How do you reuse?
“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”
This feels like an ideal quote for this week’s #RealResponsibilty – Reuse.
Reusing items on an ongoing basis is something that many families do and kids are great at coming up with ways to make this happen. Whether it is lunch containers or reusable water bottles, it is really about deciding what makes sense to your family and then beginning the habit.
As with so many parenting decisions, we really need to find what is right for each of us. One family may use long-lasting plastic re-usable containers, (Julie still uses one her mum bought when she was a kid;) another family may vow to only use glass and metal containers to cut down on plastic production in the world.
Family meetings are a great way to brainstorm with children about the things that can be reused in your home: some kids love donating old t shirts to the rag pile. Remember to write down all brainstormed suggestions and then take the time to work through the list, finding the ones that actually can work for your family. Cross a few of your suggestions off of the list as well to make it fair.
At Parenting Power, we have a “thing” about plastic water bottles. In our research this month, we discovered that in Canada, 80% of plastic water bottles do not get recycled and end up in our landfill or get shipped to another country for their landfill. Reusable water bottles can really make a big difference.
Another important way to look at reusing is to ask yourself whether there are things that you have in your home that you are not using and could pass on to someone who can. Our trash really could be a treasure in different hands.
Julie distinctly remembers wondering how she and her husband were going to find the money for a crib and change table when she was expecting their first child. One day, her neighbour knocked on the door with the news that they were done with having babies and Julie could have all of their furniture. It was such an incredible gift for both families. The neighbours had the joy of giving and seeing their furniture be loved and used again. Julie’s family treasured that furniture and then passed it on to another family after that.
Tim Elmore, the founder of GrowingLeaders.com says,
“Self esteem comes from knowing who you are intrinsically and using your gifts to contribute to a cause greater than yourself.”
This quote really captures the benefits of reusing. When we take the opportunity to find someone who can truly benefit from something which we no longer need, we are using our gifts to contribute to a cause greater than ourselves. This is an easy lesson to teach our children through our own modelling.
Whether we know an actual person who can benefit or whether we drop our things in a bin or at a donation center, we really can make a difference by reusing items rather than getting rid of them via the garbage.
This week, ask yourself these questions:
Are there items in your home that you are no longer using that might be a benefit to someone else?
Who do you know that might benefit from something you or your children no longer need?
How do you reuse within your family?
Are you holding on to things in the hopes of reusing them? How can you let some of these things find new life somewhere else?
Start small and ask your kids for help. Rather than telling them that they’ll have to get rid of things, ask them about something they could give to a child who has very little.