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Moms Council: What Green Activities Does Your Family Participate In?

Check out our latest "Moms Talk Q&A" column for advice offered by the Stoneham Patch Moms Council on ways to cut costs and save the environment through "green" practices.

Going green. What are you doing to teach your family about green living and protecting the environment?

From Melisa Thorne:

Have you ever noticed how much trash a family accumulates in one week? A few years ago, on our weekly trash day when my husband was hauling the trash to the curb, I was a little shocked to see that we had five big barrels full of trash. So the following week I paid better attention to things I was throwing out.

Plastic water bottles and paper cups from popular coffee places were prevalent in my trash. This got me to think more about the resources that I use and got me to embrace a 'greener' lifestyle.

I no longer buy bottled water. I drink filtered tap water and drink from a reusable container. And as hard as it was to give up coffee from , I now brew my own and use a thermos. On the occasion that I do buy coffee out, I bring my own themos and have them fill that in order to not use paper products. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I also got discount on my coffee this way.

These were two simple steps I made a few years ago towards going green. Now that I have a family I'm teaching them about recycling and conserving energy.

I am the queen of recycling and reusing items for later use now. Before I throw anything away, I think about if it can be used for something else or if it can be recycled.

For example, I save the snack-sized fruit cups and use them for crafts with the kids. They work great for portioning out paint and starting seedlings. And I still have baby food glass jars from when the kids were babies to mix salad dressing.  Whatever I can't use I rinse and put in for recycle.

To take it to another level, we don't run water when brushing our teeth or washing dishes.

We turn off lights and appliances when not in use. We turn down the heat at night and when we're out. And finally, we only watch TV after the sun goes down. Many people don't believe this one, but it's not very hard to do.

Another thing I noticed is that my kids and I like to read and we accumulated a lot of books over the years. When I got to think about the paper used to make books and the money I spent buying them, it dawned on me that I should be taking advantage of my . Going to the library is about the greenest activity you'll find and by doing so, you're supporting your community.

I know I have a long way to go from being totally green, but I feel good about the ways that I'm helping the environment and the money I save in the process.

From Christa Ciccia:

A busy mom’s work is never done. This is even truer now that we’ve become the first generation of environmentally conscious moms. This comes with a huge responsibility and the thought can be overwhelming.

I have instilled some tactics into my family’s everyday lives that help to make going green second nature.

Starting in the morning, we brush our teeth with the faucet shut off. Filling a cup with water and using it to rinse saves water and energy. Next, I keep a recycling bin beside the trash barrel. All breakfast yogurt cups and any plastic ware goes directly into the bin. You wouldn't believe how much we have cut down on trash.

Instead of washing the table with paper towels, I use cleaning cloths that I throw in the washing machine.

When everyone is getting ready to leave for school or work we lower the heat in the house and double-check that all lights are off. Likewise, at night when everyone is ready for bed, we make sure that not only the TV but also the cable box is shut off.

We also have timers on our outside lights and all the light bulbs in the house are energy saving. During the spring season we try our best to grow our own veggies. It doesn’t always pan out, but it’s worth a try.

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