Is it possible to live an entire year and accumulate only a single jar of trash? While that may seem like a far-off, zero waste fantasy, it's the reality of many families in the United States today. But being a parent is hard enough, is it worth it to try and eliminate your waste as well?
It absolutely is! If you're interested in learning about sustainable parenting, you've come to the right place!
Give Cloth Diapers a Try
When you think of cloth diapers, do you get the image of 50's housewives powdering their baby's bottoms and securing their cloth diapers with pins? While rubber pants have gone the way of the dinosaur, cloth diapering is still alive and well. And not only is it sustainable, but it's also adorable too!
There are many different styles of cloth diapers; from traditional flat cloths that you fold up to fit into water-proof covers to all-in-one diapers that can fit your baby from birth to potty training, there's a cloth option for everyone.
It may be your knee-jerk reaction to turn your nose up at the idea of dealing with washing dirty diapers for the next few years, but breastfed babies have waste that is completely water-soluble. So all you have to do is change their diaper and throw it directly into the wash (with zero waste detergent!) and you're set.
Zero Waste Household Cloth
You don't have to stop at cloth diapers, either. There is reusable cloth for nearly every occasion.
If you don't want to switch completely to cloth diapering, you can still cut your waste down by using cloth baby wipes instead of the storebought variety. There's also washable paper towel, dishcloth, and even dusting alternatives.
There's also household cloth in the traditional sense: washable and reusable toilet paper alternatives. When you couple this with the use of a bidet, you make your entire bathroom experience completely zero waste.
Sustainable Parenting With Breastfeeding
At the end of the day, any way you can feed your baby is the best way to feed your baby. There's so much discourse online about breastfed babies versus formula-fed babies. The truth is that formula has saved many babies from starving, and that's a wonderful thing!
But if you're able to produce breastmilk and you're interested in living a zero waste lifestyle, breastfeeding is a great way to eliminate waste.
Not only are you giving your baby all the best that your body has to offer, but you're also helping to keep the plastic formula containers and scoops out of landfills! Plus, each canister of formula has an energy cost and a carbon footprint of its own.
Reusable Bags and Bottles
When you're busy packing lunches or on-the-go snacks for a family, the easiest path is to reach for single-use plastics. But, according to the NRDC, 8.3 billion metric tons of single-use plastics currently sit in landfills.
Luckily, there are sustainable, zero waste alternatives to almost every single-use plastic item in your home. Beeswax-covered fabric or drawstring cloth covers replace plastic wrap. Silicone straws make a great replacement for the single-use plastic alternative.
You can find replacements for all kinds of plastics in your home.
If you haven't yet, now is a great time to give up bottled water. If you live in an area where tap water isn't ideal for drinking, you can get a water filter and use reusable bottles.
Give Experiences Instead of Gifts
When you give material gifts, there's a lot of waste to consider. You've got the wrapping paper or gift bag plus whatever packaging the item comes in. Then, there's no promise that your gift won't just wind up in a landfill later anyway.
Instead of giving a traditional gift, consider gifting your children with an experience or a consumable gift!
Some examples of an experience that makes a wonderful gift are:
- Trips to the zoo, butterfly garden, or aquarium
- Camping trips
- Hiking adventures
- Visiting the humane society to walk the dogs
If you like the idea of giving out a physical gift, there's always a consumable gift that you can give! Bake your own cake, cupcake, or personally decorated cookie and forego any wrapping or consider wrapping it up in a neat, reusable gift box.
Sustainable Household Cleaning
Next up on our journey to a zero waste lifestyle is the household cleaning products. Most of the items we use to clean our houses traditionally come in plastic bottles or bags that you throw away after a single use.
Instead of dish soap that comes in a plastic container, consider picking up package-free dish soap. You can couple this with a sustainably sourced sponge or scrubber to get rid of the plastic alternatives.
Skip the plastic spray bottles full of harsh chemicals and instead buy a glass spray bottle with visible measurements for safe, homemade cleaners.
Composting for a Cleaner World
Now that you're armed with the knowledge of how to get as much plastic out of your life as possible, it's time to talk about what to do with your non-plastic waste. But we're not going to talk about garbage and recycling. It's time to learn about composting!
Instead of throwing away your food waste, putting compostable material into a composting bin is a great way to give back to the earth and skipping the landfill entirely. When you compost, you turn organic material back into soil that you can use for your garden.
Not everything is compostable, so before you start putting together organic material for a composting pile, you look up what is and isn't safe to compost.
Zero Waste Cruelty-Free Parenting!
Being a zero waste parent doesn't mean that you have to give up on all the fun things your family enjoys. It simply means that you have to find new, creative ways to reduce your consumption and reuse everything you can. When you implement the ideas we outlined for you, you're not only helping to save your family money and precious time, but you're also helping to save the planet.
If you're in the market for products to help you reduce your carbon footprint and kick waste to the curb, browse our selection of zero waste products today!