Food & Drink Lifestyle

Eco-friendly parenting 101 (4 ways to love the Earth)

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Think being kind to the environment is impossible as a dad? Let us change your mind with these simple tips…

It’s a tricky question to answer, “What can I do for the environment? I’m just one person.” But, in all honesty, it’s a lot easier than you probably think.

You don’t need to scrap your car and go electric, adorn your roof with solar panels or go completely vegan. Small changes at home make a big difference to the environment around you.

Take a look at our four tips on how to show Planet Earth some love.

1. A straw-less summer

We’ve all seen the videos of turtles with straws stuck in their nostrils – the images that turned stomachs and changed minds about single-use plastic straws. There are alternatives you can use though, ones that surprisingly don’t include paper straws.

Two options currently increasing in popularity are bamboo straws and collapsible steel straws. Bamboo straws are reusable and biodegradable, unlike paper straws. Most packs like these from Turtle Straws come in packs of 50, giving you plenty of use. And because collapsible steel straws are handy if you’re on the go a lot, as families often are, they come with their own case. Although they aren’t biodegradable, they are durable.

*This isn’t suitable for everyone. If a plastic straw is easier for you or your child due to a disability or health reasons, keep doing what works for your family.

2. Bike yourself better

Using the family car to drive to work, to go on long journeys or to do a big shop in makes perfect sense. But when you’re out and about locally or just popping to the shop for milk, give cycling a go.

This is not only great, healthy fun for the whole family but you’re also doing yourself and the planet good by cutting back your CO2 emissions!

You can find lists of cycle routes near you through the National Trust.

3. Cling no more

One of the big problems in our oceans are single-use plastics making their way into environments where they have no reason to be. Because thin plastics like cling film and packaging are everywhere – they are top culprits in fact – it’s tricky to find replacements.

But to keep your food fresh, you don’t want your fridge and cupboards impractically filled to the brim with Tupperware. We have two alternatives for you:

For wrapping sandwiches and leftovers, beeswax wraps are a great addition to your kitchen supplies. Here you can find wraps from the Beeswax Wraps Company who offer different patterns and vegan options.

And if you want to learn more about keeping your fruit and veg fresher for longer, take a look at our helpful guide.

4. Meat-free Mondays…or week

Hear me out. We know now that meat farming produces considerable amounts of methane gas which depletes the ozone.

Taking even one day a week away from meat in your meals not only encourages you to try something different (not an excuse to make Mondays a pizza day), but can really help boost your intake of veggies and healthy fats.

Head to Meat Free Mondays (launched by none other than Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney a decade ago) and for advice, recipes and news on taking a meat break.