Children are increasingly casting plastic as the villain in their stories, according to an analysis of kids’ writing by Oxford University Press.
Vineeta Gupta, head of children’s dictionaries at Oxford University Press told the BBC: “Children have shown they are acutely aware of the impact plastic has on our environment and how it will affect their own future.”
If your child has become interested in reducing the amount of single-use plastic your family uses, there are plenty of ways to encourage them to develop their passion for sustainable, eco-friendly living. We asked parents to share how they are fostering their children’s interest in the environment and reducing plastic waste:
Kirsty Crichton, from Malvern in the West Midlands, saw a huge change in her six-year-old son Rowan after he watched the ‘Blue Planet’ episode that told the story of a baby whale who died due to the impact of marine plastic pollution.
“Seeing that dead baby whale and all the plastic in the ocean had a massive impact on him and he really wanted to do something to reduce what we use. So he now grows his own vegetables” she tells HuffPost UK.
Following her son’s lead Crichton also decided to reduce her family’s use of plastic by making as many little changes around the house as possible. “We switched to bars of soap, not bottles and I’ve even learnt to make my own,” she says. ”[We also buy] loose veg as much as possible and we all have metal water bottles - bit by bit we are cutting down.”
Nima Suchak, from Leicester, said her children, Dhani Gajjar, 11, and Abhidheya Gajjar, nine, are animal lovers and she encourages them to develop their interest in animal protection through hands-on experiences at a local farm. “We have an Ahimsa [‘slaughter-free’] Farm near us, which protects cows and produces milk. My children help out there regularly—feeding the cows, cleaning barns and helping in the fields,” she says.
With her children’s encouragement, Suchak has also made some sustainable switches around the house: “My kids now use wooden toothbrushes and they don’t use plastic water bottles—they always carry water in steel bottles. We recycle at home and pass on old clothes and toys”
Paula Hutchings, from Hampshire, says her six-year-old and eight-year-old sons have taken an avid interest in what materials can be recycled and know how important it is to throw plastic and card in the recycling bin.
“We’ve also found a planet-friendly alternative to cling film for sandwiches called Beeswax Wraps. My son is taking a sample to take into school to show his teacher and class,” Hutchings says.
Giving children the choice to make sustainable choices early in life is important to Emma Ross, from London. Her four-year-old son Jack has his own canvas bag, which he uses to choose his own plastic-free fruit and veg when they go shopping. “He can choose whatever he wants, the only rule being it can’t be packaged in plastic,” Ross says.