Spring is in the air – finally – and Earth Day is coming up this weekend (Sunday, Apr. 22). Sometimes in the haste of our busy lives, making ecological choices takes a back seat to convenience when we are running around between work, family and other obligation. But loving Our planet doesn’t have to be hard, even when you’re short on time. Here are five easy ways to make a difference without missing a beat.
Consider Cloth Diapers
Ya, ya, I know, you’re envisioning all kinds of yucky stuff and hours of labour fastening cotton squares on a wiggly baby with safety pins. But not anymore! That might have been the reality when you and I were diapered a few decades ago, but not today. Modern cloth diapers come in lots of different styles at many different price points and lots of them are as easy to put on as a disposable (right down to the velcro closures if you prefer that over snaps). Plus you can’t beat the adorable prints of this fashionable and environmental choice. All you do is plop solids into the toilet and store them in a washable wet bag to be washed every 2 or 3 days. It’s as easy as tossing them in the washing machine (wet bag included) and they come out sparkling clean. Really, washing machines are pretty magical things. The odour is less than disposables (no joke) and cloth diapers contain poo-explosions way better than those flimsy plastic disposables. Save yourself about $2000 and give it a try. You’ll keep upwards of 6000 plastic diapers out of a landfill and all you need is 24-30 cloth diapers. You don’t even have to cloth diaper exclusively. Each cloth diaper you use can divert 300 from the garbage and every little bit counts. Give cloth diapers a try, you might like it. Find a great selection of diapers and advice here.
If you’re like me you’ll be shocked how much waste happens when you start feeding kids solid food. Between baby food jars, pre-packaged snacks, formula containers, juice boxes, and plastic cutlery, it really ads up over the year. Going re-usable can really help you save some green and reduce your footprint at the same time. Look for re-useable baby food pouches to fill with applesauce or purees when you’re out on the run, invest in stainless steel or glass bottles and silicone containers for bottle feeding and/or storing pumped breastmilk and look for food-safe cloth baggies for storing kid snacks. AppleCheeks MiniMini and MiniZip sacs are perfect for goldfish crackers, raisins, pretzels and other tasty treats in lunch kits and Re-Play Recycled Tableware takes the fuss out of sippy cups, snack storage and kids bowls, dishes and utensils by recycling milk jugs to make their surprisingly inexpensive and colourful products. Bonus, they’re indestructible, unbreakable, dishwasher safe and when you’re done with them you can recycle them again!
Zero-Waste Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Wash your hair and get soft clean locks without the chemicals and plastic with bottle-less shampoo bars. They work just like a bar of soap, but you lather them onto your hair instead. They are long lasting, scented beautifully with natural essential oils and don’t contain any of the toxic stuff in your regular shampoo. Great for kids and adults too. And yes, there are conditioner bars as well. Check out O’Canada Soapworks for Canadian-made options made right close by in Canmore, Alberta.
Reusable Swim Diapers
Even if you aren’t one to cloth diaper, reusable swim diapers are still where it’s at. No one wants to be the one to shut down the pool and reusable swim diapers are not only better at containing accidents, they’re also more comfortable for baby and less expensive in the long run. No quibbles about washing these either, just toss them in with your other swim gear and use them over and over again. They are perfect not only for the swimming pool (all year long), but also great for the beach, out at the lake, in the local splash park and in the bathtub at home. No more accidental poo in the tub with an adorable swim diaper to save the day! They even adjust with snaps to fit babies as they grow so you don’t need to buy a ton of sizes as baby gets bigger. They also make super baby gifts. See them here.
Wool Dryer Balls
Last but not least, ditch the dryer sheets shall we. Wool dryer balls have you covered as an easy alternative. Just keep 4-6 of them in the dryer and they toss around with your clothes reducing static, softening your clothing and shaving minutes off your drying time too. They last forever so no re-occurring cost for dryer sheets, contain no chemicals to get onto your clothing and are so simple you don’t even need to remember them. They stay in your dryer until the next load needs drying. They are made from felted sheep wool so completely natural and can even be scented with your favorite essential oil for those that like to add a little pizzazz to laundry day ;) Saving the planet can be done one day at a time; it doesn’t have to be overwhelming, expensive, difficult or different than what you’re already doing. Lots of small changes add up to making a big difference. A lot of stores have Earth Day sales on an annual basis, check out a few and get started on the path to a greener tomorrow today.
Stephanie is the Owner of Cloth Diaper Kids, an Alberta-based online speciality boutique offering cloth diapers and green baby products to North American families. They are the cloth diapering experts! Check out their Earth Day sales starting now at www.ClothDiaperKids.com.