In Episode 4, Waste Not, Aya and Yusuf learn the valuable lesson of being mindful with the amount of water they use. Here are five fun ways to think more about waste and how we can reuse and repurpose it all while giving Mother Nature a helping hand
- Plenty of vegetable scraps that end up in the waste could provide a fun way to teach your children more about nature by simply regrowing them. Did you know, for example, that by placing the cut-off end of a lettuce in water it will begin to regrow by itself? This type of planting doesn’t even require an outdoor space. Simply place the lettuce base in a glass of water in any room where it will receive sunlight. Wait a few days (and refresh the water if needed) to see green shoots emerging as if by magic! Celery is another vegetable that can easily regrow from its base. After sitting it in water for a few days in sunlight, once it has begun to resprout it can be transferred to a pot for planting. There are plenty of other fruit and vegetables that, with a bit of patience, water and sunlight, will reward you with new growth out of old.
- Plants often need protection, and mulch – a form of insulation placed over the soil – is one way to help the plant’s roots maintain an even temperature, retain water in the soil and prevent weeds growing. Although mulch can be store-bought, there are items among household waste that could also take its place: empty pistachio shells, for example, will do the job while newspaper is another alternative.
- Natural waste is also a vital component in compost. In the Waste Not episode, Baba shows the twins how all the parts of the fruits and vegetables that they don’t eat are mixed with dry soil, leaves, grass and small bits of wood to become compost that is spread over the plants in the garden to help them grow stronger. By making your own compost, you will be reducing the amount of natural waste that goes to landfill as well as creating a habitat for small insects and increasing the organic content in your garden soil. Involving your children in this activity will teach them plenty about the cycle of nature and being resourceful with waste.
- Plastic bottles are ubiquitous in today’s society, but as single-use items their waste poses a pollution threat, with the equivalent of a truckload of plastic entering the ocean every single minute. Ensuring your plastic bottles are sent for recycling is one way to contribute towards protecting the planet, but another is to find ways to repurpose them at home – and using them in gardening is one. By drilling holes in their caps, plastic bottles can be used as sprinklers for watering plants, and by cutting out parts of them they can be used as planting pots (just remember to make holes in the bottom for drainage), or when sliced in half the bottom part can be used for planting seeds and the top part can be placed over the top to act as a cloche, increasing warmth and humidity. Naturally, any cutting or drilling should be done with extra care by an adult, but engaging children in watering or planting using a repurposed item will instil the brilliance of reusing waste in their minds.
- In the Waste Not episode, the twins’ mother advises them on the importance of watering with just the right amount, an important lesson not only in ensuring that plants thrive and grow healthily but also in being mindful of conserving water. Why not take this to another level, by saving the leftover water you have used to boil vegetables in to irrigate your plants?
Vegetable water gives plants additional nutrition while also conserving household water use and emphasizing the ethos of ‘waste not, want not’. Remember, when engaging your children in watering, remind them of Mama’s advice: “Not too much, not too little, just the right amount!”
Enjoy watching the Waste Not episode with your children and have fun trying out any or all of our tips above.