It’s Zero Waste Week and to celebrate we’ve updated this all you need to know realistic guide to zero-waste parenting.
If we’re honest, the trendy zero-waste lifestyle just isn’t realistic for most people, instead going low-waste is much more achievable.
Working towards a low-waste household can have a huge impact on the environment as well as on your wallet… but more on that later.
Lowering your waste starts with understanding where the problem stems from – throwing stuff away!
Did you know 300,000 pieces of clothing head to landfill every week in the UK?! And most are in perfectly good condition.
This has a giant impact on our environment as it can take over 200 years to decompose and leach toxic chemicals into soil and groundwater.
Taking steps to reduce this where you can have a huge impact!
The key to be more sustainable is changing our mindset of buy – use – throw away and instead turn it into something more like this:
We’ve broken this down into steps, alongside some inspiration to help your family work towards going low waste.
This is all about gifts – refusing gifts can be really difficult, sometimes even impossible. But new toys, clothes, bottles and other baby/children’s items account for a huge amount of waste in landfills.
One way to navigate this is to plan ahead and communicate honestly with the gift-givers:
Create a wish list people can purchase off – that’s your chance to ask for eco-friendly and reusable items.
Communicate that you don’t want gifts and would prefer money or second-hand items.
Ban celebration cards! Most cards aren’t recyclable and although you can repurpose these as crafts it’s best to reduce their numbers in the first place.
Finally, ask for homemade items.
These aren’t always possible, in cases where you receive new gifts try re-selling these or donating rather than throwing them away.
There are thousands of baby products out there, targeted ads showing you ‘essential items’ that you would never use.
This step is all about limiting these purchases, focusing on the items that are essential to you.
The best way to do this is to make a list of things you need and research eco-friendly alternatives. This isn’t just better for the environment but will also save you money!
For instance, pre-made baby food comes with a huge amount of waste – mostly the jars and packets. But did you know pre-made baby food isn’t actually all that good for your little one?
Not only is it expensive but it doesn’t have nearly as much nutrition as when you would make them yourself from fresh ingredients – you can click here for an all you need to know guide to making your own baby food.
Once your child is a little older you can do more to reduce your waste including: getting them involved in making their own snacks, saving leftovers and growing your own fruit and veg.
We need to get rid of the stigma of buying second-hand items. The mentality of new is better is a key factor in the amount of waste that we produce.
In most cases, second-hand items are just as good if not better – you tend to be able to buy better quality items for less, save money overall and be more sustainable!
This is particularly true for clothing, books, toys and furniture items. You can find second-hand items like these on eBay, Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or Vinted.
Alternatively, to reduce your waste you can also purchase eco-friendly reusable items. These can include cloth nappies, washable baby wipes, reusable bottles and more. Click here for some of our favourites.
Finally, you can also repurpose old items. In our nurseries, we love repurposing old items like boxes, clothing, magazines, and more for arts & crafts activities. Click here for some inspo.
Compost and recycle
This one is pretty self-explanatory – the less you put in the bin, the less waste you produce! One way to do this is to compost and recycle.
And the more you let your little one get involved in the process, the more they will understand that throwing something away doesn’t really exist – it all goes somewhere and has an impact.
The best way to find information about this is to visit your local council’s website. They will be able to provide you with information on their recycling and composting processes.
If you have a garden or an outdoor space, you can also try composting at home! It’s a long process but can be amazing if you also grow your own. Click here for an all you need to know guide.