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April 7th, 2010

The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents

Posted by: Sarah

I know I’m not the first to point out the massive onslaught of “green” tips, ideas and practices thrown at us during the past few years. In fact, I find it almost impossible to keep up with it all, not to mention actually REMEMBERING all (or any!) of it. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some sort of reference book when it comes to parenting the eco-friendly way?

Tadaaah! I found that exact book! Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents was exactly what I was looking for, and it may just be the perfect reference for you too.

Created by National Geographic and the trusted editors of The Green Guide, this book for parents of young children gives you all you need to know to make environmentally sound decisions about food, health, clothing, home decor, toys, toiletries, travel, play activities, and more. Plus, this book is the only one written with the whole child in mind, covering not only how to protect your child from toxic chemicals but also how to protect the Earth for future generations, including a topic range from healthy eating choices to eco-friendly holiday parties.

I personally love the “Do This, Don’t Do That” format the book uses to help make the transition to a greener family much easier. Here are some eco-friendly parent tips that I found super helpful.

  1. Do invest in Pyrex bowls. Don’t use the plastic containers to reheat food. They can go from fridge to freezer to microwave to table — practical and attractive, and you don’t have to worry about microwaving in plastic, or choosing the right kind of plastic. Plus, they last for years so you are not generating waste.
  2. When buying organic: Do choose organic soft-skinned fruits and vegetables because these are the kinds that tend to absorb pesticides into the skin. A list of the top fruits and vegetables to buy organic can be found in the book. Don’t spend money on organic potato chips or cookie bars. (You are paying for packaging that ends up in the garbage).
  3. When fast food is the only option for your child’s dinner, do replace those high-fat and sugar foods with fresh fruit and milk. Don’t order the fries or soda.
  4. Sunscreen for babies: Do dress your children and babies in “rashguards” or other sun-protective clothing. Don’t lather their entire bodies with sunscreen. These should have a UPF rating (similar to the SPF rating of sunscreens). Sun-protective clothing also protects fish and aquatic life from exposure to chemicals. For older children, choose a sunscreen with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide — the white ones. These block both UVA and UVB rays and don’t contain potentially harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone.
  5. Do dispose of the disposable lifestyle. Don’t buy bottled water (Yay, Brita!!), paper napkins, disposable plastic picnic ware, paper towels, or dryer sheets. Do buy the largest size you can of consumable goods like shampoo, laundry detergent, etc. (Reusable water bottles are a great investment — they’ll save you a lot of money over time. Just be sure to put your child’s name on it in case it gets lost.)
  6. When buying toys for your kids, do buy solid-wood blocks, cloth dolls, puppets and Legos (even though they are plastic, Legos are widely consider to be okay because they last for years). Don’t buy lots of cheap toys for your kids.

To learn more, you can buy the book at most book retailers or click here.

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