Our Green Family Vacation in Hawaii with a Baby

We just returned, browned and blissful, from our nearly two week family reunion in Hawaii. Family came from all over the United States and an aunt even flew in from Thailand to join the fun.  It was a glorious, peaceful trip that exceeded our wildest expectations.  (I should add that we never, ever could have gone without the generosity of our family.  The money we save with coupons and shopping at thrift stores would never add up to enough for our whole family to go.)

Was it packed with green efforts?  Yep!  We used cloth diapers 95 percent of the time by washing them in the rental home’s machines and later in the hotel Laundromat.  Since Jovi is also potty training at 20 months, she wore her cloth training pants a good part of the time. She’s showing off her Fuzzibunz pocket diapers in this photo.

In addition, we passed up new sand toys, since we envisioned piles of sand buckets in Hawaiian landfills, all of them barely used.  Now that you can’t carry liquids on planes, how many partially used bottles of sunscreen are tossed into the trash too?  If you’re heading there anytime soon, I’d recommend hitting a Hawaiian thrift shop for sand gear (and maybe even sunscreen!) and then donating it back at the end of your trip.

So what were our eco-failings?  It was tough to find recycling receptacles around the island.  Even in the recycling containers we did find, some items were excluded.  That meant that we had to occasionally throw away plastic bottles and paper.  So painful!  Plus, our party of twelve family members didn’t have access to a compost bin so we tossed several pounds of fruit peels and food waste into the trash.

I had thought that since it is a group of islands Hawaii would be far ahead of other states in terms of conservation, but they are still in process.  Still, I think recycling efforts are quickly moving forward.

Nonetheless, we found Hawaii to be an incredible destination.  The people were genuine, friendly and helpful and the islands themselves were emerald gems.  It was a rare privilege to get to experience “aloha” firsthand—and we still have a bit of it left in us as we make it through a rainy February in the Northwest. My son, Roscoe, is hopping waves with his grandpa in this photo.

Have you been to Hawaii? Are you planning trips to any destination with a new baby in tow?

I just discovered Baby Awearness, a fabulous green baby shop on the island of Oahu.  They offer hula classes in children in addition to cloth diapering and baby wearing courses.  It looks like a great place to hook into local green baby culture!


  1. Did you have any problems washing your cloth diapers in machines where other non-CD friendly detergents were used? Did you have to strip them when you came back? I haven’t taken cloth on vacations because I was afraid I’d start having leaking and smelling issues again due to detergent residues. Thanks!

  2. We did have some smell due to build up, I think partly because we just used the detergent at the rental home and it wasn’t our favorite brand. But we simply washed them once in hot water to strip them using the rental house machines and they were all set. We didn’t have any leaking issues because of the build up but the funky odor was enough to warrant a hot wash. I think next time I’ll bring a bit of our favorite detergent with us!

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