Family

5 easy ways for parents to reduce waste

Without breaking the bank.

Reducing waste is hard enough when you don't have kids - so throw a baby in the mix and it can seem downright impossible. But when you see how much families are wasting each year, you see how urgently we need to clean up our act.

The little bit of effort goes a long way - and is often cheaper than a more wasteful way of living.

1 Reusable nappies

They're not going to be an easy option all of the time and, yes, they do require more effort than disposables, but you could try switching to cloth or reusable nappies when you're at home to help reduce waste (according to kiwifamilies.co.nz, we send an estimated one million disposable nappies to landfill every day in New Zealand).

Check out thenappylady.co.nz for different reusable nappy options and plenty of advice for making the right choice for you and your family.

2 Buy secondhand

Scour your local op-shops for baby clothes instead of buying new. Babies grow out of everything at lightning speed so you'll often find clothing that's still in great nick at a fraction of the cost of buying brand new.

3 Give reusable wipes a go

We all know by now that flushable wipes aren't flushable at all – if you're going to use them, always bin them, never flush. To really help the environment, try Cheeky Wipes, the 100 percent eco-friendly, washable cotton towelling wipes that can be composted once you're finally done using them (over and over again).

4 Use bamboo instead of plastic utensils

Bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources in the world – the bamboo plant can grow more than a metre per day and matures within five years. It's also a safe alternative to plastic for feeding babies and toddlers. Take a look at Haakaa's range of bamboo utensils at haakaa.co.nz.

5 Recycle your child’s car seat

Did you know that a minimum of 40,000 car seats expire every year in New Zealand? That's a lot of plastic and metal that ends up in landfill. Up to 90 percent of seat materials are recyclable, so Kiwi company Seat Smart is setting out to recycle as many as it can.

A fee of $10 is all that's required for your expired car seat to be picked up and recycled. The seats are dismantled by the Department of Corrections as part of its community work programmes. The plastic is then recycled into products for the building industry, metal parts are taken to metal recyclers and the harnesses are used in the production of recycled bags.

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