Go Green, Baby!!
Babies may be tiny, but they sure consume a whole lot of products for their size - and selecting environmentally friendly options that are both convenient and affordable is a challenge face by many new parents. First time parents especially may feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of various baby products available. That's not to mention the new little person and lack of sleep - which can make choosing the easy option very tempting, even if it's not the best choice for the environment. But there are green baby products that will make life with the newest member of your family pleasant for both you and the earth!
Let's start with the biggest environmental offender in the baby aisle: the diaper. Despite the recent resurgence of cloth diapers in popularity, most parents still reach for disposables. When confronted with the task of washing cloth diapers, many exhausted new moms just don't have it in them. The good news is there are other options available that can provide the convenience of disposable diapers with the earth friendliness of cloth. Enter the G Diaper! This newcomer to the market has made a splash with a cloth diaper cover that uses a flushable, biodegradable liner. The liners are only a little more expensive than disposable diapers, but they won't spend eternity in a landfill. As with all cloth diapers, there is a higher initial expense to the G Diaper when you purchase the outer liners, which are washable. After that, you need only to buy the liners. There are also a lot of new types of cloth diapers on the market that are easier to use than the old fashioned ones. If you don't want to wash, consider a diaper service. While you will put more money out up front with these options, they will likely save you money in the long run.
Feeding your baby can be complicated as well. Breastfeeding of course is about as earth friendly as it gets, but even if you are nursing, there may be times when a bottle is necessary. When choosing bottles, and later cups, look for recyclable materials. Due to new laws, baby bottles no longer contain the dangerous chemicals that were once a major concern. However, plastic bottles are still going to wind up in landfills forever if they aren't recycled. Look for the recycling code on the bottom of the bottle. Alternatively, you could opt for glass, which is considered the safest chemical-wise and is always recyclable. When you move on to solid foods, consider making your own. It's fresher, healthier, cheaper, and yes, greener. Although those baby food jars are recyclable, you still have to consider the resources that went into their production. Far more waste than running your food processor for a minute or two!
Recently, there has been a great deal of uproar over unsafe baby toys and gear. Lead paint and chemicals in plastic have made the news repeatedly, spawning a great demand for safer alternatives. Try to choose locally made wood toys with non-toxic paints for your child. You will support a craftsman and reduce the endless pile of plastic in landfills. Of course, it's not possible to have everything be made this way. When you do buy mass-produced toys and gear, research the company - there are many making strides these days towards greener practices. You are the consumer - by supporting these companies, you take a stand.
Babies make waste, there's no two ways about that - but with thoughtful purchases you can make choices for your little one that are better for both baby and the earth.