With the growing awareness of the need to change our habits in order to protect our planet, it’s no surprise that the zero-waste movement is growing. But like all things in life, it can be overwhelming knowing where, and how to start. We started making moves towards creating less waste five years ago, after having our second daughter. And we've continued to make small changes over the years. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m striving to do better, this is a journey after all. If you need inspiration for getting started with zero-waste parenting, I’ve got you covered.
This list of zero-waste ideas is specifically created with parents in mind, however there are plenty of these that you could use if you aren't a parent.
If you’re a parent this is a great eco swap. Babies and young children go through approximately 8 diapers a day. Research suggests that each of those diapers takes 500 years to decompose in landfill. Which is devastating, all those diapers that were worn for only a couple of hours, now sit in landfill. This makes cloth diapers a brilliant place to start. There's no pressure to do it full time; just one reusable diaper a day will save 365 diapers a year from landfill. Plus they’re much cuter on the bum than disposables, so it’s a win win in my mind! We have a cute collection of diapers, that you can check out here.
Cloth wipes (hand, face and bottom)
Alongside our cloth diapers we like to use cloth wipes. Personally, I find it easier this way, since I can chuck them in the wash together. We also have a different set of cloth wipes that we only use for sticky fingers, and grubby faces. They've been especially helpful during the weaning process. My favorite thing about cloth wipes is that there’s no added chemicals involved, as my girls suffer from sensitive skin.
If your children are anything like mine, they eat approximately ten thousand snacks a day (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but it feels like that many sometimes). Reusable snack bags are great for bringing individual portions of things that I either made myself, or purchased in bulk on the go. They’re also wonderful for packed lunches. I’ve used them for fruit, nuts, granola bars, cheese cubes; basically anything I can think of haha. I will say they aren’t air tight, so if you want to keep something crisp, a reusable container might be better. I have a couple of different types, some with material on, and some that are silicone. I either wash them in the washing machine or the dishwasher, which is super convenient as I seem to always have one or the other on!
Picture a cloth zip-lock bag lined with waterproof material, and you have yourself a wet bag. I mostly use these for cloth diapers, as I can store dirty ones in them without them leaking into my bag. They can also be used for beach and pool trips to store wet clothes. Not to mention, they are a lifesaver for potty training, when accidents on the go are inevitable.
Some things just taste better through a straw, am I right? But the single use ones are a big no from me. We purchased some Klean Kanteen straws a few years back and they're a big hit here. Mostly they're used around the house, as my girls love to use straws for any drink that isn't in their bottle. But we take them on the go with us too. I love the KK ones in particular as they're metal, which means they’re durable (and easy to clean) but have a silicone tip which means you don't have the feel of metal (which I personally dislike) in your mouth. As an added bonus they come in different colors which is a big pro for my girls.
Washable mattress pad
If you haven't been through it yet, I'm sure you've read/ been told about how many times you’ll be changing bedding etc during potty training. And having something to protect your kiddos mattress from those accidents is essential. Luckily, you don’t have to buy disposable bed liners, you can buy cloth ones instead! We found that they work really well, and they could be used to cover the couch etc too.
Reusable popsicle molds
My girls love popsicles, they’d even eat them in the snow ha! I’m sure I’m not the only one who hates how much waste they create. Purchasing reusable molds means we can create our own popsicles without the waste. I usually blend up some fruit/veg that’s not getting love, so not only are we making delicious treats, we’re using up ingredients that may otherwise have gone to waste. The best bit? You can wash the molds and use them time and time again!
If you’ve got any other zero-waste parenting tips please leave them below!