Already as a student, I tried to live as sustainably as possible. So when I became pregnant with my daughter, it was immediately clear: we will also think about the environment when we raise our baby. When it comes to baby-case especially, there are so many one-way products, many of them made completely out of plastic. So my partner and I asked ourselves if a life with a baby but without waste was even possible - we thought about this a lot and tested lots of many different products.
Charlott while working © Sophie Kröher
Looking back, we can definitely say: not causing unnecessary waste when it came to our baby was sometimes easier than when it came to us. I read lots of lists on starter-items for babies and tried to think about what conventional products we could replace with a sustainable alternative. And I found out that a life with a baby and with no waste is actually not that difficult!
With these zero waste tips, you can live a sustainable life as a family, too!
- Cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers
If you add up all diapers that one child uses, it amounts to more than 1,5 tons of waste being thrown away! That's why - despite the washing and our initial skepticism - we decided to only use cloth diapers and improve our eco-footprint. And what can I say: we absolutely love it! For the next baby, we even want to try out the “no-diaper method”. In this method, parents learn to read the signs of their child and hold them over the toilet when the time comes. If it works, you only need diapers in rare moments - for example at night or when you're traveling.
- Washing cloths instead of wet wipes
The fact that ingredients in most wet wipes are not exactly very healthy should be common knowledge by now. On top of that, they also produce unbelievable amounts of waste. That's why we decided to clean our baby's buttocks with small washcloths. We prepare our washcloths two or three times a week and store them in a box nearby. If you don't want to prepare the cloths, you can also place a bowl of water next to the changing table and moisten the washcloths at the moment. After using, we put them (just like the cloth diapers) into a wet bag. Which brings us right to the next zero waste tip.
- Wet bag instead of a diaper bag
Wet bags are such a genius invention and they make waste-free life so much easier. They are made of PUL-material (breathable but waterproof fabric) or wool (in which case they need to be greased). The bags are made to keep wet or moist things in them. At home, we use a large wet bag in which we store all cloth diapers and washcloths until the next wash. Next to that, we also have a few smaller bags for wet swimsuits, diapers from when we are out and about, or wet clothes.
Zero waste tips © Sophie Kröher
- Washable nursing pads instead of disposable breast pads
Even though our nursing period is a while back and I didn't use nursing pads the entire time, I'm very happy to have tried some made out of cloth. For one, I found
nursing pads made of paper to be very uncomfortable and you also get quite a bit of waste with them. I decided to go for nursing pads with a waterproof outer layer so that nothing gets out. But there are also many wonderful nursing pads made of silk wool or cotton. They make life without waste way easier.
- Molton cloths instead of undermats
I think everybody knows them: those colorful changing pads from the drugstore. Of course, there might be moms who use them multiple time or only when they are traveling. But even then, they end up in the trash someday. We decided not to use any at all and received some molton cloths from our friends. Molton cloths are thickly woven cotton cloths that are simply perfect as changing pads. Because of the special way of weaving, they are extremely soft and protect against moisture. Later on, we also used an undermat made of fabric, which we take with us on trips even now. I personally also find disposable changing pads to be very impractical because they rustle incredibly loud and the pad is often slippery because of the plastic coating.
- Selected care products instead of buying everything at the drugstore
Strictly speaking, babies don't need any care products at all. Those products change the PH value of the skin and break down natural protective barriers. Our daughter is almost two years old and almost completely free of care products ever since. We only use mild shampoo after she goes swimming and occasionally moisturize with some almond oil. When she was very young and often had a sore bottom, we used black tea or curative wool.
- Buy used baby clothes instead of new ones
We bought the entire first set of baby clothes second-hand. That way, all the pieces had already been washed and also didn't come with any packaging. I bought everything at “Mamikreisel” or in the neighborhood, and there was not a single piece that seemed washed or worn out. And how should it anyway? Babies don't wear their clothes for very long. We still paid attention to quality and materials and later lent out the clothes in our circle of friends.
Sharing clothes with other families is one of my favorite zero waste tips and I think it's so wonderful when pieces move on and keep other babies warm. Now I always put together a “capsule-wardrobe” for my daughter. It's a wardrobe with a few elect pieces that all compliment each other and can be combined in many creative ways.
So… it's really not that difficult to give up waste and live a sustainable lifestyle! For many products, it's better to hold off with buying them until your baby is born. Then you can see what you actually need or not. That way, you avoid unnecessary purchases. When you prepare your baby's initial equipment, think about what zero waste tips you want to integrate into your life and which are practical for you. It doesn't always have to be perfect right away - be courageous to try out new things! Many small steps can together work to a life without waste!
Photo by Luma Pimentel on unsplash
Charlott lives with her marriage-friend and her daughter in the beautiful city of Leipzig. Together, they live a “slowfamily” lifestyle. Sustainability and minimalism already played a big role in their lives before their daughter was born. Now, even more. Their personal mission is to make the world a better place for all grandkids.