Green expert Stef Newman, author of the blog, joins us this month to give helpful tips on raising an environmentally conscious family. She strives to help parents “think outside their playroom” and take small but significant steps toward a more eco-friendly lifestyle. A “greenie” since high school, Stef now lives in Boca Raton, Fla., with her husband, two daughters (ages 7 and 4) who are in Jewish day school, and a baby on the way.

How can parents “green” their child’s bagged lunches?

“No waste” lunches are so much easier to pack these days! Small investments in such items as cloth lunch bags, cloth sandwich wrappers and water bottles keep food just as fresh, and even bring a fun twist to lunchtime. You can now find food containers in every shape and size, made from either BPA-free plastic or stainless steel that wash great and can be reused daily. I also use kid-friendly utensils (in stainless steel) that come home at the end of the day. All of these items can be found either locally or online and will last way beyond one school year.

What’s the deal with dangerous plastics, and how can parents keep their families safe?

Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a synthetic hormone primarily used to make hard polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin for coating the inside of food and beverage cans. Recent studies on animals show exposure to BPA can be linked to a myriad of health issues. The children’s product market is now taking a stand over BPA, and companies are taking the initiative to remove BPA from their products. Visit and for tested products and safety ratings, plus check labels on products and toys to make sure they say “BPA-free.”

What can parents do to get their kids interested in things like recycling and being good to the earth?

Each season brings a wonderful opportunity to get your kids outside to explore nature. A simple walk or bike ride around your neighborhood—and some time spent to stop and learn about animals, plants, the air, water or anything you might live near—can really impress a child. Kids also learn by example, so if you include your kids in your greening routine, like helping to put recyclables in the right bins, turning off lights when leaving a room and shutting the water when brushing teeth, these good habits will become just as routine for them.