Between pails of dirty diapers and wipes, plastic toys and packaging, babies can contribute a lot of waste. This waste can be a real concern to some parents. According to one study, having a child in a developed nation adds 58.6 tons of CO2 per year to your carbon footprint. I’ll keep it real with you all- this isn’t something I thought about at all until a few weeks in with our new baby as I was taking out what seemed to be the millionth trash bag filled with dirty diapers. Suddenly I found myself shocked about how much waste one baby can produce. Luckily, there are some easy ways to raise your little one in a more eco-friendly way. Check out a few earth- friendly tips below.
START BEFORE THE BABY ARRIVES BY HAVING A GREEN BABY SHOWER!
- Send evites for your shower and thank you ecards, or consider recycled paper invites and thank you notes. Here are cute options that can be sent via email, text message, or a shareable link you can paste and post anywhere.
- Focus on eco-friendly gifts for your registry
- Serve locally sourced foods on reusable dishes
- Use real linens instead of plastic table cloths
- Opt for unwrapped gifts by having a “display shower”
2. TAKE ALL THE HAND ME DOWNS OR SHOP GENTLY USED CLOTHING!
It is hard to pass on cute new outfits for babies, but babies grow FAST and using hand- me downs is a great way to save the planet and your wallet! If you do shop for new clothes, shop with companies that focus on sustainability.
3. CONSIDER CLOTH DIAPERS.
In landfills it takes a diaper 500 years to degrade. In addition to being better for the planet, cloth diapers reduce the chance of diaper rash, contain no chemicals and can be reused for multiple children.
4. BREASTFEED IF YOU CAN!
Breastfeeding generates zero waste and also will save you money. If you pump, freeze milk in reusable molds and then store instead of single-use plastic bags.
5. RETHINK YOUR WIPES.
Many wipes are made with plastics and take a long time to degrade. Wipes made with bamboo or cotton are more sustainable options. Check out this article on the best eco-friendly wipe options!
6. MAKE YOUR OWN BABY FOOD PUREES TO CUT BACK ON SINGLE-USE PLASTIC PACKAGING.
It’s definitely more work, but it can save you money in the long run too!
7. BUY SUSTAINABLE TOYS MADE WITH NATURAL MATERIALS VERSUS PLASTIC.
This list can feel overwhelming, but don’t let it! Pick one or two areas to work on and build from there! For us, this meant focusing on shopping gently-used clothing and switching to a biodegradable baby wipe. Next on our list is to transition from plastic breastmilk storage bags to usable molds. Every small switch adds up!