Ahh ... it's the April school holidays, Spring is in the air, and Earth Day is coming up! You might be about to enter motherhood, you might be experiencing life for the first time with your newborn, or you might be an on-the-go mum busily wrangling older kids with baby in tow!
Though it may feel like a seemingly never-ending cycle of lack of sleep; endless meal-making; and nightly routines of dinner, bath, and bedtime - as fellow mums, we know you are doing your best!
As Earth Day is fast approaching, we thought we would honour it, by giving you some tips and tricks to adopting a waste-conscious mentality at home with your baby and kids.
Promoting low waste living with the kids is a great way to boost their awareness and appreciation of the planet. So, how would we go about being socially responsible? By adopting new habits and practices in and out the house: with less wasted food, pouches, and packaging.
So come with us and take some baby steps with regards to repurposing food, nappies, toys, and other baby equipment - to create more of a sustainable, clean, and green lifestyle.
Keen to commit to low waste living and help reduce waste in time for Earth Day?
Here are 17 simple tips and tricks to add into your daily routine quickly, to minimise food-related waste, protect the planet, and to keep your mummy-mind sane!
buy in bulk
Buying in bulk is a great way to save time and money on food, beverages, and items for the whole family. Fresh produce bought in bulk at a market can be delivered with less packaging.
Buying family sized snack-filled boxes is more practical than purchasing pricier pre-packaged snack packs that contain unnecessary foil and plastic … and the best part? Is knowing that you have plenty of what you need, which means less trips to the supermarket – and less fuel spreading out into the environment!
minimise the use of plastic food pouches ... for reusable ones
Yes, we understand. It's emergency snack time. We get that supermarket-bought food pouches are super-convenient for mother's group get-togethers, for emergency-travelling snacks or for rushing around all day.
But in truth, they are expensive, (made of polypropylene, a safe non-toxic form of plastic), but still, not ideal for the environment - as they are not recyclable. Besides, they may also interfere with your baby's health, eating skills and diet - lacking nutrients to fill baby's stomach.
The Solution? You can make your own! Fill up your own reusable food pouches instead and do your bit for the environment by buying 100% biodegradable long-lasting puree food pouches in bulk! Not only are they a healthier choice for bub, but it gives you back the control – to know exactly what kind of healthy, filling nutrition you are feeding your little cherub.
Plus, you are choosing to be more sustainable!
try using organic cloth nappies, burping cloths, and swaddles
Did you know that 800 million disposable nappies get deposited in landfill every single year?
Why not try curbing this trend by using cloth nappies instead of disposable, especially if you are in the newborn stage, as organic cloth nappies are known to be more natural and breathable on baby’s skin, and great for long-term use! Naturally made cloth nappies prevent nappy rashes via its use of natural, non- toxic materials.
You can even purchase organic cloth nappies that are made from cotton or bamboo. Best of all, they are washable, so in buying a few, you are saving yourself time, money, and lots of trips to the shops!
While you are at it, purchase a bulk of 100% organic cotton muslin wash cloths for burping, as well as bigger-sized cloths for swaddling your newborn baby. Made from eco-friendly material, muslin is machine-washable and so breathable for your baby’s comfort!
try reusable nursing pads
If you are a breastfeeding mum, nursing pads are the comfortable way to go if you want to prevent milk leakage onto your clothing. But as they are single-use, throw-away items, they also can create a huge amount of landfill waste.
So, why not try a more eco-minded approach, by choosing reusable nursing pads made from organic bamboo, a more sustainable material. Not only will they make-less-waste, but they are also reusable and washable, a great choice to kick-start your carbon footprint!
make your own baby food
Yes, we understand, sometimes it is easier to purchase off-the-shelf baby food in jars or pouches at the supermarket. But did you know it is cheaper and healthier to puree baby food from home?
Take control of nourishing your little bub and their budding taste buds, and save on filling bins with empty jars, metal tops and plastic pouches that add to landfill.
Whether its veggies, fruits, or bits of protein, you can soft cook it, puree it in a blender, and then freeze it in batches for future mealtimes!
try reusable silicone bibs
While store-bought cotton bibs are pretty to purchase and are themed in different colours and patterns for newborns, they can easily get ruined from food and regular machine-washing. Bibs made from sturdy silicone, however, are a great alternative: as they are not only environmentally friendly, but so easy to wipe and don’t tend to stain.
make your own snacks
Getting out-and-about with bubs in tow needn’t be hectic when it comes to snack foods preparation. Why not make your own, and do your bit to save the environment by bypassing overpriced, packaging-heavy snacks – for homemade ones?
Use reusable pouches or containers to pre-pack sandwiches, cruskits, and bits of cheese or fruit. If bubs is teething, then pre-pack some rusks or a fresh food feeder loaded with yummy fruit as well. Preparing your own snacks will make your life with bub so much easier!
reuse plastic food storage
If you are in the middle of making the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle with bubs and are still finding many zip-top sandwich bags in your pantry, don’t despair! They are far more durable than you may think and can be rewashed thoroughly and therefore reused!
