With all the craziness that comes with caring for your infant, we tend to not think twice about all of the baby related things we throw away. Barely used clothing, diapers, and packaging are just a few of the things getting dumped into landfills every day.
We've rounded up the best tips for cutting down on your baby's carbon footprint.
1. Cloth Diapers
It should come as no surprise that cloth diapers are at the top of the list for ways you can cut down on your baby's carbon footprint. The sheer volume of diapers that go into landfills every year is astronomical. Invest in cloth diapers and you'll save money, in addition to the environment. If you want to be extra frugal, you can easily find used cloth diapers online at a very discounted rate.
Related: Answers to 5 Common Questions about Cloth Diapering
2. Trade Baby Wipes for Washcloths
Keeping in the theme of cleaning up baby waste (of the digested variety), consider swapping your disposable baby wipes with wash clothes. Treehugger.com says that, although the throwaway wipes are convenient, they introduce a lot of unpleasant chemicals into the environment. Switch to standard washcloths and you're again saving money, as well being eco-friendly. Simply wet the washcloth with warm water and soap and it's ready to go.
3. Buy or Borrow Used Items
PBS recommends that you invest or borrow used items like strollers, changing tables, and swings. See if anyone in your family or friend network has a perfectly good stroller that's been taking up space in their garage for a few years. Chances are, they'll be happy to give it to you. You can also find many gently used baby paraphernalia online or at thrift stores. Check that the particular item model hasn't been recalled for safety reasons.
4. Create Organic Skin Care Products for Baby
While there are a number of organic skin care products for little ones, they are often sold in plastic packaging. Fortunately, you can make your own right at home and store it in glass jars. For example, diaper rash can be soothed with olive oil or coconut oil alone. Creating your own ointments also means you can be 100% sure that they don't contain any unnatural ingredients.
5. Buy Used Clothes
It's no secret that babies grow very quickly. Sometimes it seems like it's overnight! Investing in a week's worth of clothing for every growth stage isn't very good for the environment (or your wallet). You might be surprised by the variety and quality of pre-owned clothing items you can find at thrift stores. Special occasion outfits and footwear are also easy to come by, as many people use them only once. Plus you'll be spending a fraction of what you'd pay if you bought the clothing brand new.
If you're uncomfortable buying from second-hand stores, reach out to friends and family members who've had little ones. Similar to bulky baby items, it's likely that they'll be glad to free up some space in their home.
6. Breastfeed if Possible
In addition to the numerous health benefits for your baby, breastfeeding can also be a huge way to reduce your child's carbon footprint. Feeding with formula means purchasing an array of bags, nipples, bottles, and cleaning tools, not to mention their packaging. Compare that to the zero waste created while breastfeeding.
Related: 10 Things You Might Not Know About Breastfeeding
7. Use Glass or Steel Bottles
Of course, there are a number of reasons some women can't or choose not to breastfeed. In which case, Little Bunny Bear suggests using glass or steel baby bottles. According to them, plastic bottles need to be replaced every 3 months, which creates a lot of waste over time.
8. Prepare Your Own Baby Food
This is another eco-friendly change that's also budget-friendly. Skip the organic store packaging (and prices) and make your own baby food at home. Invest in a decent blender or food processor and puree the fruits and veggies you get at your local farmer's market or co-op. For more convenience, prepare the food in large batches and store in glass containers.
9. Inform Friends and Family
This is a big one. Over the first year, your baby will be showered with oodles of toys, clothing, and other gifts. It's understandable that your friends and family members want to show their excitement for your bundle of joy through generosity. Rather than rebuke their not-so-eco-friendly gifts, try to work into everyday conversation how much you would appreciate gift certificates, a monetary contribution to a larger item for your child, or even babysitting vouchers.
What other eco-friendly practices do you use in your home?
Photo Credit: Syda Productions / Shutterstock