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There is no better job on this planet than being a parent. It is amazing, fun, stressful, and on some days, downright difficult. The responsibilities of looking after another human are enormous. With so much to juggle, remembering to think about and care for our planet often takes a backseat, even though so many of us long to become more eco-friendly parents.
According to Berners-Lee, in his book How Bad Are Bananas?, having a child results in the release of anywhere between 210 and 5,000 plus tonnes of CO2, depending on how they are raised and if they continue to live in an eco-friendly way.
Therefore, it is especially important in today’s world to remember and be considerate of Mother Nature. There are many practical ways to incorporate eco-friendliness into your routines. Reducing your waste, taking more reusable options and choosing baby products that are more eco-friendly are all great things to take on board. But the list doesn’t stop there.
Here are 7 ways to make your parenting an eco-friendly endeavor.
1. Use What You Already Have
“One of the main pillars in sustainable parenting states the most sustainable version of anything is the one you already have,” explains Agnes Anderson, a lifestyle blogger at Boom Essays and Essay Roo.
If this is your first time having a baby, you might not have things like a pram. However, you will have other things that can be repurposed. A rucksack, for example, can be used as a baby changing bag. You can pull out elasticated trousers from your closet instead of buying maternity pants.
Use your creativity and see what you can repurpose around your house first before running to the shops.
2. Borrow From Family & Friends
If you have friends who have already had babies, ask them for items that you can use. A lot of mums will happily get rid of their prams for cheap or lend them to their other friends who need them. There is no need to always buy everything new. This is one of the best ways to reduce wastage and is super eco-friendly. Also, you are helping your friends clear out things they no longer have a use for, so they can free up space for more pressing things they might need now.
If you don’t have any friends who have had babies, join your local freecycle group and get some items off there and post a wanted ad if they don’t have what you are looking for.
3. Cut Out Disposables
Disposable anything causes so much wastage. A great way to be more eco-friendly as a parent is to ditch those disposable wipes. In the UK alone, over 10.8 billion a year make it to the landfill. There are reusable wipes out there, such as the ones you can get at cheekywipes.com.
While you’re at it, consider ditching disposable nappies for reusable cloth diapers. The average household waste with babies can be as much as halved by switching. However, if the idea of washing reusable diapers sounds like more than you can bear, consider using more eco-friendly alternatives which minimize their impact in landfills. The Honest Company is one of our favorites!
Don’t forget the food! Another great way to ditch disposables is by using refillable and washable food pouches instead of purchasing single-use preprepared food ones. A lot of the refillable pouches are even dishwasher safe.
4. Rent Items You Won’t Need Forever
You can rent tuxedos, dresses, linens and chairs, so why not rent the things your little one will need? You can rent baby clothes, prams and even toys through select services.
Worried about germs? All toy rental companies make sure their toys have been cleaned properly and disinfected before sending them out to a new family. This minimizes waste, keeps costs down, and reduces our carbon footprint.
Have a birthday party coming up? You can even rent a reusable party kit, helping keep party supplies out of landfills and helping keep our planet cleaner.
5. Go Outside
Don’t keep your child indoors all the time. Let them run free in the great outdoors. Taking your kids outdoors teaches them valuable lessons, like what it’s like being in the natural world and how to appreciate the world around them. It also requires no electricity whatsoever, so you won’t be draining energy.
Protip: If you have a park or hiking trail nearby, you don’t even need to drive anywhere—reducing fuel consumption and car pollution.
6. Do Laundry The Eco Way
Like our friends at Ryan Bros Coffee can attest, reducing water waste is important. Besides the obvious tip of making sure you don’t leave your taps running, consider how you do the laundry with a small child.
Babies are messy, and they get their clothes dirty—a lot. However, trying to wash one or two items at a time is a huge waste of water. Instead, make sure you have full loads of laundry when it comes time to open up that washing machine.
Also, use cold water instead of hot where possible, as hot water uses more energy than cold. An exception is if sickness has been lingering in your home. Hot water will kill off those remaining germs and is well worth the trade-off!
If you’re reading this, you’re likely already familiar with the health dangers of toxins and harsh chemicals in your detergents. But if not, it’s time to cut those out! With so many options for cleaner detergents, there’s no excuse to keep lathering up with carcinogens and pollutants. We like Ecos, Seventh Generation or TruEarth sheets. For the ultimate eco-friendly laundry experience, check out the laundry egg!
7. Train Up Your Kids
It’s no good trying to be more ecologically mindful if you are not passing down your knowledge and lifestyle changes to your children. If you are concerned about the environment, then teaching your child to have that same consideration for the world around them is important too. It’s never too early to get them excited about helping out the planet.
“A simple way to get your kids involved is by including them in litter picking,” says Jeffrey Jackson, a parent blogger at Paper Fellows and State of writing. They can help clean up their favorite place to play while learning about the dangers of plastic for their furry forest friends.
Protip: Make it a fun competition on who can pick up the most litter.
With the climate crisis looming over us, these 7 amazing tips are great ways to improve your eco-friendly parenting routines and help save our planet.
You might also be interested in: 15 Eco-Friendly Subscription Boxes [Save Money & Our Earth]
How To Be An Eco-Friendly Parent:
- Use What You Already Have
- Borrow From Family & Friends
- Cut Out Disposables
- Rent Items You Won’t Need Forever
- Go Outside
- Do Laundry The Eco Way
- Train Up Your Kids