Global warming, contaminated water, wildlife extinction, and polluted air – what’s the solution? Thankfully, you don’t have to just sit on the sidelines and watch the earth destruct. Small tweaks in your childcare center can have a lasting impact on the environment. You can do your part to protect the earth for future generations with these eco-friendly tips.
Minimize Battery Operated Toys
The bright flashing lights and animated sounds of electronic toys are hard to resist. But these playthings are powered by batteries, and batteries contain corrosive acids that vaporize into the air, and pollute rivers and lakes when they are burned.
Keep paper scraps and reuse them for collages and other art projects. And instead of throwing plastic baggies away, rinse them out and use them to store items like crayons, glue sticks, and paper scraps in the supply closet.
Items like bottle caps, paper towel tubes, newspaper, and old magazines can be repurposed for arts and craft projects. You can also reuse old clothes, handbags, and shoes for the dramatic play area of your childcare classroom.
Don’t Use Paper Dishes
After preparing and serving meals to kids all day, the last thing you want to do is wash dishes; it’s simply easier to use paper cups and plates. But disposable dishes cost trees, and clutter up landfills. Instead of disposable plates and cups, opt for dishes you can wash and reuse.
Set up recycling bins inside classrooms where paper, plastic, and aluminum can be recycled. To get the children excited about recycling, implement it into lesson plans, and talk about it regularly. It may take a while for youngsters to get the hang of recycling items, but the practice will eventually become second nature.
Switch to Compact Florescent Light bulbs
Replace all the light bulbs in your childcare center with compact florescent (CFL) bulbs. CFLs use 75 percent less energy, produce 90 percent less heat, and last 8 to 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs.
Avoid Aerosol Sprays
Don’t use aerosol disinfectant sprays or air fresheners in your childcare. The chemicals in these sprays pollute the air, and are harmful to children when they inhale them or touch surfaces that contain them.
Buy Recycled Paper and Nontoxic Art Materials
Using recycled construction paper, craft paper, and computer paper reduces the need to chop down trees. This type of paper is easily found in craft and school supply stores. Also, opt for nontoxic art materials. These materials are safer for children and healthier for the environment. To ensure the art materials you use in your childcare center are nontoxic, look for products that have the ACMI certification seal (The Art & Creative Materials Institute).
Switching to florescent light bulbs, serving meals on reusable dishes, repurposing materials, opting for nontoxic art supplies, and using recycled paper are some of the small changes you can make in your childcare center to improve the health of the environment.