Children can create an incredible amount of waste and using reusable products, where you can, is an excellent way to reduce this. You might choose to use reusable cloth nappies, which prevent so many disposable ones sitting in landfill for hundreds of years or swap out disposable wipes for reusable ones. Reusable wipes are the unsung heroes of reusable products - good for bums, little ones faces, hands, your own face.. Reusable period products are another great swap, whether you prefer a cup, pants or pads there are plenty of options out there. I found reusable nursing pads to be one of the easiest swaps; because using them was a new routine, I didn't have any prior experience or preferred products which meant it was easy to buy a set of reusable pads. They lasted me well over a year and are now washed and packed away ready for next time. Another reusable option that is often overlooked is a wet bag. Whilst they are vital if you use cloth nappies, they are also perfect for popping dirty clothes in on a day out, or swimwear after a dip. So many people use a plastic bag for these things and using a wet bag is a cheap and effective way to prevent more plastic entering the environment.
Sometimes getting out of the door with children can feel impossible. So many things to prepare and remember. Packing your bag the night before can make that morning routine a little smoother and give you the chance to consider what snacks and drinks you'll need. Taking your own snacks and drinks will save you money but also avoid you needing to use any single use plastics. Being prepared also means you can buy snacks in bulk and then decant at home to avoid even more plastic packaging.
Whether through deliveries or other purchases, we all get packaging at one time or another. This packaging can be reused as an art project, a box fort, to make a castle, a car ramp or anything else you or your little one can imagine! The ReCycleMe brand are brilliant if you are looking for inspiration to use up the recycling we often have around our homes such as toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes and more!
If you choose to buy new clothes, you should try to shop for items that last well and avoid fast fashion choices. Although these items, particularly organic cotton options can cost more, you need less, they last better and can be handed down between children and beyond and avoid the high energy, wasteful processes of manmade fibres. Keep an eye out for GOTS certified items, as for a brand to be certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard, they need to meet a selection of criteria that protect the environment, your little ones skin and the workers who create the items. It is the leading worldwide standard for clothing which includes strict environmental and social criteria to the whole supply chain - maintaining the integrity and traceability of the finished product. The factories are also regularly audited to ensure that the workers are provided with a safe, clean environment and paid a living wage.
This brings me onto my 5th point about toys. As a society, we have created so many toys and options for children. When purchasing toys, whether for a birthday, Christmas or a treat - consider if it will last, if there will be continued opportunity for play in a variety of ways (open ended), it meets a specific need for your little one or if there is an eco friendly alternative (fair trade, FSC certified etc). Also consider, if you have plastic toys, or already have a similar item - the most zero waste thing you can do is not replace things that aren't broken!