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Reusable? Be Environmentally Friendly

By Hilary Arens

So how does “Every Day is Earth Day” work at my house? Well, with toddler twins, some days just feel like survival until bedtime! But since both my husband and I are environmentalists and both work for DEQ, we have instilled some habits in our home that even on the busiest days make us feel like we are contributing to the greater good.

Saving water, for example. Especially living in the desert, we think it is
incredibly important to teach our kids about saving water. While playing in running tap water is fun for them, they’ve learned to turn the water off when brushing their teeth and scrubbing their hands. We have installed low-flow fixtures in our bathroom and got a water audit a few years back to make sure we were not over watering the small bit of grass that remains on our xeriscaped yard.

We’ve tried to reduce the amount of trash we make on a daily basis. We have reusable lunch containers for the kids’ lunches and use Tupperware whenever possible instead of plastic bags. We bring our own reusable bags to the grocery store, and the kids love getting the bags out from the drawer we keep the bags in. Our kids really enjoy sorting our garbage into trash and recycling, and we encourage them to make use of some of the materials in new and creative ways. Most of their bath toys are empty yogurt containers or juice bottles!

Hilary ArensWhile biking is fun, we also use our bikes to run errands in our neighborhood. Our kids still can’t travel too far, but we believe that instilling the use of feet or bikes over cars when possible will become a habit for them as they grow older.

While there are still many things we can do every day to make our environment cleaner and make responsible decisions, having a household mindset of a global consciousness will hopefully help raise our young children to make these same decisions on their own when they’re older.

I’ve worked for the Utah Division of Water Quality for five and a half years in the Watershed Protection Section. My focus has been on the Jordan River Basin and now has expanded to include the Utah Lake watershed. I have a master degree in Watershed Science from Colorado State and an undergraduate degree in Biology and Environmental Science from Colby College, where Seth and I met. Seth works in the Division of Air Quality. Outside of work, I love being on rivers, skiing, biking and taking our toddler twins where few toddlers usually go.

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