I remember someone once saying that having a dog was the carbon footprint equivalent of flying a jumbo jet multiple times per year, and then someone else chipping in: “yeah, but that’s nothing compared with having a baby!” and we all (none of us then parents) laughed.
Roll on umpteen years: we have two babies and a dog. Our carbon footprint is deep.
Here are 5 things we do to try minimise the ecological nightmare that is having offspring… and 1 thing that despite our best efforts didn’t work at all.
1. Reusable nappies. Discussed ad nauseum here. My philosophy is that even if you were only to use them once per day, that’s still hundreds of nappies per year saved from landfill.
2. Reusable baby wipes. There are various brands available but I am enamoured of Cheeky Wipes, which although pricy upfront are lovely quality and the essential oils are a nice touch. We bought rainbow cotton and bamboo velour for bums (stored in a wet-box, by the changing table), and then once we started weaning the twins we bought a second set of patterned pink “minky” for hands and faces (stored dry, by the kitchen sink). And honestly, I could rave about Cheeky Wipes all day. We would probably have got through at least one packet of disposable wipes per week, since birth… instead we bought less than five packets in the twins’ first year.
3. Laundry Egg. (£20) This is kind to the environment but also a massively labour-saving device: it just sits in the machine. No capsules or pouring or measuring. Just top up the mineral pellets from time to time (4x per year?). It got us through the relentless laundry of newborn-twins-with-reflux, the tiresome laundry of Baby Led Weaning twins, and now it’s taking the absurd laundry of two toddlers in its stride. We do run their washing machine deep-cleanser every now and again, and we use their stain remover on stubborn stains (raspberries! pond algae! particularly weird poop!). But on the whole, really impressed with it.
4. Hotbin . Surely the best solution for urban compost in a small garden. Copes admirably with the mountains of kitchen scraps and baby-smushed leftovers we create, as well as garden waste, egg boxes, cardboard, junk mail, dried leaves, grass clippings…
5. eBay / handmedowns / charity shops . The thought of buying everything new for even one baby, let alone two, is crazy on both a financial and ecological level. Whilst we absolutely love presents, and certainly buy our girls New Stuff from time to time, the vast majority of things we get for them are second-hand; most of which we then pass on or sell ourselves when we’ve finished with it. Basically our stuff is essentially rented…
The thing that did not work:
A low-plastic wonky veg box: brilliant in theory, but actually no cheaper than buying the vegetables separately, and often covered in mud. Yes, very authentic etc, but I am not in a stage of my life where I will willingly spend time scrubbing root vegetables!
Have we missed any obvious eco baby tricks? Feel free to let me know!