Zero Waste for Children
An old Native American Proverb says, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” It is with these guiding words that we work towards zero waste to preserve earth for the future and the children of the community. While CVSan has great school programs, you may be wondering what happens to zero waste outside of school? Turns out – a lot! Read on for more age-specific helpful tips and resources to help with the path to zero waste for children.
It is possible to incorporate a newborn into a zero waste lifestyle! There are many zero waste options when you have a baby, you can either try one thing at a time or plan ahead and go zero! The Treehugger website has great tips to get you to zero with baby.
Cloth diapers are the way to go if you want to practice zero waste. Many cloth diapers have a reusable outer shell and a washable liner. You can even search for secondhand cloth diapers! There are many options online and even services that will pick up and wash your diapers (for a fee).
Instead of using disposable wipes, use washcloths! Use warm water and soap, and don’t forget to pack one when you are on the go and throw it in the laundry when you get home!
Making baby food is easier than you may think! Steam vegetables in large batches, blend or mash, and freeze in an ice cube tray so you only need to re-heat a portion small enough for your little one! Making your own baby food avoids waste from non-recyclable pouches and single-serving jars, saves money, and helps you control portion size. And for all the different mixed materials pouches that baby (and older kid) food comes in that you cannot recycle or compost at home, check out Terracycle for special recycling programs.
Toddlers through Pre-Teens
As many students learn, the Lorax says “Unless someone like you cares a whole lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” With that, toddlers through pre-teens can start to learn about waste reduction and do something about zero waste for a better future. For example, most elementary schools in Castro Valley have school gardens that students (and families) love to help with and learn about. If you’re interested in gardening with children, please check out our Bay-Friendly Landscaping page first so you garden with the planet in mind.
Check out Bay Area Zero Waste Expert Bea Johnson’s blog on Zero Waste Kids for ideas about zero waste parties, grocery shopping, entertainment, and school.
One way to part with children’s items you no longer need is to host reuse swap events. Craigslist, Freecycle, and NextDoor are also great resources to use. When thinking about new clothing and shoes, please check out our Clothing Reuse page first.
To get children more interested in zero waste, please check out the many books and movie resources CVSan donated to the Castro Valley Library. To get the whole family, including your children, inspired to do more about zero waste, please check out our annual Zero Waste Week.
You may be thinking that teens are a tough group to reach with waste reduction but many teens are motivated to help protect the earth for the future. We’ve had youth groups and classes participate in our gleaning events to help reduce wasted food and to give back to those in need.
Teens that are great at repairing things, can visit or help out as a coach (as many already have!) at our repair workshops. Attendees learn how to fix their nonworking items, and often are successful with the help of a coach.
For shopping ideas that reduce waste, thrifting and clothing reuse can be a lot of fun for teens that want to create their own unique style and help the planet by reducing waste and the use of new materials. Teens also exercise their entrepreneurial skill by selling their new or gently worn clothes online through apps.
Do you have teens looking for volunteer opportunities? Check out our Green Hearts volunteer program.
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