As modern parents, we think a lot about the future generations and how our actions today will impact our child’s tomorrow. At times it feels like a daunting task, saving the world from pollution and global warming. But the good news is that small and simple steps can make a difference. We don’t have to go to extremes to reduce our carbon footprint, collectively we all just need to make better choices. The future belongs to our children, and it’s up to us to protect it.
Everyday we place a vote with the dollars we spend. Making conscious decisions about the companies and brands we support is important. Purchasing products that are both high quality and contribute to pollution solutions is one of the easiest and most effective ways to be an environmentally friendly parent.
10 Simple Ways to Be a More Eco-Conscious Parent
1. Organic and Sustainable Baby Clothes - Baby clothing brands like Little Lentil Clothing are pioneering the market for baby clothes made with 100% organic cotton. Organic cotton is made without pesticides which is better for baby’s skin, benefits the earth and the farmers and workers who grow the cotton. In short, it’s a win-win for everyone!
Little Lentil Clothing also sells pre-loved clothes through their Loved Again program. Through Loved Again, customers are able to purchase quality used organic baby clothes that are still in great condition at up to half off the price of new items.
2. Reuse & Repurpose Baby Clothes - Once your baby has grown out of their clothes, it’s time to give them a second life by reusing or repurposing them. Little Lentil has an awesome program where you can send back the clothing you purchased for 15% off your next order!
3. Skin Products - I’ve had sensitive skin my whole life and I learned early on the dangers of putting chemicals on your body. After many years of rashes and inflamed skin, I only use products that are completely natural.
Many products at the drug store will make claims that they are dermatologist recommended, but buyer beware because often times they will still contains chemicals. These types of harsh ingredients are both bad for our skin but also unfriendly to the environment.
Scout inherited my skin and she’s had baby eczema breakouts from being in contact with skin irritants. Ever since she was born I’ve been sharing my natural skin products with her. We use the same bodywash, oils and moisturizers. Products such as Pleni Naturals are right on the money for us. These products carry the The MADE SAFE® label, meaning it has entirely safe ingredients and have been made cruelty free.
4. Making Homemade Baby Meals from Whole Foods - There are multiple benefits to making your baby’s food at home. First off, you have more control over the ingredients going into the food. Added sugar and sodium is not an issue with homemade meals. You’re using whole foods which cuts down on processing and preserves the nutrients. If you’re shopping at local produce and farmer’s markets then you’re also sourcing locally, cutting down on emissions and energy usage.
Making homemade baby food dramatically cuts down on plastic packaging that goes into our landfills. When we travel and I have to carry ready-to-eat baby food, I end up throwing out so much trash. At three meals a day, plus pre-made formula bottles, it ads up quickly!
5. Breastfeeding - The list of benefits for breastfeeding babies is a long one, so much good stuff comes from mother’s milk. An additional benefit is reduced packaging waste.
When you do need to make formula bottles with bottled water, boxed water and refill water jugs are the best choice. We keep our BPA free water jugs and take them to the store to re-fill. Keep that plastic out of our oceans!
6. Investing in Energy Efficient Appliances - With babies in the house, there’s more everything. More laundry, more dishes, and more water usage. We bought our house when I was pregnant with Scout and I made the conscious decision to save up to buy top of the line washer and dryer that reduces water usage and energy. My washing machine has a sanitary steam feature that kills bacteria without chemicals, perfect for reducing harmful toxins in the house.
7. Diaper Options - Unfortunately most diapers on the market today are not eco-friendly. This is one of those perfect situations where we vote with our dollars. We know babies go through a ton of diapers and a non-biodegradable diapers take hundreds of years to break-down. If you think about how many diapers your own child has used, it’s staggering to think about how many diapers are in landfills. Biodegradable diapers are estimated to breakdown in 50 years, which is obviously a much better number. Another great option is diaper compositing services, some will even deliver and pick-up from your home!
Cloth diapers are another option for eco-conscious parents. There are parents who swear by them, and for others the idea of washing cloth diapers every week seems cumbersome. One surprising benefit of cloth diapers is reduced cost. You will be washing laundry more often so the energy and water efficient washing machine really comes in handy.
8. Baby Consignment Toys & Gear - Babies grow so fast and there’s so many times where they outgrow their gear before it every really gets used. Baby consignment shops are filled with all types of toys and gear that are still in “like new condition”. Often times many items are still in the box! For example, my friend raved about the Tula Baby Carrier she had because her son loved it. I bought it full-price at $175 for Scout and she was not a fan. I attempted to use it a few times with her and she would just scream and cry. Lesson learned, I should’ve bought it consignment to save myself some money and keep items out of landfills.
9. Teaching Eco-Friendly Values - Our children will have to carry the torch when it comes to taking care of our earth. Teaching them the value of being eco-conscious from a young age will create healthy habits they’ll carry throughout their life. Compassion and empathy for animals and nature are values I want Scout to embrace and live by.
10. Sourcing Locally - A good rule of thumb for anyone (parent or not) is to always try and purchase your foods and goods locally. The benefits of local sourcing include reducing emissions and energy consumption from shipping goods and supporting your own community. An easy way to do this is shop at your local farmer’s market and buy your food and ingredients from local farmers. Shopping fair trade certified products is also another way to be a conscious and pro-active consumer.
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