Zero waste kids? Not possible, right? Well, if we remember that Zero Waste is the ideal, we can focus on the small steps that lower waste even in our younglings’ lives. Like all things parenting, it’s about progress, not perfection, amiright?!
Another way to view it is, far from being a tricky task, setting yourself the challenge of zero wasting the kids – or low wasting them – can be pretty easy with the right information and decisions. Kids accumulate throw-away knick-knacks and single-use plastics almost as quickly as they accumulate dirt. The difference is, you’re never going to win the battle against the dirt.
So let’s look at some tips for adding a little zero waste to the kids’ world. Even if you don’t always succeed with the reduction in plastic not-so-fantastic, you’ll still be modelling an important lifestyle choice to one of the most important people on the planet; your child.
Zero Waste Kids Tips.
- Forgo the plastic-packed party goody-bags in favour of something practical (and very reusable) like a fun pair of socks that they can all wear at school the next day to keep the party going.
- DIY paper bags decorated by the birthday child is far more personal than a plastic party bag (and might buy you a bit of peace to have a cuppa before the onslaught!).
- Turn the goody-bag into the entertainment by having a cupcake or cookie decorating competition and let them take some home.
- More and more Irish parents are embracing fiver parties, where the guests bring a fiver (instead of a cheapo toy). It reduced waste, clutter, and gives the birthday child something to look forward to when the party ends. And yes, there is a non-cringey way to word it on the invites.
- Reusable nappies have come a long way since the towelling and giant safety pin days of our youths. Supermarkets regularly stock stylish and all-in-one nappies that are as easy to use as disposables (but waaaay prettier!).
- If cloth nappying is a step too far, try ditching the disposable wipes for reusable ones. They are so much better at doing their dirty job, super easy to make or buy, and far less likely to cause irritation. Oh, and they don’t take 100 years to decompose – yikes!
- Zero waste for kids doesn’t have to mean burlap sack trousers and darned socks. Buying second hand can also mean buying stylish, even trendy clothes. Have a look on Facebook Marketplace for bundles of clothes that people are selling by age. Or if you need something specific, put a shoutout in the Cobh Freecycling group and give other parents the opportunity to pass along once-loved goodies.
- Every parent of a toddler is familiar with the one-bite apple, pear, banana etc. Toddler desperately wants a piece of fruit, takes one bite, then plops it down and completely forgets about it. Why not slice up the fruit and pop it into the freezer, ready for a quick smoothie?
- Try replacing their snacks that are wrapped in single-use plastic with something more sustainable. Freeze leftover smoothies and juices in ice-lolly moulds for a cool treat. Push an ice-lolly stick into a slice of watermelon or make fruit kebabs instead of lollipops. Save any small jars for on-the-go mini-yoghurts decanted from a larger tub. Reusable baby food pouches are a great investment not just for the weaning stage, but when they’re older and want juice from a novelty bottle.
Want more easy to achieve tips? Check out our ever-expanding Zero Waste at Home Tips here.