Sustainability in parenthood.. is there such a thing? I’ve been thinking a lot about the environment since I became a parent. Maybe I’m more wired to care and be aware of the world I’m leaving behind for my daughter or maybe I’m just old and watching the news now like my parents and trying to armchair quarterback the world’s problems.
What I do know is that parenthood brings with it a whole new level of waste. Have you ever shopped on Amazon? It’s literally mama’s little helper but the amount of packaging drives me up the wall. Single serving pouches of apple sauce and goldfish… all that plastic just piling up in our recycling bin makes me feel terrible.
Here are a few things I started doing to offset our family footprint. (Am I going to save the world with this post? Absolutely not. But I do think small changes can make a big difference. Maybe I’m just trying to make myself feel better, or be more accountable… but hey, it’s a start.)
- Hand Me Downs
Some people really poo-poo this idea or think it’s gross or something… but I LOVE me some hand-me-downs. Maybe because this was how I was raised (you might find it odd, but most of my clothes, including school uniforms, were from a taller friend or someone’s older sister- yes I was on TV as a kid and yes I still wore other people’s old clothes).
I would say 80% of Georgia’s clothes are hand-me-downs. The rest are gifts. I have bought her maybe 5 items of clothing in her lifetime, period. I know, poor Cinderella, I’m such a mean mommy! Granted, I have multiple girlfriends in my tribe who have older girls and are happy to pass on their gently used (and adorable, might I add) duds.
Bins for days…
But I’m not afraid of a re-sale shop. In fact, once we found out we were having a boy, I separated a box of keepsakes, gave some other favorites to a friend of mine with a tiny girl, and took the rest to a re-sale shop for a credit where I can pick out some boy clothes. Yes, I’m frugal. But I’m also just practical.
Okay, they’re my shoes but she still looks pretty cute!
Here’s my feeling about it- kids grow out of stuff so quickly. And aside from a special occasion or holiday, they could care less about what they’re wearing while they’re scooping dirt over their head and painting their T-shirt with Mac and Cheese hands.
And if I paid good money for those clothes I would have an anxiety attack every time my toddler did something messy… which is literally every 75 seconds.
Not to mention the first year of life – Georgia spit up so much I was changing her onesies 2-3 times a day so my feeling on this is… save your money. Because preschool ain’t cheap and it comes real fast.
Didn’t know if she’d even like ballet. Why pay for an outfit?
2. Single serving anything/Zip-lock Nation
We are all about snacks in my house. 10:30am, on the dot, no matter where we are, Georgia is demanding a snack like the tiny cracker tyrant she is. She’s also the queen of wanting something and finishing half.. leaving me to constantly bag leftovers because I have a real problem with waste. I hate all the plastic in our bins after both such occasions. I found these Stasher bags and I swear, we use them
for so many purposes in our house. These non plastic bags are BPA free, self sealing and can be used to store food, boil, freeze and steam! I stick snacks in the tiny ones, freeze fruit in the large ones and even use them to tote crayons, toys, etc. Turn them inside out and stick them on the top of your dishwasher and they’re clean. Best invention ever. *Also founded by a woman, which is just cool.
3. Reusable pouches and glass cubes
When Georgia was just starting solids I blended a lot of different foods for her and even now, if I make vegetables (and she doesn’t eat
them) I blend them up and freeze them for future use in smoothies or as stealthy veggies in pasta. These Eco-pouches are great for the baby stage – there is a resealable mouth at the bottom to fill them and I just washed them with a bottle brush after and stuck the caps in the dishwasher. WeanGreen makes these awesome glass cubes too which work great for freezing single servings of pureed veggies to thaw — or storing tiny lunch items!
4. Everyday plastic evils: Grocery bags and plastic straws
I’m not trying to sound elitist or alarmist here… but I am deeply troubled by the fact that every piece of plastic that has ever been created is still on this planet. EVERY SINGLE PIECE.
You are what you eat. yuck.
You guys! Where is it?? Most of it’s sadly in the ocean, floating around where fish eat it, effectively destroying their ecosystem and our food source. It’s disturbing to think about. I live in California where they stopped using free plastic bags in grocery stores but I’ve been using canvas and reusable ones for several years. I also try not to use the plastic baggies to bag my fruit and veggies…or I group several things into one bag and then reuse the bags as doggie poop bags at home. I mean, it’s something. My husband and I have started requested no straws at restaurants, and this is actually a little thing that can make a huge impact. Think about a football game or a stadium concert. When you leave… all those plastic cups and straws littering the floor and spilling out of the bins… and that’s just ONE game! A great alternative is paper straws – there’s a lot of cute ones out there for parties – and they are biodegradable. Costa Rica just became the fist country banning all single serving plastic– I think that’s pretty rad.
Okay, I know there’s so much more I can be doing but just putting out some little changes we’ve made. Is it weird that I’m kind of hoping my husband gives me a composting bin for christmas? Yes, it is. But I still want one.
I love our planet and I fear for it’s future for our kids. What other ways have you found to be sustainable?