DISCLAIMER: This post may contain affiliate links, including from Amazon. This means after trying a particular product, I love it enough that I am willing to recommend it to others and the company will pay me a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to purchase from my affiliate link. I will only recommend products and services that I have tried myself and love. Please click here for my full disclaimer.
I never used to care so much about reducing waste in our household before I became a mother. “That was someone else’s problem”, said the selfish 22-year-old.
Our journey to reducing the waste in our household started just after my daughter was born and I realised that this world was hers too. And she would be living in it well beyond my time on this planet.
Although I’d started doing considering the environmental impact of our lifestyle and taking small actions here and there (reducing shower times etc), the crystallising moment for me was a picture from the Modern Natural Baby Facebook page about disposable nappies in landfill that someone posted in my ‘Natural Parenting’ Facebook page. I was horrified.
Not only is reducing your household’s waste good for the environment, but it’s also good for your wallet.
Here are some of my favourite ways that we reduce waste since I became a mum.
#1. Cloth Nappies
Did you know that the average child will contribute at least 2500 disposable nappies to landfill, per year?
Did you know each disposable nappy will take about 500 years to break down? That means the very first disposable nappies used in the 1930s have not even broken down. They are still sitting in landfill. That’s a lot of disposable nappies in landfill.
We went full-time cloth (with a flushable biodegradable bamboo liner to make cleaning the poopy nappies easier) when Ella was about two months old. The added benefit is that, although the initial outlay was a little expensive ($300 odd), the savings from not purchasing disposable nappies has been astronomical.
Typically, a box of brand-name Nappies costs $33 from the big chain supermarket (if you don’t get them on special).
Full-time nappies usually mean going through a box per week. $33 x 52 = $1716 spent on nappies each year.
And typically, a child is in nappies until they are two and a half to three years of age. Then you need to factor in baby wipes and nappy disposal bags if you don’t want your bin to stink!!
That’s a shit ton (pun intended) of waste going into landfill. And a lot of money spend on nappies.
For simple cloth nappy solutions, I started with Alva baby pocket cloth nappies because they were inexpensive to purchase for full-time use and readily available.
I am super-keen for Ella to have a garden and backyard to grow up in.
What parent doesn’t want their kid to enjoy a childhood playing in a beautiful yard, limited only by their own imaginations?
Right now, our massive backyard is a sandpit, hosting many large weeds fresh from winter.
I want to landscape it into a beautiful grassed yard with a vegetable patch and a couple of trees for Ella to enjoy.
During the summer this year, we will be slowly transforming our blank canvas into a beautiful yard. In order to get the backyard viable for lawn to grow, trees to flourish and vegetables and fruit to thrive, we need to cultivate the soil.
Compost can be expensive if bought and we have plenty of organic scraps to make our own compost!
We bought ourselves a tumbling compost bin. This easy-tumble bin was probably unnecessary but Adam insisted because he didn’t want to manually turn compost. And lets face it, he’d be doing most of the manual aerating of compost.
From here, we place all our organic waste from fruit and vegetables, lawn clippings, eggshells. I even harvest coffee grounds from pods from our coffee machine to place in the compost.
We just used our first lot of compost on some potted plants to test it and they are starting to look healthier. Once we know that our composting is successful, we will be spreading it over the yard to prepare it for laying the lawn.
Even once we have completed our DIY backyard project, we will continue to compost because why waste scraps and have them in plastic garbage bags and landfill, when they can make my garden healthy?
#3. Grey Water Collection
One of our biggest concerns with adding in lawn and plants when we make-over the backyard is having a very green backyard was the extra use of water.
Where we live in Australia, the dams are always below capacity and the government is always campaigning for households to reduce their water usage.
So, the last thing we wanted was to use more water. We are very fortunate where our laundry is situated that grey water collection will be very easy.
We have put a collection unit outside the laundry room in the backyard and have it run onto the law. The ultimate goal is to hook it up to reticulation for the lawn and veggie patch, but we can start by manual watering to reduce waste.
#4 Second-hand clothing
Kids outgrow clothing very frequently.
While department stores like Target make it extremely affordable to fill an entire wardrobe with brand new items, filling an entire wardrobe with clothes that are used primarily for primarily for playing and exploring is hardly sustainable for the environment.
I am fortunate that many of my mum-friends offer boxes of hand-me-downs for my daughter and then once I know what we have, I make a list of seasonable items we still need and then scour the Buy and Sell pages of Facebook and op-shops.
If I can’t find an item we need, such as a winter coat, only then will I buy it new. Sometimes, I even make things like coats and leggings out of upcycled material or from my fabric stash.
Once Ella has outgrown that size, I box everything up, offer it to friends first and then whatever is leftover gets sold on the same Facebook Buy and Sell pages or donated to the Op shops.
Second-hand clothing isn’t just for kids. I have snagged some brilliant pieces that friends didn’t want or that were offered cheaply on a Buy and Sell page.
Check out your local buy and sell pages or local op shops to snag some bargains and do your part to reduce the waste caused by clothing.
What do you do in your household to reduce your carbon footprint? Comment below or jump on the facebook thread so I can add more eco-friendly habits to my household.