My older sister, Kassy, will tell you that she's better at recycling than I am - and she's right. She's been actively collecting her recycling and finding ways to cut down on waste for the better part of a decade. Those who know her well know exactly how proud she is of her one partially-full garbage can next to her chock-full recycling can on the curb come garbage day. Since I became a mother, I began to realize that my actions have a huge impact on others. More specifically, I felt a great desire to leave the world a better place than I found it; a better place, that is, for my children (and for their peers).
In an effort to become more earth-friendly, I've tried to incorporate some more environmentally conscious choices into my routines. Now, I think some of the more sophisticated ways to recycle can have quite prohibitive start-up costs, so to speak. While the most dedicated of you Planeteers have taken up biking or walking as your primary mode of transportation, my kids require me to use a car. So, like all things in parenting - this is a balancing act. I'm certainly no eco-snob, but I'd like to encourage you. If you'd like to find small ways to consider the planet, consider this your starter kit.
Far too much of our waste consists of food packaging. Think about it - your average food will have probably two or three different protective materials surrounding it. Unfortunately, any of that packaging that directly touches your food isn't recyclable. Unless, of course, you wash it first. All that to say: while this is a huge area of waste, it's relatively easy to make a dent in your contribution.
Consider using reusable food bags for your produce in the grocery store. This bag allows cashiers to weigh your food easily and reduces demand for plastic produce bags. Cooking from scratch, of course, helps you avoid processed foods which are more likely to have multiple layers of packaging. Once you have whipped up a delicious meal from your fresh produce, spend a bit of those grocery bill savings (bonus!) on a quality glass food storage system. I've personally replaced my saran wrap with Beeswrap (which I have heard is incredibly easy to DIY), and I've seen other moms use reusable "ziploc bags". At a certain point, when cleaning the thing becomes overly fussy, I call it good enough. Apparently ziploc bags are where I draw my line.
Listen, periods suck. Personally, I've enjoyed nursing my children if not for any other reason than I can delay the return of my cycle. Ugh. The average tampon or pad has a bunch of chemically things inside, which is super scary, considering that other trusted companies have hurt women in the past (ahem, Johnson & Johnson). So, to avoid any weird vagina chemical cocktail - and to save a bit of money - I recommend trying a cup, reusable pads, or period underwear. I've only used a cup, which works well for me, but friends of mine swear by Thinx and say it's incredibly freeing. I don't have the funds for fancy panties at the moment, but I'll take their word for it. Bonus: no stinky trash!
This one is pretty straight forward. While some may claim that cloth diapering isn't the most environmentally friendly option (and yes, it has its flaws), it's much better than disposables. Which, of course, require 9 gallons of water to produce and end up in a landfill to contaminate our groundwater with human fecal matter. But I digress. Modern cloth diapering is a lot like using disposables; I bet you'd be surprised how easy it is if you gave it a try. Now, I'll admit - this one has a startup cost in comparison to disposables, but it's far and away a money saver in the long run.
I haven't tried this one myself - if you have, please let me know! Some moms use glass baby bottles with natural rubber nipples for their children. These are the same old school bottles that our great grandmothers and grandmothers used for their children, which has a cool sense of nostalgia to it. Amazon even has fits-all nipples that can go over any mason jar to turn it into a bottle. Of course, they have sippy cup versions with a spout as well. Oh, Amazon - you think of everything!
Every grocery store and pharmacy has an organic baby skincare line. Each has their benefits - I personally loved the Babyganics gift set given to me at my baby shower for Shep. These products are plant-based, free of parabens and sulfates, and smell super delish! Rest assured that these lotions and potions are good for both Mother Earth and your beautiful baby.
Which of these products have you used as a mom? Are there other favorites I should add to this list? Let me know on Twitter @pi3sugarpi3.