Waste Free Parenting

When a new baby arrives in the house, so many things change. Your routine turns into what routine?  Your total outlook on life changes because you have a little person to love and protect. And your waste increases by about 50% because of all of the disposable products we tend to use for babies.

Over the following years, the baby grows and so do the things we waste. Disposable nappies, single use products, food scraps from half eaten foods, plastic and packaging from toys… the list goes on.

One of the things we seem to have lost touch with is, where does all of this unnecessary waste end up? Well, I can tell you. It ends up in a landfill, which is like a time capsule of our obsessive plastic-packaged disposable generation.

We seem to think that it will all go away one day. But we are filling up our precious planet with rubbish that will become a problem for future generations which includes your kids and grandkids. Who will tidy up the 8 million tonnes of plastic going into the ocean every year? Who faces the potential of contaminated land and unswimable lakes and rivers?  Future generations, that’s who.

Our grandparents were frugal and didn’t waste anything, our parents were facing the beginning of disposable products but were still keen to recycle and recover products, and our generation has created a monster that our kids will be left trying to fix long after we are all gone.

I have been educating parents for a number of years on what a landfill is, why we need to proactively reduce waste and recycle properly, what happens when you flush the so-called flushable products down the toilet, and most importantly, why we need to make some serious changes in our behaviour towards waste.

In this article, I want to share some top tips for reducing waste with you that are simple and should be day to day no-brainers!

“Flushable” products:

Flushable liners & wipes, sanitary products, kitchen paper towels and anything that is not toilet paper are… not flushable. They block council sewer lines! If you do flush any of these products, the potential outcome is that they get stuck in the sewer line and cost a fortune to tidy up. If they do somehow get through, they get scooped out at the wastewater treatment plant and are sent to landfill.

Takeaway coffee cups:

A person that has one takeaway coffee per day (Monday – Friday) will send 260 coffee cups to the landfill per year. The obvious solutions here are simple, get a reusable cup and reuse it hundreds of times, or take an extra 10 mins out of your day and sit and drink it at the café and read the paper.

There are tonnes of options these days, so you’re spoilt for choice really!

Left over kids food scraps:

Kids often take a bite or slobber all over their food and then we throw it away. The best system to dispose of uneaten (or partially eaten) food is a Bokashi bin. This is the only system that I know of that you can put meat scraps (Raw and cooked), and slobbered on foods into. It is a simple two bin system that doesn’t smell, and breaks down food really quickly in a small space.

Check it out here for more info.

Reusable nappies:

Modern cloth nappies are easy to wash, just rinse them in the loo and chuck them in your washing machine at the end of the day. Cloth nappies have changed and so have the washing machines. 4They are simple, easy to use products that in my experience contain the dreaded “Poonamis” better than disposables.

No more pins – Velcro and domes are here to stay! They make cloth nappies super easy to put on and when they come in loads of funky colours and prints, you won’t want to take them off!

Modern cloth nappies mean you have loads of fabric choices including – Bamboo  & Hemp (great for sensitive skin), Cotton (durable and super absorbent), Microfiber (fast drying).

Plus you can save a fortune!

Check out my website for more information.

BYO bags to the supermarket:

Reusable bags just make sense! Once you have seen the amount of plastic bags flying around in a landfill it is quite disturbing!!  You may have recently seen the whales and giant turtles that have died and had stomachs full of plastic bags. They look like jellyfish in the water so they eat them thinking it is food. Past generations never used plastic bags but we seem to get one in every shop we go in to.

Reusable or paper straws:

Plastic straws are in the top 10 marine debris waste items. They are hideous things that are creating such unnecessary waste!  Get a few stainless or glass straws, they’re great to pop into the car or use compostable paper straws for kids parties.

It’s super easy to find options from awesome Kiwi distributors!

Waste Free Lunch Boxes:

Why should a school or daycare have to deal with all of our single-use packaged items every day?

Schools all over the country are working on being waste free. With all of the amazing lunch box options available these days, reducing lunch box waste is so simple! Get a bento lunch box that means the food doesn’t need to be packaged – Buy food in bulk and pack it straight into the lunch box.

Also, in talking with a number of schools they are concerned about the high sugar foods we are giving out kids. When my friends and I were kids, lollies and chips were only for birthday parties – but now they are day to day products. Scale it back and give the kids real foods that are not processed, like fruit, sandwiches, and a home baked biscuit. That’s all we had and we were fine!

Want to Learn More?

If you are keen to learn even more, come to one of the various workshops that I run all over NZ.  You will also walk away with a bag of goodies to get you started from your local council.

It is time to open our eyes and stop living in a bubble pretending everything will be ok. We only have one planet and we need to look after it, otherwise, where will our future generations live?

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