11 Ways to Reduce WASTE With Kids
Updated: May 27
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My zero waste journey started shortly after our second child was born.
learning to reduce waste and avoid plastic with children can be a challenge but it is possible .
If I didn’t have kids I would probably be almost completely zero waste by now ...But I have kids and I wouldn’t change that for the world .
Not only do I have kids ... but I run a daycare in my home . My life is kids !
Throughout the passed year I have slowly learned some great ways to reduce my families footprint.
So how Can you go waste free with kids ?
1. Use What You Have
This one is so important .
Since I already had a toddler when this journey started I already had lots of plastic dishes , plastic toys , and plastic cups.
Don‘t get rid of them ! Use them for as long as you can .
The most zero waste thing you can do is not buy anything and make everything you own last as long as possible .
2. Pay attention to the toys you buy
I‘m not going to tell you that all your kids toys and games should be made of wood .
When you are buying toys ask yourself :
Is this a quality toy ?
Will It last or will it end up in the garbage right away ?
Will my child play with this toy often and for years to come?
Is there a more eco friendly alternative ?
Can I find it used ?
Do we need anymore toys ?
Could I spend my money on an experience for them instead?
With toys less is more !
Sometimes developing a minimalist approach can help .
Since I started to be aware of the items I bring into my home the toy section overwhelms me. There is so much junk being produced .
I'm learning what toys and games my children actually use and what is just a waste.
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3. Thrift when you can
Kids go through a lot of clothes and stuff ! They grow so fast!
It’s so easy to get caught up buying them brand new clothes, strollers, toys, and gear.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with that but thrifting is the best choice .
Not only will it save you tons of money but you are giving an item another life.
There are more than enough kids clothes out there.. There isn’t much NEED to buy new.
I have a great system going with one of my friends .She gives me all her daughters old clothes and I give her all my sons old clothes ! It’s perfect and completely waste free!
Thrifting is an amazing thing to do for everyone in the family!
4. Always have Your diaper bag packed and ready to go
Having your diaper bag packed at all times is really helpful when you leave the house in a rush .I find when I’m out and about and not prepared that’s when we tend to create the most waste.
(Click HERE to check out my Zero Waste Diaper Bag Essentials .)
Instead of buying overly packaged snacks make your own .
I make a batch of muffins once a week to replace granola bars .
If your kids love cookies bake some .
Baking is great because you know exactly what you are feeding your kids . I replace sugar in all my kids snacks with dates . They haven’t complained yet ....
I have even seen recipes for homemade goldfish crackers!
Get creative , get your kids involved, and have fun!
6. Buy your snacks in Bulk
If you have access to a bulk store you NEED to go check it out .
You can get some amazing snacks all package free .
My go to bulk snacks are :
Yogurt covered Raisins
7. Use cloth and rags for everything
If you have been using paper towels or napkins to clean your kids faces and hands after meals this is an easy switch .
Make sure you have a lot of face cloths so you can just toss them in the hamper after each use . You want to make using cloth as easy as possible! I find having a wet bag in my kitchen and bathroom to use as a laundry bag really helps.
(click HERE to read 10 Ways Wet Bags Can Make Your Zero Waste Journey Easier .)
I recently bought a pack of un paper towel . Not because I needed them but because I wanted them. They are definitely not necessary but they do make life just a little easier .
8. Cloth diaper and cloth wipe
Cloth diapering is so fun and it truly makes a difference . Just one cloth diaper a day can prevent 100’s of disposables from sitting in the dump for over 500 years !
& It’s way easier than you might think!!
Even if you are not able to cloth diaper cloth wipes are amazing for wiping hands and faces while out and about .
9. Use Bar Soap
If your kids love bubbles lush sells bubble brushes ! It’s like bubble bath on a popsicle stick !
seriously so cool . All you do is stick it under the running water and watch the bathtub fill with bubbles !
10. DIY your own crafts and activities
There are so many cool DIY crafts you can do with your kids.
You can make your own play doh , glue , and paint !
My son loves going out and finding items outside that he can use for crafts.
11. Reuse & Repurpose
Sometimes you don't have a choice and you have to buy something that produces waste. For instance I buy a lot of yogurt for the kids in my daycare. All the yogurt comes in plastic containers. Eventually I would like to start making my own... but I am not there yet.
For now I will reuse those yogurt containers for as many things as I can before recycling them. This is such an important step as plastic can only be recycled so many times before it is garbage and is sent to the landfill.
My favourite way to repurpose these old containers is for toy storage. They help keep my kids puzzles organized and I always know where everything is.
There are so many items in our homes that can serve another purpose before they are thrown out.
Being zero waste with kids isn’t impossible . You just have to try to have fun with it . Enjoy yourself and take it step by step .
Your house won’t instantly be waste free . It’s a process !!!
Do what you can and introduce everything slowly so your family has time to adjust .
Remember to look around your house before you buy anything new... chances are you have what you need!