Raising a baby is a whole different ball game to what our own parents played in raising us. We have better and probably more products at our disposal and with so much technology and innovation at our fingertips and we have learnt a lot from the past.
The truth is that we are in a waste crisis, with estimations that by 2050, there will be more plastic waste in the ocean than fish!
You would have heard of the 3 R’s of recycling but in this post we are talking zero waste.
Why? Because ‘Recycling’ is only a small part of the picture. Think of a plastic, single use water bottle. This can be recycled, yes, but with only 9% of the stuff we put into our recycling bins turned into something else, we need to start looking at waste with a different lens. (That’s right, 91% of the recyclables we put into our recycle bin do not get recycled!) Gone of the days of feel good / I’m doing good when I place something into the recycle bin. It’s about avoiding the waste product in the first place.
There are the 5 R’s of Zero Waste: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot (notice how Recycle now comes 4th)
I have adapted the 5 R’s of Zero Waste parenting to make raising an eco baby that bit easier/self explanatory and achievable
The 5 R’s of Zero Waste parenting include Relate, Reuse, Reduce, Repurpose, Reveal and here is how you can make them work for you.
Yes Zero Waste is possible! Here is an opportunity to have a look at what you do every day and see if there is a swap or something in the following examples (in no particular order!) to reduce and ultimately avoid your waste.
Of course reusing everyday items avoids waste. When purchasing items, ensure they are of good quality so that you can get the most REUSE out of them before having to purchase another item.
Modern cloth nappies are reusable though opting for cheaper brands may seem like a bargain to start with however will most likely need replacing due to poor quality elastics, waterproofing of the PUL outer or absorbency capabilities. A good quality modern cloth nappy will last through at least two children full time use.
Making sure you can get the most out of your investment.
Reduce the number of things that keep breaking! (This includes kids toys too)
Invest in quality the first time so you don’t need to replace it. Stainless steel pegs are a great example of this. I bet we are all guilty of plastic shards of broken pegs under our clothes line! The majority of stainless steel pegs are guaranteed to last. Remember, if you live in coastal areas, opt for marine grade stainless steel as these won’t rust from the salty air.
What do you have already that you can use for another purpose?
Did you get passed on those wonderful old terry towelling squares? The ones that were used on you! They make great spew rags, change mats even boosting within pocket nappies. Plus they are great to bulk up a load in the washing.
Oh and you can go old school cloth nappy folding when you’re behind on washing day
Nursing pads are super helpful in the first weeks and months of motherhood. However when you have finished breastfeeding, these can be used for make up remover pads or simply pass onto another mum
Be the Eco Warrior you already are, along with your biggest fan (your baby)
Reveal you as a leader and show what you are doing towards zero waste, even if that’s making your baby be your spokesperson, because they are your biggest fan!
Going zero waste or using reusable baby items shouldn’t be in isolation (pardon the pun!) bring your supporters along and be proud to stand up for your positive actions. If you are trying a new Zero Waste activity or item, posting a pic on your socials and tagging those friends who you know will spread encouragement can give you that boost. There are so many interest groups our there, it’s about finding the supportive voices, your tribe.
When using cloth nappies, announce it with confidence, show off those gorgeous nappy prints, because you know that your group/community/online friends have your back, and the benefits outweigh everything else.
Other people’s opinions are short lived but your actions last forever.
How can you relate to something that you are already doing?
Can your actions to achieve zero waste already relate to something you already do? Perhaps it makes the zero waste change a bit easier.
For example, it makes sense to use cloth wipes if you are already using cloth nappies, this just makes sense to wash the cloth wipes along with the nappy…or you would be having to run and find a bin just for the throw away wipe!
You can also relate to other cloth nappy parents – there are many groups, support networks of like minded parents out there!