Becoming an Eco Friendly Mom: How To Reduce Waste
This is the first part of a 3 part guest series on Becoming an Eco-Friendly Mom by Shelly Tirrell. I wanted to share some really tactical eco-friendly mom tips that I myself have been looking for and thought, "Who better than Shelly!" She is a mom blogger in the PNW who focuses on eco-friendly swaps for reducing everyday waste associated with running a household and raising babies. Sounds like a kindred spirit, right?! I invited her to share some of her best tips and experiences to help encourage us all to take a second look at the purchases we are making, and opting for better where possible. Because, the fact of the matter is, if we all make one swap today it will transform our planet and our health.
Without further ado, here is Shelly!
Hi there! My name is Shelly Tirrell from The Conscious Abode blog, and I’d like to share with you my insights on what it means to be an eco-friendly mom and exactly why it matters.
MY "AHA" MOMENT
Since becoming a mother, I have realized just how big of consumers we actually are. Before I had my son, I had zero experience around babies. I was a marketer’s dream. I didn’t know what I needed, or what I didn’t. In researching all the things I would need as a new mom, I started to realize one thing: many of the “must-have” products were very damaging to our planet in the long term.
From disposable diapers to squeeze pouch baby foods, there are so many single use items that plague the baby-product world. In addition, many of the toys and clothes we buy for our little ones are laden with plastic--all of which eventually ends in a landfill or our oceans.
Realizing the amount of waste that is associated with raising little humans, I decided to create a resource for parents to reduce their waste as much as possible. Being a mom can be hard, but lessening the impact of your little ones shouldn’t be. The Conscious Abode was created to help new moms navigate the world of sustainable living, all while still enjoying modern conveniences.
So what exactly does it mean to be an “eco-friendly” mom? The term “eco friendly” means “not harmful to the environment,” according to the Oxford Dictionary. Therefore, an eco friendly mom is simply one that raises her children in a way that is not damaging to the planet. We can accomplish this in three ways:
- Reduce Waste
- Become Conscious Consumers
- Raise Eco Friendly Children
"An eco friendly mom is simply one that raises her children in a way that is not damaging to the planet"
These three actions will help to reduce our impact on the environment and ensure our planet is enjoyable for future generations. Over the course of this three part series, I will dive deeper into each of these topics, exploring what it means to be an eco friendly mom. First up, let’s consider how to reduce our waste.
HOW TO REDUCE WASTE
The “zero waste” movement has been gaining momentum over the past few years. As consumers, we are taking actions to reduce our consumption and transition away from single use products. We are making great progress!
As a mom, I think the term “zero waste” can be a bit intimidating. Afterall, how can we completely eliminate our waste, especially with kids? Because of this, I’ll use the term “low waste” instead, which I think better emphasizes a more sustainable way of living.
There are 4 aspects to low waste living:
STEP ONE: REDUCE
As an eco friendly mom, I try my best to keep this in mind when shopping for my home and family. When I’m about to buy a product, I ask myself, "Do I really need this?” If the answer is yes, I’ll consider how I can use it in a way that will reduce what our needs will be in the future.
A great example of this is diapers. As moms, we absolutely need to buy diapers for those first few years of baby’s life. But, can we buy more sustainable versions rather than the typical plastic disposables? Are there cloth options? Biodegradable options? Really work to find better replacements of the products you absolutely need.
STEP TWO: REUSE
When it comes to products already in your home, consider how you might reuse or re-purpose them before throwing them away. Toothbrushes can become cleaning tools. Baby food jars can become storage for craft items. The list goes on and on, be creative and find new uses for all your old products!
With children, you’ll always be needing new items as they grow. The rate at which they grow requires constantly buying bigger clothes and more advanced toys. The best way to tackle this need is by shopping resale. There are so many fantastic resale shops with high quality baby products. Opting for previously loved items can prevent new products from being made, and will also save you quite a bit of money--it’s a win, win!
STEP THREE: REFUSE
Becoming aware of things you don’t really need is a huge part of the eco-friendly mom lifestyle. This goes for everything from toys to clothes to groceries. So next time you are at Target, keep walking past that giant plastic baby jumper that you really don’t need. As hard as it is, say no to those adorable baby socks that you already have a ton of. At the grocery store, say "No Thanks" to single use grocery bags and instead bring your own.
These are simple solutions that allow for you to reduce your waste, and keep unnecessary products out of your home.
STEP FOUR: RECYCLE
When it comes to household items, sometimes we can’t help but buy packaged products. Despite our best efforts, some items make it into our home that will eventually end up in the garbage. Rather than send it to the landfill, do your best to recycle. Research what your local recycling facility accepts, and be sure to sort accordingly.
With all the bad press recycling has gotten over the past few years, I still think its an acceptable last ditch effort to keep items from the landfill.
Adopting the 4 "R's" of low waste living can greatly reduce the environmental impact of your family. While it may seem small, your efforts really do add up to make a big difference! For more information on low waste living, download my free Waste Free Living eBook, and keep up the great work!