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Today's Family Magazine

MOMMY CHRONICLES: Save the sea turtles, and your sanity

Jul 28, 2019 05:31PM
By Stacy Turner

My daughter smirked, describing the gaggle of preteen girls at our local coffee shop, acting so self-righteous as they ordered their frozen sugary coffee drinks with no straw, “to save the sea turtles.”  She laughed as she relayed the story.  “Don’t they realize the cup and lid are both plastic, too? Or do they think sea turtles only choke on straws?!”

It can be tempting to poke fun or to simply tune out the latest cause, amidst the sea of social issues, getting so overwhelmed that you end up doing nothing.  But instead of making yourself crazy trying to do it all, why not focus on just a few small things that you and your family can do to make a difference.  Because small changes, made over time, can end up making a big difference.

You don’t need to outlaw everything plastic from your home, or jump headfirst into hardcore changes like reusable toilet paper or tissues to make an impact.  Why not try switching to washable cloth napkins at mealtimes?  Chances are, you’ve got a stash you’ve rarely used that could reduce the amount of paper napkins you use, while making your meal seem a bit fancier to boot.

Before you buy something new, look around your house to see if you’ve got something that you can repurpose to meet your need.  That wooden box that used to hold CDs or DVDs could be planted with flowers or herbs to liven up your patio or deck.  Those broken crayons, when melted in old silicone ice cube trays, can be made into new multicolored art supplies in fun new shapes.  Even those egg shells or kitchen scraps can be composted, helping your garden or houseplants to grow.  Old T-shirts can be cut to become reusable floor sweeper refills, dust rags and wipes.  Baking soda, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide can replace caustic and costly cleaning solutions.  How about working with your teen to make reusable face scrubs for cleaning or make-up removal, or whipping up a batch of sugar scrub to use in the shower? Even small changes can add up.

When you leave the house, bring your own reusable water bottles. Not only will you reduce the amount of single-use plastic water or drink bottles your family generates, you’ll end up saving yourself some money by washing and refilling your reusable bottles with your choice of beverages at home.  Bringing fruit and snacks in reusable containers can keep you from being tempted to buy pricey snack foods in plastic packaging while you’re out and about.  Why not forgo the drive-thru and pack your own picnic, with your local park or playground as an ideal location for an impromptu meal or snack? And the playground or park offers activities to keep your kids from climbing the walls at home.  If you’re heading out in your car, try to group errands together instead of making multiple trips in order to conserve gasoline.

Bring your own reusable bags when you shop, or if you’re only getting a few items, forgo a bag altogether.  If you do have plastic bags at home, why not reuse one to pick up any trash or recyclable items you find while you’re out with your kids, and you’ll leave each place you visit a little better than you found it.
I’m sure the sea turtles will appreciate it. You’ll leave a lasting impression on your kids, too.