Terms & Conditions

10 Simple (and realistic) changes for sustainable parenting

Chloe Schneider

Chloe Schneider

Chloe is a writer and content strategist with bylines in mindbodygreen, Mashable, Ageless by Rescu, and more. She's a mum to one-year-old Felix, and believes that you can have it all, you just can't have it all at once
Created on Apr 19, 2024 · 5 mins read
Hero Banner

When my son was born, I had to confront two conflicting realities.

First, an even more pressing desire to protect the planet we inhabit. And second, disposable nappies. So. Many. Disposable. Nappies.  

As someone who had gone to great lengths to avoid single-use plastics, I would cringe at every nappy change and I planned to switch to reusable nappies once we were home from the hospital and in the swing of things. But with my husband back at work after two weeks and me triple feeding every three hours, ‘the swing of things’ just never really came. 

Rather than feeling defeated and giving up, I vowed to live sustainably in a way that was sustainable for me, too. The reusable nappies didn’t work out, but I was happy to switch to reusable breast milk pouches, start composting, and avoid packaged snacks when solids started. 

If, like me, you want to do the right thing for the planet without burning out, start by making one simple change from the list below. 

Once it becomes a natural part of your day-to-day routine, add another. Slowly, you’ll build a foundation of sustainable habits that feel effortless.

1. Try to avoid single-use plastic

There are so many amazing reusable products on the market these days, and they make avoiding single-use plastic far simpler. 

Start with the easiest and most obvious items like drink bottles for kids, coffee and babychino cups, and straws. 

Other items, like nappies, might be a little harder to adopt. If you’re struggling to go fully reusable, just aim to do the best you can by opting for reusable swim nappies or using just one reusable nappy each day to save 365 disposables from landfill every year.

2. Opt for biodegradable when you can

There are plenty of great brands making biodegradable versions of disposable items like wipes, bin liners, and nappies. These are a great ‘goldilocks’ option for families who want to make sustainable, but realistic choices.

They can be on the pricey side, so stock up when you see your favourite biodegradable products on sale, or use a mix of products. 

3. Shop second-hand

If you want to save the environment and your bank balance, make Facebook Marketplace your best friend. 

Babies and kids are constantly growing and changing – so their clothes, toys, and books are on high rotation. This means there’s a constant supply of great quality, hardly-used, affordable second-hand items to choose from — and some generous parents giving boxes of clothing or toys away for free. 

4. Grow your own herbs, veggies and fruits

Even city dwellers with little to no backyard can grow herbs and a couple of veggies without too much fuss. Not only will this eliminate the need to buy items wrapped in plastic, it will become a great way to teach your kids about where food comes from and how to live a sustainable life. 

5. Host low-plastic parties

Kids’ parties are rife with plastics. 

Balloons, disposable cutlery, party favours, juice boxes or plastic cups… the list goes on. If replacing all of these items with reusable options is too expensive, difficult, or simply overwhelming, just choose one to swap. Next year, you’ll have that one sorted and you can move on to the next. In just a few years you’ll look around and realise you’ve achieved a low- or no-plastic party with ease. 

6. Compost as a family

Composting is not just a great habit to get into for the environment, it can be a lot of fun for kids too. Whether you use your compost to help with that veggie or herb patch you’re growing or build a worm farm, get your kids involved and explain what you’re doing and why. 

7. Create a scrap bin for craft activities

Keep a scrap drawer or box with newspaper, egg cartons, used wrapping paper, and other bits and bobs, then bring it out when you’re doing craft activities with your kids. 

This will inspire creativity and open up a conversation about the importance of reusing items and minimising the rubbish we leave behind. 

8. DIY snacks

Swapping even one daily store-bought snack for something you’ve prepared at home can make a huge difference to the amount of waste your family generates over time.

I make batches of toddler-friendly muffins, fritters, oatmeal bake, and waffles and freeze them so we’ve always got snacks on hand. If that’s outside your comfort zone, just keep it simple with some fruit and yogurt or a smoothie.

9. Use all your groceries

Each year Australians waste around 7.6 million tonnes of food across the food supply chain, and this results in 17.5 million tonnes of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.

Simply committing to using all your groceries each week can make a huge difference to your environmental footprint. Look at what you’ve got and search online for recipe inspiration. If something has been hanging around for a while but you don’t have a use for it just yet, freeze it for use later. 

10. Opt for greener power and electronics

If you can, invest in solar panels on your home, opt for a second-hand and hybrid or electric car, choose white goods with a high energy rating, and select the greenest option available with your electricity provider.

All of these changes add up over time, plus even if there is an upfront investment, it will pay off over time.

Guilt-free sustainable parenting

If you’ve read this far, it’s clear you’re a parent trying their very best to ensure your kids inherit a clean, habitable, and beautiful planet Earth. Free yourself from the guilt of should haves or could haves, and focus on all the simple positive changes you can make today. Every little bit counts. 


Follow us on
Loved this article?
Share with a friend

Hey parents!


Get paid to review the latest brands and products