I, like most moms out there, am becoming increasingly concerned about the environment and my family's impact upon it. It seems like everything out there comes in multiple packaged layers. Cookies are no longer just in the bag, they have to be in a plastic tray covered with another layer of plastic film. We can buy snack foods individually packaged for our so-called convenience (which are more expensive than their bulk version). Even some breads come covered in a plastic film and then a bag.
AND I am ashamed to admit that at first I was pretty much forced into recycling by the increasing laws and requirements of my community. If you're around my age, perhaps you can relate to when "recycling" first started to really be promoted. You know, back in the days when recycling was voluntary. 'What's the big deal?' my youthful self thought? The old phrase "with maturity comes wisdom" springs to mind and I lament the fact that it is all too true. I'm sad to say that my young and hip self couldn't be bothered to recycle because I lived in an apartment building and no one required us to separate our garbage.
It's only gradually over the years that I've began to put more and more effort into recycling and again, I have to admit that it was really because I was being forced to. If I didn't want my gargabe dumped on my lawn and a $250.00 fine, I better make sure I don't have any recycables in it. Being forced to recycle actually forced me to become more aware and to somewhat quote Martha Stewart "That's a good thing."
Now, I am proud of how much I am able recycle and by how much we've reduced our garbage output. I've realized that it's not just about recycling but it's also about reducing our consumables. My husband has finally convinced me to buy the large tub of yoghurt instead of the individual serving cups, even though it's more convenient to simply hand out to my kids one cup at a time. I always figured the extra expense was worth the convenience but being on a restricted budget really gave me some perspective.
So it was with some good intentions that I researched my lunch options for my children prior to the start of this school year. I researched lunch systems, bento boxes, laptop lunches, enviro friendly lunch bags... you name it. Know what I discovered? They're all damn expensive.
Sure I know I'm supposedly going to save big bucks by making this one time investment but how can I really justify spending $40 or $50 on a lunch system PER KID? I see a ton of great ideas out there by mompreneurs for re-usable snack sacks, cloth napkins etc. How can a budget tight mom afford this stuff? It's a lot easier to fork out $2.00 for 50 plastic baggies now and then than to try and justify to my husband why we should spend $7.00 (plus shipping) for ONE cloth snack bag. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great idea. I just wish I could afford it. It seems that being Green really is more for those hip and trendy people with disposable cash.
So what did I do? I ended up buying the standard kid's licensed lunch kits instead and managed to find something similar to bento boxes at Wal-mart for $7.00 a set. I bought the girls rubber maid watter bottles (they look like juice boxes), labelled everything and we were good to go.
Or so I thought. What ended up happening is three months of ... "Where's the lid to your sandwich case?", "Did you bring your water bottle home?", "Why not?". "Where's your spoon?". I went from having 4 water bottles to two.
My oldest child, I've given up on packing her lunch in the containers and have reverted to wrapping it loosely in a cloth snack wrap I bought years ago. For some reason, that makes it home almost every time. If it wasn't for a no juice policy at her school, I'd toss juice boxes into her lunch instead. Her water bottle has been at school for a week now. She's reassured me yes she's washing it out at school and putting fresh water into it. Um yeah. I really believe that she's not drinking stale water. Fortunately, our tap water here is alright.
So while I may have the best of intentions of trying to be more green, my kids really are doing their best to discourage me and I have to say .. they're doing a pretty darn good job.
How are you making going green successful at your house?