How New Parents Can Do Their Part To Reduce Waste And Save Money

Posted on: 28 January 2015

Being a new parent is exciting and challenging. But each new addition to this planet creates an environmental impact that cannot be ignored. Considering that several hundred million tons of trash are tossed into America's landfills each year, you need to know how to do your part to keep this amount as low as possible. So while you're bonding with your new bundle of joy, here are four areas in which you can minimize your trash output to help the environment and even save some money. 


The decision to use cloth or disposable diapers is a personal one, and there are certainly pros and cons of each. But 18 billion diapers end up in landfills every year, so many parents turn to cloth diapers to reduce the load on the environment.

Does it make a difference?

Some corporations argue that while you're minimizing waste by using cloth, the impact of having to wash the cloth diapers is enough that the switch isn't worth it. In fact, a recent study in the UK showed that the amount of water used to wash a single cloth diaper over the course of its lifetime was as much as six times more than the water required for making a single disposable diaper.

But is this conclusion accurate? Many critics say the study needs a second look. First of all, the study done only questioned parents that used a terry-cloth material, which takes a lot longer to wash and dry. Also, parents should be aware that cold water can be used as well as energy efficient machines.

When these measures are applied, the energy used to clean reusable diapers are as much as 24% less than what the study showed.

While the debate continues, think about the fact that by switching to cloth diapers, you could be saving up to $2,200 per year. 

Baby Wipes

If you're not ready to make the switch to cloth diapers, it's okay. There are other ways you can reduce your trash output and impact on the environment, and it's similar to the concept of cloth diapers, just on a smaller scale.

Purchase a pack of disposable diapers or any type of soft cotton material, even baby washcloths, and cut them into small squares for wiping the baby's bottom. After using, just toss into a lined bin the same way you would a disposable diaper. Then simply wash when the bin is full.

An alternative is to buy disposable baby wipes and cut them in half, thereby reducing the amount you use over time. Even with this method, you're looking at saving close to 8,000 wipes over several years, or around $400. If you go with the reusable wipes above, you can double that amount. 

Baby Food Jars

Once it's time to start feeding the little one baby food, you may be concerned about the number of jars you'll go through until he's ready for table food. You can make your own food, but if you're doing it just to save a buck, it may not be worth it. Unless you plan to feed your child bananas exclusively

Pouches of baby food are also more commonplace, but some parents are concerned about plastic leeching into the food.

So if you want to stick with glass jars, no problem. Take a look at some cool ways you can reuse those empty containers instead of throwing them in the trash.

  1. Paint the inside of the jars different colors and use them as crayon holders for when the little one is older. Make a whole bunch and give them away as gifts or as party favors.
  2. Grab a baby picture and flip it upside down before inserting into a clean, dry jar. Then turn the jar upside down for a unique photo frame
  3. Need to plan ahead for Christmas? You can take 25 used baby food jars and make an advent calendar. Hide a piece of candy in each jar, then glue the bottoms to a metal or wooden tray. Paint the tops of the jars with each date and you're all set! These also make really fun gifts. 

Baby Clothes and Toys

As your baby grows, he or she will cycle through numerous outfits and toys. While you're likely to donate those old threads and outgrown items to a thrift store or community donation center, you might want to consider a different option that will not only save you a ton of money in purchases, but also help the community as a whole.

Team up with other moms or dads in your hometown, and take turns hosting a baby item swap. This is a fantastic way to acquire new (to you) clothes, toys, car seats, strollers, baby bottles, and books. It can also minimize what goes in the trash, and it can save the stores from an abundance of overstocked items that may not get purchased and end up in the dumpster down the road.

Check out places like Progressive Waste Solutions of FL Inc. for more information.