Tips on how to choose a sustainable lifestyle by selecting the right diapers.
Photo by Laura Ohlman on Unsplash
I first started exploring living a sustainable lifestyle when I took on a challenge to eat less beef. This challenge also opened my eyes to the concept of a minimalist lifestyle which ties in so well with being sustainable. Deciding to be minimalistic depended a lot on a number of sustainable choices I made such as having a simpler diet.
When our daughter came into our lives, both my fiancée and I made a conscious decision to continue living a sustainable lifestyle. Little did we realize how much stuff we would accumulate by having a baby in the home! At times it became difficult to make a sustainable choice when all we wanted was a quick and convenient parenting solution.
The topic of diapers was one area we struggled with (so much waste to deal with!) and we learned some lessons on the way. Read on to find out how we try to integrate a minimalistic approach into our family lifestyle every day. I’ll also share how we teach our daughter about minimalism even though she’s only two years old.
Living a sustainable lifestyle: How we do is as a family?
It was during an interview on a podcast that I started asking myself the question, “What can I do to minimize the number of items I have?”. I was looking around me and thinking about all the items I have and don’t need. When my daughter was a baby, we were amazed by all the items a baby needed. But, if I was honest with myself, a lot of the stuff actually wasn’t necessary.
To maintain our sustainable lifestyle, we explored ways of doing it as a family. We discovered we could buy used baby clothes and toys, a great way to reuse items that are often as good as new. We’re also not adverse to taking hand-me-downs from friends and family with kids of their own.
A great tip for parents teaching children the minimalist lifestyle is through their toys. Instead of having piles of toys all over the playroom floor, you could let your child play with one or two toys at a time. All the other toys are packed away in a toy box or cupboard. This teaches your child the concept that “less is more” which simply defines minimalism.
Diapers and sustainability
If there’s one baby item every parent absolutely needs when a baby comes into the home, it’s diapers. Now, here’s an area that can challenge parents who’re serious about living a sustainable lifestyle. Disposable diapers are a lifesaver for most parents. They’re convenient, easy to use, and often, the best way to keep your baby dry and comfortable.
Unfortunately, disposable diapers aren’t the best thing for the environment. It’s estimated that over 6,000 tonnes of diapers are being disposed of every day, globally. Diapers on landfills contribute to the high levels of greenhouse gases being emitted and it’s these gases that are responsible for climate change.
Diaper brands realize this dilemma, and many have introduced a more environmentally friendly disposable diaper to their selection. The right diapers for us use wood pulp sourced from sustainably managed forests for the diaper core. The top sheet of the diaper is plant-based.
While we couldn’t expect our daughter to use less than her normal quota of diapers, we opted to buy diapers in bulk. If we ended up with too many diapers because she had grown out of a size, we gave them away to a family who would benefit from them.
Bulk buying is one way of decreasing the amount of packaging being used. The packaging is a major contributor to landfills so you can help by limiting the amount of packaging being disposed of into the environment.
Are cloth diapers more sustainable?
The cloth vs disposable diapers debate continues to rage between parents. A lot of water goes into making cloth diapers and a lot of water is needed to keep them clean. But, if one weighs these impacts against the environmental impacts of disposable diapers, you may find there’s little difference.
Cloth diapers aren’t as convenient as disposable diapers. It requires some careful planning and more laundry work when opting to use cloth diapers. But, the fact that they’re reusable goes a long way to helping you live a more minimalist lifestyle.
Many parents, who are serious about living a sustainable lifestyle, get around this debate by incorporating both cloth and disposable diapers into their baby’s diaper needs. Disposable diapers are often the best solution for night time and for when you’re out and about. Cloth diapers work well when you’re at home.
Tips to living a more sustainable lifestyle as a family
Consider doing the following to help reduce your family’s carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle:
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Otherwise known as the 3 Rs’, you’ll make a huge difference by simply remembering these when making an environmentally-friendly decision. Set up recycling stations in your home and encourage the kids to recycle.
- Watch your energy usage: Keep the lights off when you don’t need them. Switch off electronics when not in use and wear an extra layer of clothing before deciding to turn on a heater.
- Go easy on the water: Find ways to conserve water at home. Repair dripping taps as soon as possible. Don’t leave the water running while brushing your teeth. Spend less time in the shower.
- Go local: Support local farmers and buy fresh vegetables and fruits at markets instead of purchasing food items that have been imported. Buying other items locally made is also more sustainable.
It’s possible to live a more sustainable lifestyle as a family. There are many sustainable options you can take and getting the right diapers is one of them. While we decided to go with “green” disposable diapers in bulk quantities, many parents select cloth diapers. Go with what works for you as long as your choice is sustainable.