Five ways to cut your family’s carbon footprint

Going green need not mean big sacrifices. Even small changes can make an impact. Here's how.

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A busy family life can leave you with little time to worry about doing your bit for the environment, so here are five simple ways to help save the planet:

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1. Go green in the playroom

Make sure those toys that inevitably end up in your child’s mouth are made of natural products rather than plastic. Look out for items made from wood, cotton, hemp and wool.

Try to cut down on the amount of new toys you buy by rotating the ones you already own. Put toys and games away in a cupboard for a month – you’ll be amazed how attractive they suddenly become once again when they reappear.

Get together with some mummy pals and set up a toy swap. Swapping a bagful of toys every week or so will keep the little ones entertained with fresh playthings and save you money at the same time.

2. Clean without chemicals

Some cleaning products containing chemicals and perfumes can actually be more harmful  than the germs and dirt they are designed to get rid of.

The author of A Slice of Organic Life (£16.99, Dorling Kindersley), Sheherazade Goldsmith suggests making your own cleaning products. For example, put vinegar in a squirt dispenser and use it to cut through grease and dirt on tiles and keep down mould growth, or try using coarse sea salt to clean the toilet bowl.

3. Buy locally

Cut down on food air miles by avoiding meat and vegetables that have been flown into the country from abroad. Instead, look for seasonal food that has been produced in the UK.

Look out for farmers’ markets, box schemes and farm shops in your area for true local produce.

4. Make your own food

Try to cut down on the amount of pre-prepared food you buy. It’s a healthier and a cheaper option as well as being more eco-friendly by cutting down on transport and packaging costs. Cook up your own food in bulk and freeze for days when you are too busy to cook from scratch.

5. Grow windowsill salad

It is so simple to grow your own salad leaves, it will save you pounds on buying herbs and salad from the supermarket, and if you get the kids involved they will learn the basics of plant biology too! All you need is a plastic tray, potting compost and a packet of seeds.

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Click here to buy A Slice of Organic Life by Sheherazade Goldsmith, £16.99 Dorling Kindersley.

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