This post is written by guest contributor Sustainable Jungle. They're sharing four simple ways to raise a zero waste baby and embrace a crunchy mama lifestyle with ease.
You’ve heard of the terrible twos but how difficult is it to raise a zero waste baby?
Surprisingly, not as hard as you might think.
It’s true that babies are pretty wasteful—just ask all the expensive baby food splattered all over your blouse. But as a parent, there are eco friendly alternatives that can help you raise a more eco friendly baby.
Granted, a zero waste lifestyle may be the very last thing on your sleep-deprived mind, but fortunately, these tips are super simple and, over time, will save you time and worry.
MAKE PLAYTIME PLASTIC-FREE
We might have stopped using lead paint, but that doesn’t mean today’s baby toys are much safer than they were in the 60s.
Aside from the standard phthalate-filled plastic or plastic-derived synthetic fabrics, baby toys are made with flame retardants and other noxious chemicals.
Opting for eco friendly and organic baby toys isn’t just a safer bet for the environment but for your precious little one, too.
Wooden toys are some of the best options because they’re compostable at the end of their life (or can even be repurposed into something new as your baby grows). Plus, if finished with organic plant oils and beeswax like Smiling Tree Toys, they’re safe even as teething toys.
For plush toys, keep an eye out for sustainable fabrics and especially those made of natural fibres (think organic cotton, hemp fabric, and linen) and stay clear of polyester fillings.
For even more goodies when it comes to requesting plastic-free toys, get our free guide.
CHANGING DIAPERS SHOULD ONLY COME WITH ONE TYPE OF WASTE
As all parents know, raising a baby isn’t all fun and games. There’s a lot of messy moving parts, and this is where adopting one simple zero waste tip can really make an impact.
You know the one we’re talking about: diaper changing.
Disposable diapers take about 500 years to decompose. No surprise they alone account for 2%of US landfill mass.
Fortunately, switching to somethingfarless wasteful is alsofarless daunting than it might sound.
The best eco friendly diapers are reusable diapers. They usually consist of a cloth interior, an absorbent liner (bamboo fabric is a common choice), and a leak-proof PUL outer.
When the time comes to change these diapers, you can flush away any large stuff and simply wash the diaper in the hot water. In between washings, keep dirty diapers in an odor and leak-proof “wet bag”, which can also be washed right along with the diapers.
For outings when you really don’t want to tote around a dirty cloth diaper until you get home, opt for ones that are biodegradable and made of plant-based materials. But keep an eye out for greenwashingas not all ‘eco-disposable diapers’ are made equal.
When you have the process setup you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch to reusables sooner! And if you need a little more motivation know that you’ll save about $2000 on average per year, from birth to big boy panties.
BATH TIME WITH SUSTAINABLE SUDS
For those really rough changes when a wet washcloth won’t cut it, fill the bathtub with biodegradable bubbles and let the second round of playtime begin.
By biodegradable bubbles, we mean organic baby shampoo made with natural skin care ingredients, that won’t hurt your baby or the environment when they go down the drain.
When the suds are gone and the rubber ducky has beached, dry them off with an organic cotton bath towel, apply organic baby skin care solutions to soothe any diaper rash, and dress them in their favorite (okay your favorite) affordable organic baby clothes.
Why the focus on organic baby products?
Because it ensures no harmful chemicals were used, either in the farming or manufacturing of that adorable onesie. After all, you not only want the most gentle fabrics and ingredients for your baby’s sensitive skin but also to protect the planet for future generations.
SNUGGLE IN FOR NO-WASTE NAP TIME
After all that hard work and play, you’re probably both feeling tired and maybe just a little cranky—and who wouldn’t be after thinking how harmful all the baby products you’ve been replacing are?
Sooth all those anxieties by wrapping up your baby in an organic baby blanket and snuggle into your own organic cotton pajamas for a few precious minutes of shut-eye.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON RAISING A ZERO WASTE BABY
We hate to burst your baby’s bubble blower, but there is no such thing as the perfect parent.
Just like there’s no such thing as a perfectly sustainable lifestyle.
All we can do is try.
So don’t feel pressure to nail all aspects of zero waste parenting by the end of the fourth trimester. Adopt a couple of sustainable habits, do what you can and above all, raise your kids to respect and cherish the people and planet we all depend on.
There’s surely no better lesson we can leave our future generation.
Sustainable Jungle was founded to encourage and galvanize positive change. They share sustainability related ideas, tips, tricks, hacks, products, brands and stories of people & organizations doing meaningful work to future-proof our planet. Listen to their podcast The Sustainable Jungle Podcast or find them on Instagram (@sustainablejungle) and Facebook (@sustainablejungle).
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