Older News  » It's easy being green

Last updated 10:56 AM on 15 September 2011

Reducing your family's carbon footprint at home and school is easy and can save you money at the same time.

Low-waste lunches

Try doing a lunch box audit with your kids to see how much packaging you use such as plastic wrap, plastic throw-away spoons, straws and plastic bags, along with pre-packaged foods. Lunch boxes with their special compartments for sandwiches, fruit, nuts and snacks are the best way to reduce additional wrapping or packaging of individual items.

Chilled or frozen juice or water keeps lunch cool and fresh. Reusable drink containers reduce packaging waste even further.

Digital stuff

The kids' music players, mobile phones and laptops all burn energy, adding to your household's carbon footprint. Simply by recharging the family's digital gadgets at night means your electricity bill will be less and it can reduce peak load on power stations.

Many of the smart ideas kids are learning at school about being energy efficient can be applied at home, too. Ask your child to switch appliances off at the wall, look for high energy star ratings on appliances when you buy new ones, take shorter showers and use natural light during the day. You can investigate how much energy you use with the kids through the NSW Sustainable Schools electricity calculator and come up with even more energy-saving solutions.

Getting to and from school

Safe walking or cycling or active travel (any journey which relies more on walking or cycling and less on the car) are great ways to reduce the family's carbon footprint. You can plan the route to school for your child with neighbours, friends and their parents to share the supervision.

When driving the kids to school, planning journeys to combine trips to work, the shops or appointments also saves on fuel. Try parking a short distance from the school to reduce congestion in school zones at peak times and give you all a few minutes of extra exercise.