When my daughter held her first lemonade stand this past week, I was so caught up in the “milestone” aspect of it all that I totally missed out on an opportunity to add an environmental lesson to the mathematical/economical one.
From the cups and pitcher we used to the actual lemonade itself and the stand, I have to admit that I made a lot of rookie mistakes. That’s why the next time we have an 80-degree scorcher and my daughter’s entrepreneurial spirit kicks in, I plan on doing things a little differently.
Here are five tips for helping your kids run an eco-friendly lemonade stand this summer:
- Paper cups aren’t necessarily better than plastic. On my quest for right-size cups, I found myself at the grocery store with a choice between waxed paper and plastic. In that hurried moment, the paper ones seemed better. But I was wrong — waxed paper can’t be recycled in our curbside recycling program. Plastic cups, on the other hand, can be recycled (but it’s always good to double-check with your recycling company first). An even better choice would have been compostable plastic cups combined with reusable “for here” cups — she would have learned an even better lesson about disposable products and waste.
- A glass beverage dispenser isn’t kid-friendly, but it’s environmentally friendly. I wasn’t sure my daughter had the strength and concentration to pour cup after cup from a regular pitcher, so I opted for the plastic kind that sits on the surface and has a spigot that she could easily operate. I was also trying to keep our upfront costs to a minimum. But, since the dispenser simply sat on the table, I probably could have splurged for the glass one.
- Whatever you have makes a good lemonade stand. This was one thing I got right — I used an old wooden bench for our stand. There are lots of products out there that are designed to be a lemonade stand, but using what you have is always a better choice than buying new. And, remember, spills happen!
- Old cereal boxes make great signs. Cut one of the folds of a cereal box, and you have a great big cardboard surface for advertising your drink and the price.
- Serve up something refreshing. Artificial flavors, high-fructose corn syrup and ingredients you can’t pronounce are the opposite of thirst-quenching. Powdered and frozen drinks are cheap and easy, but making lemonade from organic lemon juice isn’t difficult. Plus, you can foodie it up by adding puréed watermelon, strawberries or raspberries, and your little one can help measure out the cane sugar.
Are you a veteran lemonade stand “manager”? What are your secrets for keeping it green?