(photo credit: seanmcgrath)
I'll be the first to admit it: there's quite a bit of room for improvement in my life, especially when we're talking about living a greener lifestyle. I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and I'm guessing a lot of you BGB readers are doing the same! Today I came up with a list of (mostly simple) ways to go green with your baby and hopefully save some cash, too! If you have ideas to add, please leave a comment to share them with other readers.
1. Use cloth diapers and wipes: It might not be for everyone, but it’s the most obvious answer for being both easy on the wallet and environmentally friendly! If you need more information on cloth diapering, check out the Guide to Using Cloth Diapers. Bonus! Cloth diapers retain their value very well. You should be able to recover a significant part of your purchase price if you choose to resell them when you’re done with them.
2. Buy used: There are tons of unwanted-but-usable baby products all over the country! Check out Craigslist for the most widely-used advertising of items that are free or for sale. You’ll keep a bunch of money in your pocket and help keep those products out of the landfill. Resell or donate them when you’re done.
3. Borrow: If a thoughtful friend or family members offers to loan you some items, it’s worth considering! This extends the product’s useful life and saves you money, too! It’s only fair to mention that you may have to replace the item if it gets damaged or ruined while it’s in your care.
4. Trade: Once your baby starts outgrowing clothing and certain gear, host or attend a clothing swap! Gather your friends and family with little ones to unload your own stuff and pick up some that’s “new to you.”
5. Reuse and Repurpose: Lots of containers from baby products can be reused instead of tossed. Clean empty formula cans can be wrapped with heavy-duty wrapping paper, plain brown bags or wallpaper scraps (bonus if they would otherwise be garbage!) and filled with treats for gifts, wipes containers are fabulous blocks and hold those tiny pieces to kids’ games and toys, and baby food jars are great for a workbench or kitchen. Get creative and keep them out of the landfill!
6. Make your own baby food: Baby food is so easy to make at home. Get over your fear, grab your ice cube trays and get started! You’ll cut down on the glass and plastic used in your home, plus you can go organic far cheaper than buying pre-made natural baby food.
7. Make your own basic supplies: Burp cloths and baby washcloths can be made from a variety of clothing cast offs and don’t require a sewing machine to serve their purpose. Start thinking about what you can make long before your due date and you might be surprised at how much money you save and waste you reduce!
8. Put “needs” on your registry: Skip registering for the rubber ducks and DVDs. Put diapers (especially pricey cloth diapers!), wipes and feeding supplies on your registry to urge people to buy the necessary items instead of stuff with shorter lifespans.
9. Use nontoxic cleaners around the house: Of course you can spend a small fortune on organic and natural cleaners. They definitely do the trick, but there’s also not much that can withstand the cleaning power of vinegar, lemon juice and/or baking soda. Buy them in bulk and you’ll find a crazy amount of uses for both, especially since the amount of time spent cleaning seems to double with each baby you have!
10. Evaluate your wants: Sure a travel bottle warmer would be nice, as would the tabletop steam sterilizer and the portable placemat. But think about what you need, the length of time you’re going to use it, and how you can save on products, packaging and more by simply not being a consumer of certain items. If it’s something you truly want and don’t want to live without it, be sure you can find a new home for it once you’re done using it.
What are your ideas for saving the environment while saving money? Leave a comment and let us know!