There’s no doubt about it – children consume mass quantities. They can start with disposable diapers and plastic-lined bottles, and then move to pre-wrapped snacks and juice boxes. Don’t forget the equipment like car seats and bouncy seats that are used for five minutes and then outgrown. They go through clothes, toys, and books like they are going out of style.
Over the years, I’ve contributed my fair share (and then some) to landfills on behalf of my children (diapers! disposable travel bottles! trees and trees worth of paper towels! the occasional infant onesie so bombed by poop I couldn’t bring myself to save it!)
Here are a few ways we’ve found to reduce waste without really trying. I find if it takes no effort, I’m far more likely to do it at this point in my life:
1) We have always used reusable containers for lunches and snacks.
2) My kids live in secondhand clothes. Oh sure they get the occasional new item, but mostly it’s handed down by cousins and friends. When they’re done with things, I sell or pass them on to others. Why not?
3) We get big items, like my daughter’s bike, secondhand. On the same note, we passed on our giant stroller when we were done with it.
4) We use cloth napkins. They’re pretty, and they make dinner more fancy.
5) Unless there’s bodily fluid involved, we wash clothes in warm or cold, not hot water. Exceptions to this rule: I tend to wash in hot more when we get notices from school about diseases going around.
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