There are many products out there that are aimed at making parenting life easier - some are wonderful while others are wasteful and harmful to the environment.
The good news is you can still apply zero-waste principles to your parenting in very realistic and doable ways.
By making small changes in your lifestyle and getting a little bit better every day, you’ll be doing your part to save the planet.
We’ve have put together a list of ideas that can help you parent more sustainably. Feel free to have fun and experiment and choose what works best for you and your family.
Here are 9 Tips for Zero Waste Parenting:
- Preloved clothes
Kids outgrow their clothes almost as quickly as you can buy them. As a result, you may end up spending thousands of euro and with mountains of hardly worn clothes.
Buying second hand can help you get ahead of your child’s rapid growth spurt without overspending.
You might even be able to sell some of them online or at at a market and make a little bit of money yourself.
- Switch to reusable diapers
Disposable nappies are not just the third-largest single consumer item in landfills, they’ve been found to contain toxic compounds that trigger skin reactions like asthma and eczema.
Cloth nappies are far better for the environment. They’re reusable and washable and don’t contain unnecessary chemicals that can be toxic to your baby. They’re also more breathable and gentle on the baby’s skin. Check out our blog post on why you should try reusable nappies for some more information. An alternative to reusable nappies are eco friendly disposable nappies.
- Try reusable wipes
Disposable wipes are another environmental offender. Often made of plastics, they don't break down easily and find their way into oceans. They also create “fatbergs” which wreak havoc in wastewater systems. Reusable wipes are the perfect eco-friendly swap for disposable baby wipes.
They can be used and then washed time and time again which can save you a ton of money and impromptu trips to the store. An alternative to reusable wipes are eco friendly baby wipes.
- Make your own baby food
Homemade baby food is easy to make, inexpensive and environmentally friendly.
It’s also more nutritious than commercially produced food, which is often heated to extreme temperatures to kill bacteria.
Cooking your own food will give your baby the best nutrients possible. To save time, you can freeze extra purée in ice cube trays so you'll always have a wholesome meal at the ready.
- Go for zero waste baby products
The best zero baby product is no product at all but that’s not practical in the real world.
The next best option is to buy products that leave the least carbon footprint possible.
This is more essential for everyday baby products like skincare and toys.
Opt for all-natural organic baby products that come with biodegradable packaging and toys made from ethical materials like sustainably sourced wood, recycled plastic and natural rubber.
- Upcycle old baby items
If you have treasured little outfits or toys that you just can’t let yourself get rid of, you can repurpose them into something new. With some creativity you can create pieces of memorabilia that your child will enjoy such as quilts, stuffed animals, baby mobiles - the sky is the limit!
- DIY cleaning products
After reading the labels of cleaning products, you might want to make your own products at home.
A wide range of common cleaning products include chemicals such as fragrances, chlorine and bleach which have been associated with adverse health effects.
When you make your own cleaning products, you have full control over the ingredients and can ensure both of your children and pets are safe.
- Reduce what you can
There are plenty of baby paraphernalia that are nice to have but not really necessary. These include bottle and wipe warmers, diaper genies, baby food makers, luxury strollers and more.
Before you make a purchase, ask yourself whether you can do without it or if there’s a cheaper alternative that works just as well.
- Educate your kids.
Most of us learned about zero waste living during adulthood which has made the transition more difficult. Once you teach your kids to love and care for the planet, it’ll be so much easier for them to integrate zero waste into their lives.
Kids look up to us and mirror our actions so be sure to live by example.
Adapting to a zero-waste lifestyle with kids can be overwhelming but putting the effort in is worth it. You don’t have to change everything at once, every little bit helps!
By incorporating these tips, you’ll help build a future that is liveable, thriving, and beautiful for your little ones. Plus, you’ll save money in the long run.