits.  Don’t replace clothing before it’s been outgrown.  If it has, you can still be green by putting “reuse” into action.  Gather up the unneeded clothes, shoes, jackets and coats and donate them to an organization so those less fortunate have the opportunity to use them.  Even consignment shops or swaps with friends are an option and simply give more life to items that haven’t worn out their usefulness.

Whether you get teary-eyed at the idea of sending your kids back to school, or the first day couldn’t come soon enough (I will be a teary-eyed one!) be sure to earn a green star for your efforts before they go!

A GIVEAWAY for Waste-Free, Guilt-Free Lunches!

(This giveaway is now closed for entries.  See “comments” for winner…)

As summer seems to be dwindling away, it’s time to put vacations and free time into the memory books.  Sad as it may be, it’s time to get back to business and and start thinking schooltime for the kids.  (Boo, hiss… this means Mom Goes Green will need to get back to plenty of “homework assistance” too!)

kids-konserve-22

One thing I don’t need to brush-up on, however, is how to send our daughter to school and keep her as waste-free as possible.  I’ve talked about all the best ways to keep 67 pounds of trash out of landfills when I send her off with lunch… ideas like a lunchbox, reusable bottles, thermoses and silverware, cloth napkins and plenty of reusable containers.

She is already equipped and ready to go with her “Waste-Free Lunch Kit” from Kids Konserve.  It includes a recycled cotton lunch bag, a stainless steel bottle, two stainless steel food containers, a food cozy (for wrapping foods) and a cloth napkin!

… and it just so happens, I have one to share! Are you interested?  To enter this contest, just leave a comment and tell me who you’d love to win this kit for… (maybe even yourself)! You can also send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog or write about this giveaway and link back.

A random winner will be selected one week from today’s post (US residents only, please… sorry!… and as a side note, the kit is exactly like the one pictured in the photo, so it does include lots of pink butterflies!).

So don’t sweat the “litter” stuff, just enter to win! Good luck!