At the risk of sounding trite… Parenting is tough. I’m not even talking about the sleepless nights, the logistical considerations, the phD in engineering you need to instal most car seats or the near perpetual state of exhaustion that people jokingly remind you will only last for 18 years or so… It’s having to make tough decisions every day. To be a parent is to second guess every move you make, every decision you arrive at and basically everything you do. You want to do the right thing not just for the tiny life for which you’re now responsible, but for the planet in which they’ll grow up. Since every little helps, here are some ways in which you can look after your child while also working towards a more sustainable future.
Food and formula
Many of us use ready made baby foods for the sake of convenience, but these are often packaged in non-recyclable plastics. Make your own (it’s way cheaper) or opt for brands that use organic produce packaged in readily recyclable materials like glass jars. If your family has adopted a plant based diet and lifestyle in the name of animal advocacy and sustainability, you’ll be happy to learn that there are a range of plant based baby formulas on the shelves so that you don’t have to compromise your beliefs to give your children the best nutrition. Make sure that it is served in an eco friendly BPA free baby bottle which can be reused by someone else or recycled after use.
We all know that disposable nappies are lousy for the environment with landfills around the world full of the little stinkers which can take 150 years to break down. Yup, that’s right, the nappies you wore as a baby are still floating around out there somewhere. Avoid disposable nappies and opt for washable and reusable counterparts (the same goes for sanitary towels, too!). Don’t like the idea of washing soiled nappies? Opt for a biodegradable alternative instead.
Toys are enormously important to a child’s development. They’re not only a means of exploring the world around them, they’re a friend and a source of comfort and entertainment for your child. But in an age where almost all toys are made from plastic, finding a sustainable alternative is impossible, right? Wrong! There are still toys made from more sustainable materials like wood such as the Grimms Rainbow Toys at Baba Me. Your child’s development and happiness needn’t come at the expense of the environment.
Textile waste is a monolithic environmental hazard and while it’s important to wash and sell or give away your baby clothes after your child has outgrown them, it’s also essential to take the time to find sustainable clothing. Look for clothes made of organic fair trade cotton. They’re not only ethically sourced and biodegradable, they feel great on baby’s skin and can help prevent rashes.
Being a sustainable family needn’t be costly or add more effort into an already busy schedule. It’s simply a matter of knowing your options and making the right choices.