Finding ways to reduce waste with kids can be pretty challenging, they just come with so much stuff! But after nearly twelve years of parenting, and two years of this journey, I’ve picked up a few tricks to help minimize the environmental impact our family makes.
Reduce Waste With Kids is a three-part series with tips for moving your family towards your earth-friendly goals. All of these suggestions are things that my family has done or that we are currently working on. Keep reading for eco-fun!
***I have linked to outside products, but I have no affiliation with any of them. These are just recommendations I have for things that I like!**
1) Cloth diapers
In our home, one of the most effective steps we have taken to reduce waste with kids was to switch to cloth diapers. We had opted for disposible diapers with the first two boys, but really started to cringe when we thought about the garbage (and cost!) with our third boy.
In an article by the CBC, a study by Environment Canada is cited which estimated that more than four million disposable diapers head to a landfill every single day. This is a staggering number and, considering it takes around 500 years for a diaper to decompose, it is extremely troubling.
Cloth diapering is absolutely not what it used to be. While there is a bit of extra work involved, it’s not quite as much as you’d think!
**I have a comprehesive post about Cloth Diapering in the works, but if you have any questions just fire me an email or pop a question in the comments!**
2) Take it one step further with Cloth Wipes
In our family, the transition to using cloth wipes came naturally when we gave up disposable diapers. Using disposable wipes actually became inconvenient for us! We discovered that when you are changing a baby, it is so much easier if all the dirty stuff is heading to the same place.
For my first attempt at making cloth wipes I simply used a few old, flannel receiving blankets! There are many great sewing tutorials on Pinterest, but you can also just use a pair of pinking shears to cut out your wipes. This will allow you to skip the sewing but keep the edges from fraying!
Really, the idea for The Home, Made Happy was born when I started making cloth wipes! I realized how passionate I was about making eco-conscious changes in our home, and it seemed a natural course to create a space for sharing what I have learned!
**If you aren’t that into DIY, these wipes from Bummis (a Canadian company) are great!**
3) Make your own bum cream
This is so much easier than it sounds! Most diaper creams are packaged in small, plastic tubes or tubs, and some can cause irritation. With a few simple ingredients (which you likely already have on hand) you can make something safe and effective.
With a quick Pinterest search you can find several different recipes to choose from. The one below uses only two ingredients, but we actually just use coconut oil! By buying the coconut oil in bulk (we get ours at Costco) and storing your bum cream in a small mason jar, you can save several plastic packages from finding their way to the landfill.
**Please Remember: If you are using cloth diapers, be sure your recipe doesn’t have petroleum or zinc-containing ingredients!**
4) Avoid convenience-sized packaging
While grabbing those little packages and tubes can be tempting, it’s so, so bad for the environment. The energy required to produce each tiny tube is enormous and in the end these tubes are not typically recyclable. On top of that, multiple tiny tubes are then packaged together in, you guessed it, more plastic!
A simple solution to reduce waste with kids is to buy the largest size of the product available. You can then divide it into smaller portions using mason jars, or any small glass or stainless-steel container. These Watchmaker’s Cases from Lee Valley are perfect!
You can also opt to make your own products from scratch! This is one area that I am excited to move into and there are so many recipes and tutorials available. Pop over to my Pinterest to see what I’ve been pinning on my Home and Body Care DIY board!
5) Use a bar soap instead of liquid body wash or shampoo
Ok, again with the plastic containers…
I haven’t been able to find a body wash or shampoo that comes in anything but plastic, which means options are pretty limited when it comes to bath time. Using a bar soap, like Dr. Bronner’s All-One Hemp Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Bar Soap, is the way to go! Dr. Bronner’s is certified Fair Trade, never tests on animals, and uses 100% post-consumer materials to make 100% biodegradable paper packaging for all their soap bars.
There are many other brands of bar soap, like this and this, which aren’t as earth-friendly but are less expensive. While both of these brands use animal testing and have some plastic packaging, they still finish ahead if your main goal is finding ways to reduce waste with kids.
**Using a fluffy cloth with a bar soap will create an awesome lather that you can use from head to toe! (Remember to store your soap bars outside of the tub or shower to keep it from melting away on you.)**
So that’s it for Part One! What did you think? Do you have any other tips for reducing waste with kids at bath time? I’d love to hear from you, so pop a comment in the space below ❤
Reduce Waste With Kids is a three-part series with tips for moving your family towards your earth-friendly goals. Check out Part Two – Feeding here! And don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on the fun!