Whether you’re a new parent or one preparing to have your second or third child, it’s not hard to notice that the world around is constantly talking about endless lists of “must-have” items for your baby. With every recommendation, do you find yourself wondering if these things are truly necessary? 

As a society, experts globally believe that we have become too comfortable purchasing things that we might not necessarily need to make us feel in order to feel prepared as parents. 

It is this need to use or purchase things that may not necessarily be useful that prompted the adoption of what we call a zero waste Lifestyle. Simply put, "zero waste" is a way of life that promotes the goal of reducing the amount of material we throw away. It Asks that we instead reincorporate the by-products of one system for use in another system. The aim is ultimately to reduce and eventually eliminate the need for landfills and incinerators.

With all these purchases and gifts that you receive, you may wonder if it’s possible to come close to adopting a zero-waste lifestyle with a baby on your arm. Well, Little & Brave, is here to tell you that it is possible to live a zero-waste lifestyle with a baby! Read on for the basics below.  

Baby Waste Generated

In the chaos of welcoming a new member into the family, it’s perfectly normal for families to get swept up in the flurry of buying every possible ‘need’ you might think important. However, faced with the environmental impacts of all our purchases including mountains of dirty plastic-based nappies and piles of clothes that our babies quickly grow out of, it’s important to refuse to buy where you can. 

Globally, experts put the figure of discarded clothing at more than 20 billion pounds every year; Much of this waste is children’s clothing, as they grow out of garments quite quickly. In addition to this, the volume of waste from the harmful packaging of numerous baby-care products contains toxins and forms of plastics that aren’t good for the baby or the water supply. In the following paragraphs, we’ll give you simple ways to work your zero lifestyle, even with a baby! Rest assured - this has been boiled down to the basics.

Zero Waste Tips with Baby

1. Second-hand Clothing

Babies grow up and out of their clothes and footwear very quickly with pediatricians estimating this rate of growth at 1 inch or more every month! With this in mind, it is important to reuse what you can. 

Thrifted items are those that have been loved by a previous owner but are usually in good shape with enough life left to be useful to a new owner. With a little bit of conscious buying and keeping an eye out for garage sales, making use of clothing that has been pre-loved ensures that fewer things are thrown away. 

This is why purchasing secondhand clothing is a viable option in terms of finances, and environmentally as well. The baby clothing available at thrift shops is most often in excellent condition and is likely to be very affordable, having been worn only for a few months or weeks at best.

2. Used Baby Toys

Reusing toys that were once loved by a different child is a great way to keep your little one entertained without poking too deep into a hole in your pocket. As explained above, extending the lifespan of these items before they are disposed of for good is kinder on the planet. 

3. Swap Wipes with Reusable Washcloths

Disposable baby wipes are often riddled with microplastics and made with non-biodegradable materials when they are disposed of. Making a switch to reusable washcloths is more affordable, hygienic and kinder on the planet. Remember to use these gently on your baby’s delicate skin. 

4. Do away with Conventional Nappies

As you may recall from our post on The Benefits of Eco Nappies experts believe that at present, plastic disposable nappies are the third-largest single consumer item in landfills and formal studies have shown that the average baby uses seven nappies a day. These numbers add up drastically and result in about 6,500 nappies in two years! 

There are numerous eco-friendly alternatives that you could try instead. For example, Little & Brave’s compostable disposable nappies are safe for a baby’s sensitive skin and are made with wood pulp, a plant-based breathable biofilm, no oil-based plastics, and no chemicals – making them gentle on the earth. These nappies are less likely to end up in a landfill owing to our efficient composting plant and its process and even if it does, it’s easier for the earth to absorb them. Our commercial composting plant in Auckland has successfully diverted over a thousand tonnes of organic waste from landfills, and has produced over 100 tons of nutrient-dense compost with our Eco Nappies!

Head on over to our blog about  Eco-Friendly Diapers & Nappy Types for more information about your eco-friendly baby product options!

5. Think of the Baby’s Long-term Needs before Purchasing

Don’t give in to passing fads if you can help it! Although effective advertising might tell you of the life-changing benefits of say, a baby bum drier or a more fashionable onesie that your baby will outgrow in less than a few months, it is important to think of your little one’s long-term needs first. How soon they will outgrow or how often they will use a particular item is a helpful metric to use before buying something. 

6. Go Eco-Friendly with Baby Products

From baby care to baby wear, try to stick to materials that are easier for the planet to break down. This is inclusive of the packaging that the items come from and even the constituents of the baby moisturiser you might use. 

7. Minimise Packaging

While there are certain non-negotiable items that you may think are necessary for you to comfortably raise your baby, it’s possible to minimise the amount of packaging you purchase. The packaging used around perishable items is often excessive and contributes to the piles in landfills. Bearing this in mind, while snacking with your little one, you could try and avoid single snack packaging which produces excessive waste. Instead, buy your snacks in bulk and then put them in reusable snack pouches or glass Tupperware. You can even make your own baby food with a little bit of perseverance.

The Bottom Line

Living a zero-waste lifestyle with a baby is not impossible! Although it may seem daunting for first-time parents, or even parents looking to make a switch to more environmentally feasible options, just remember that the results of a pollutant-free, plastic-free, and less wasteful lifestyle are most certainly worth it. The planet and your children will thank you every day for a brighter and cleaner future.