Green Tips: New Parent Edition

Green Tips | May 10, 2018

Becoming a parent is a wonderful and exciting thing, but it can no doubt be stressful. If you care about environmental issues, like climate change, then you may be worrying about the impact having a child has on the planet. Reduce your stress and your impact by checking out our simple list of green parenting tips. From reducing your use of products with harmful chemicals to decreasing the amount of waste you generate, give these simple lifestyle changes a try.

Create your own cleaning products: Many household cleaners contain potentially harmful chemicals, such as certain antimicrobial chemicals, solvents, and fragrances, which can harm our health and get into our waterways. If you must use these products, use them sparingly and be careful: ensure plenty of ventilation and wear a mask and protective gloves. For every day and maintenance cleaning, you can make a lot of efficient cleaners with just a few basic ingredients, including baking soda, vinegar, and water. Add some essential oils to spruce things up a bit. Wellness Mama is a great resource for recipes!

Reduce your waste: New parents have a tendency to buy a ton of products that they don’t actually need, and most of it ends up in landfills. Check with family members or friends before you buy something to see if they already have it. Don’t forget to stop by your local thrift store too. Getting together with other parents and swapping baby/kid clothes is also a great way to reduce textile waste.

Bring your own bag: Parents, in particular, make a lot of trips to the grocery store. Perhaps one of the simplest ways to reduce waste is to bring your own reusable grocery bags with you. Check out last week’s green tip for how to make a tote bag out of an old t-shirt!

Make your own baby food: Support your local food producers, ensure healthy nutrition for your child, reduce your waste, AND save money by blending up your own baby food. Lots of store-bought baby foods are expensive and actually include loads of added sugars and syrups. Use different vegetables as they come into season to make your own unique blends, freeze them in an ice cube tray, and pop them out to defrost as needed. Pro-tip: Reuse jars and baggies each batch so that you’re cutting down on packaging waste.

Eliminate indoor air pollution: Research strongly suggests that indoor air can be significantly more polluted than the air outside. Children are uniquely sensitive to pollutants in the air because of their smaller, developing lungs. If you think your inside air is dangerous, have it tested by a professional. Also, make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working. Other simple things you can to improve indoor air quality is to vacuum often to reduce dust, which can collect irritants, like pollen, mold, and dust mites. Also, open the windows regularly, consider getting some house plants, which act like natural air purifiers, and prevent mold by fixing leaky sinks or roofs and having a fan in your bathroom. For a complete list of reducing indoor air pollution, check out the Small Footprint Family.

Take a walk: Did you know that the transportation sector contributes about 40% to New York State’s collective carbon emissions? Do your part by taking a walk instead of driving, if possible.  Get out into nature with your kids and get some exercise.  

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