Once they are no longer viable, check to see if your local supermarket has any recycling bins that may accept well-used plastic bags. This goes for shopping bags and bread bags as well.
reuse jars and packaging
Thinking of what to do with your empty baby jars? Why not choose to reuse them for your leftover baby food, instead of throwing them in the bin?
Freeze leftover purees or new foods you are trying - by storing them in baby jars. Freeze fresh herbs, or tiny amounts of sauces for later recipe use.
Label and store dried herbs, seeds, or other pantry items. Reorganise your messy sewing or craft drawer, by filling these jars with odds and ends like pins, buttons, rubber bands and twine. Even better? Enlist your older kids to do it for you – by using it as a chore for their own weekly allowance.
There is nothing like feeling resourceful as a busy mum!
store your baby milk wisely
If you are breastfeeding and are running out of feeding bottles and room in your refrigerator, there is another low-waste option to store your baby milk in the fridge or freezer: reusable glass bottles. Instead of using single-use plastic zip-top bags, purchase affordable and reusable glass bottles in 180 ml or 240ml to store the milk instead.
Even better, try to purchase a specialised glass bottle brand that can contain, freeze, and warm the milk safely, and be durable enough to clean and sanitise in the dishwasher.
buy reusable eating and drinking utensils
Are you tirelessly washing and drying dishes, while using up loads of water and cleaning ingredients? Do you feel like you are sending endless piles of paper cups, plates, and straws to landfill every single time your child has a birthday party?
Reduce waste by investing in kid-friendly fashion with dishwasher-safe plates, cups, and utensils. Made from glass, metal or silicone, these reusable items are a safer choice for the environment, and a more waste-conscious choice for your family!
reduce paper waste when cleaning
Have any extra 100% cotton baby washcloths that are not being used? In the same way disposable nappies can be swapped for cloth nappies, why not go the whole way - and swap paper towels for bulk washcloths to clean with? They are not only more durable, and washable – but much less expensive and can be reused for quick accidents and those pesky little food emergencies – where you need to catch and clean quickly!
use less water
Although bath time can be fun and a beautiful way to connect with your newborn, it is no secret that an average bath can use up to 50 gallons of water at a time, and that newborns don’t need to bath too often at first, due to their delicate skin.
So, use your water wisely!
Fill up a smaller lukewarm bath, (saving hot water) in a large plastic bucket and fill it less than halfway, top-and-tail baby’s bath time quickly before they get too cold. If you’re game, you can also fill up some water in your sink to avoid buying more plastic.
Also, running full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher will save water.
use natural skin care
Speaking of delicate skin, it pays to be mindful when deciding on what gentle skincare to use on your baby, since so many products can contain hidden nasties and cause eczema and other sensitive skin conditions.
So, choosing natural products that are toxic-free and paraben-free are great choices for you to make! Keen to search for the right brand?
Avoid harmful ingredients and artificial fragrances that can cause rashes by choosing elements such as camomile, zinc oxide, coconut oil, avocado oil and lotions containing shea butter.
Buying all-natural castile soap in bulk is also a great skin-friendly alternative when it comes to washing your bundle of joy!
choose eco-friendly toys
As your newborn gets older, you’ll notice that they love putting everything in their mouths. And while we as parents love a good dose of sensory development, we need to be careful about plastic toys that may be deemed to be toxic for our babies and the planet too! These include bath toys and play-time toys!
So, choose non-toxic, eco-friendly BPA free toys made from wood, organic cotton, silicone, wool and more! For the bath? 100% toxic-free rubber bath toys are also a great choice for curious little mouths!
choose a silicone teether
Choosing a sustainable teether to soothe baby’s gums is another great way to be more eco-conscious. Not only do they gently massage sore and achy gums, but many come in cute, multi-sensory colours and designs, and are also hygienically clean, dishwasher and steriliser safe, and made from food-grade silicone.
choose an eco-friendly play mat
Keen for your baby to have tummy time on a mat while boosting his/ her sensory skills with some eco-friendly hanging shapes? Say hello to responsibly sourced play mats featuring cotton balls, wooden shapes, and other sustainably sourced materials that you can now purchase online for bubs, created by child development specialists.
take baby outside in nature
Lastly, it is so important to take baby for a walk every day in the fresh air and natural sunlight. In fact, it is such a great way to take care of yourself too.
Getting your exercise in will give you some respite and tranquillity, plus expose your baby to the natural elements of life, and that is perfectly healthy.
Go for a walk in the park, or along the water. After all, breathing and moving is essential to getting your strength back after childbirth.
Whew! There you go – 17 tips to creating less waste with baby and kids in tow! Just remember, becoming eco-minded takes time, but in due course, and with daily practise, you will eventually get into the habit of embracing a waste-conscious lifestyle: with your ever-evolving family.