I must confess I was not someone who cared about our environment. When I was young, stuff like recycling or reusing was virtually rather unheard of. When I started my own family, although we were on one income, we had no problems paying our utility bills. However, as I am now a mom of 3 and am taking care of the household expenses, I begin to look at ways to do things efficiently so as to keep our utility bills at a manageable level. In the process of teaching my children to give thanks for the world that God had made, I am reminded that we need to be good stewards of our resources. As we recycle and reuse, we cut down the wastage, thereby making better use of what we have and freeing up what we do not need for others. Collectively, we can make a significant difference to the life of our earth.
Below are some learning points I share with the children. I hope you find them helpful too. Please feel free to share yours with me – more brains, more juice, more ideas 🙂
#1 Family Time
With electrical bills going up, I try to get the children or the family to spend time together in one room so that we will have only 1 set of lights and 1 fan on, at least for that period of time. We may read, play board games, play together or watch a good TV program or DVD etc.
#2 Keep Cool
On super hot days, I encourage the children to wear sleeveless tops or singlets, do more activities in their seats and drink lots of water.
#3 Organise the Plugs
We have MANY plugs in our home, especially behind the TV. As a standby equipment will consume electricity, I decided to reorganise the plugs a little. I put the TV and SCV plugs on the same adaptor and my DVD and amplifier plugs on another adaptor. That way, if I do not need to use the DVD or amplifier, they will not be put into a standby mode unnecessarily.
#4 Bath Time
We put water into a pail before we shower. I try to make sure I have enough warm water for all the 3 children as they bathe one after another. I teach the children to use only the amount of water they need to wet or rinse themselves and when pouring the water, to do it slowly to avoid too much splashing, hence wasting water, and also to focus on the parts of the body that may still be soapy.
#5 Precious Water
We save the water from hand washing and bathing for the flushing and washing of the toilets. I learn this from a friend who does the same as where she stays, the tax on their utilities are very high. I find this saves me from much heartache as the younger children may not know when they need to turn off the taps.
#6 Bagging the Trash
On days when I know I may not cook or I will use ingredients with little to throw away or we won’t be home for most parts of the day, I will try to choose the size of the plastic bag according to my needs so that it will be filled up when it is to be thrown away.
#7 Reuse Bags
Whenever the item I buy comes in a plastic bag (eg. rice, bread, fruits, vegetables etc), I will try to use it for trash and not just throw them away. That way I will still throw away that bag along with my thrash thus saving other plastic bags for other uses.
#8 Raw Vitamins
We enjoy meals with fresh raw salads with little or no dressing. I realise with no cooking, preparation is quick, nutritional level is high, much physical energy is saved and likewise our utility bills.
#9 One-Bowl Meal
As a family, we each have a bowl where we will eat from. We take our seconds from the pots on the stove. Less dishes to wash means less water used and therefore, less energy and time taken up to clean/clear up after each meal. The children are very cooperative coz they don’t enjoy doing the dishes or cleaning up very much. Of course there are occasions, such as Christmas, where we set the table more elaborately.
#10 Stop the Flow
I teach the children to stopper the side sink and fill it with water sufficient for them to rinse the dishes. All food or oil must be removed from the dishes and cutlery before soaping them so that the sink of water is kept relatively clean for a while. If the water is not too dirty, it can be used to rinse the table cloth or a dirty sink or to fill a pot/tray/jar so that the tougher stains can be washed off easily.