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Easy changes to green your parenting

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. Her main area of interest is attachment parenting and all that goes with it, including breastfeeding, co-sleepin...

Small changes, big impacts

Going green is all the rage, but it isn’t just a trend — taking care of the planet and the environment can really make a difference. The good news is that it can be easy for families to go green with just a few simple steps.
Family going green

Parenting makes a big impact on your life, and adding a new little person in your home can generate love and joy — and extra consumption. We’re not only talking about food, either — extra laundry, extra bathing and extra packaging for all the “stuff” a baby needs, and it only increases as your child grows.

Here are a few ideas to “reduce, reuse and recycle” to lessen your impact on the environment while parenting a baby on up. And don't worry — going green isn't all-or-nothing. Even making one or two changes will really make a difference.

Reduce

Laptop Lunches box

When you have a child, “things” can pile up fast. One thing you can try is to shop differently. If you reconsider the way you shop for groceries it can really reduce the amount of waste that your family generates. Instead of buying the package of applesauce with eight separate plastic cups, buy a large jar.

Instead of buying a pack of eight individual juice boxes, buy a big one instead. Of course you can make exceptions for camping or trips, but you can even work around a school lunch if you have good containers that seal well to send along with your kiddo, such as Laptop Lunches bento boxes (Laptop Lunches, $39).

Reuse

Itzy Ritzy bags

Think about what you use on a daily basis as a mom — bottled water, plastic baggies, throwaway food containers and disposable diapers — just to name a few. Swapping them out for reusable items may sound overwhelming, but you don’t have to make big, sweeping all-or-nothing changes to make a difference.

For example, get a reusable water bottle, such as a Klean Kanteen (Amazon.com, $9 to $40) for each member of your family. They even have sippy tops for your toddler. Or get a few Itzy Ritzy Snack Happened reusable (and washable) snack bags (Toys ”R” Us, $10) and watch your baggie waste start to go down. Also, swapping out a few items may feel so good that it may inspire you to try other things that may seem more intimidating, such as cloth diapers.

Recycle

Girl recycling

It’s never too early to teach your child about recycling. Many communities offer curbside recycling and some is included in the price of your weekly trash pickup. If they don’t, there should be a nearby place you can take your items. Most accept numbers 1 and 2 plastics, cans, glass and bottles, as well as many paper products such as cardboard. When your child is a toddler, have her help you sort your recycling or carry it out to the curb. Explain how the process works and it will become a normal part of life for your little future adult to carry on to her children when she has them.

With just a few changes here and there, your family will make a big impact, and you will be a wonderful influence on your kids to do the same when they get older.

More on the environment

Why moms choose to cloth diaper
Cloth diapers you're sure to love
Fun ways to teach your kids to "go green"

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