Jackie Phillips does more than worry about the world in which she is raising her 18-month-old daughter. The Columbus mother is trying to improve it.

Jackie Phillips does more than worry about the world in which she is raising her 18-month-old daughter. The Columbus mother is trying to improve it.

She bikes to work, grows some of her own food and tries to limit the amount of trash her family sends to the landfill. "Hopefully the world will be safe (for the next generation) and not destroyed," Phillips said.

She and her husband, Ken, are always watching for ways to reduce their impact on the planet.

It's a goal that's easy for families to tackle, added Jennifer Wright, organizer of Baby the Planet Expo, an event taking place within the Columbus Parent Magazine EXPO on May 2 and 3 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium that will showcase family-oriented green merchandise. Wright is always on the lookout for "small and easy" things that will make a difference. "I started by trying to learn something new every day," she said. "The key is making green choices a habit."

A good place to start is recycling, said Andia Sangale, environmental policy adviser to Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman. For families that have curbside recycling, it's just a matter of separating recyclable products from trash and putting them out on garbage day.
Families that don't have curbside recycling still can participate through one of the city's numerous free drop-off sites located at public schools and grocery stores, Sangale said.

While drop-off sites may take a little getting used to, it's worth doing, Wright said. She located a drop-off site on her route to work so she can easily drop off recyclables. "It's so much easier to drop it on your way" somewhere than to make a special trip, she explained, adding, "It's also better for the environment not to make an extra trip."

Families interested in recycling or learning more about how to protect the environment can visit columbusgreenspot.org, a city-sponsored website that offers going green tips for households and businesses, Sangale said. The site also offers suggestions, such as taking your name off junk mail lists and carrying reusable grocery bags, which will reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.

For the Phillips family, recycling is about more than preventing plastic, aluminum and newspaper from going to the landfill. They buy and sell household items on craigslist.com, a website that offers free online classified listings. They also belong to freecycle.org, an online network where people give away things they don't need.

Wright tries to think about a product's impact on the environment before she buys it. Whenever possible, she avoids items with excessive packaging.

She also tries to buy used items, and donates things she no longer uses to avoid sending them to the landfill. "Not everything that's made is good to go back into the soil," she said. "When you throw things in the trash, they sit on top of the earth. It's not healthy for the planet."


Melissa Kossler Dutton has worked as a reporter for more than a decade. She's a frequent contributor to a variety of Ohio publications. She lives in Bexley with her husband and two sons.