Inspired by The Zero Waste Home (http://www.thezerowastehome.com), who you may have seen on tv recently, and even by my friend Eric who had only two -- yes, TWO -- bags of household garbage in six months -- I plan to reuse, reduce, and recycle more than ever starting this year.
I think many of us take for granted that just throwing things in the trash is no big deal. But as someone who grew up in Staten Island, NY, mere miles from the world's largest landfill, I look at just about everything I toss in the garbage and think about how long it's going to just sit and rot in the ground. While I may not go to the extremes of the families I mentioned (and to be honest, I was not willing to go the cloth diaper route with my kids), but I do try to take small steps to help our environment, even if it's shopping at thrift stores or yard sales, saying "I don't need a bag" when I make a purchase I can just toss into my purse or carry out to my car, or just bringing my reusable shopping bags to the supermarket. (It's also a nice reward to get a few cents back when you bring your own bags, even at Target!)
For those of you who forget your reusable shopping bags in the car, check out ConservingNow (http://www.conservingnow.com), where they offer free window clings for your car. These are gentle reminders for you to bring your bags into the store.
One easy thing that I do is to just skip using plastic sandwich bags or plastic or foil wrap when packing my kids' lunches or putting leftovers in the fridge. I use reusable containers, such as the Rubbermaid Servin' Saver (http://www.rubbermaid.com) set I got 10 years ago as a bridal shower gift, or food-safe bags from RuMe (http://www.rumebags.com) or Mixed Bag Designs (http://www.mixedbagdesigns.com), as often as possible. That said, I was very happy to learn about the new line of products from Wean Green (http://www.weangreen.com) a Canadian company that manufactures reusable glass food storage containers for babies and kids.
Each product in the Wean Green line is made of nearly indestructable tempered glass, which is a much safer and fresher way to store food. This product is BPA-, PVC-, and Pthaltate-free. The lids are extremely easy to snap on and off, which is great for someone like me who often has a hard time opening lids or jars that are closed tight. These are microwave safe (without the lid), dishwasher safe, and freezer safe, as well as leak-proof, which is great when you're storing homemade baby food or some leftover soup or apple sauce!
These storage containers are offered in five different sizes, with four bright and fun colors to choose from. Prices start around $10.99 for two of the smallest Snack Cube size. And true to their mission, Wean Green uses 100% recyclable materials for their product packaging, and the company donates a portion of their profits to environmental organizations. I think that's something all parents can support.
Jennifer Niederhoffer is the founder of Impress Media, an independent lifestyle & entertainment public relations and editorial services firm. You can follow her on twitter @impressmedia.