I’ve always been a bigger fan of “Reusing” than “Reducing” and “Recycling”. I’m not the only thriftstore bargin hunter and garage-salers at The Green Baby Guide, so I combed through the archives for the best posts on used baby gear.
There are a few obvious ways to green your back-to-school shopping, like reusing backpacks, binders and folders from last year. How about hitting up the local thrift store for office supplies? While you’re there, check out the shoes and clothing too.
Speaking of shoes and clothes, why not organize a swap with your friends and neighbors? Have everyone bring clean and un-stained clothes and shoes their kids have grown out of (or are tired or wearing) and exchange them for new-to-you items. Preferably over a glass of wine.
If you are required to buy new items, Green Schools Initiative has a buying guide to help you find the greenest supplies available. Trade in the trusty Crayolas for a box of biodegradable, petroleum-free Prang Crayons or try Biodegradable Binder Pockets
In 1989, NASA and the Associated Landscape Contractors of America did a two-year study that proved indoor plants are successful at removing benzene, trichloroethylene, and formaldehyde from the air. You can read a good summary of the study here. The house plants most effective at removing these chemicals are Bamboo Palm, Chinese Evergreen, English Ivy, Gerbera Daisy, Dragon Tree, Corn Plant, Mother-in-Law’s Tongue, Chrysanthemum and Peace Lily. These are all easily found, often at the grocery store or hardware store, if you’re too busy to make an extra trip to a nursery.
My daughter has had four cavities in her four short years of life. How is this possible? I can’t say we’re religious flossers, but the rest of our dental routine is pretty admirable. Regular brushing? Yep. Fluoride tablets? Absolutely. Hard candies? Not allowed.
According to our dentist, my daughter’s tooth decay could have been caused by extended breastfeeding. She pointed out that once solids are introduced, bacteria in the mouth can change and breast milk can actually cause cavities.
After doing a bit of my own research though, I have to disagree. Repeated studies have shown that breast milk has proteins and antibacterial qualities that prevent tooth decay. My older son was also breastfed until well over two years old and has never had a cavity to this day.
If you are looking to reduce your carbon footprint as a parent, pick up The Zero Footprint Baby. It’s more of a narrative than a how-to manual, but the tips Chatterjee includes will get you on your way to reducing your family’s carbon foot print.
Most of the advice is simple, such as riding public transportation or not buying anything new, but she’s really done her research. In general, the more simply you live the lower your carbon footprint.
A lot of the advice mirrored what Rebecca and Joy wrote in The Green Baby Guide’s companion book, The Economical Baby Guide. For example, don’t buy a lot of plastic toys and other baby gear that quickly ends up in the landfill. And if you must buy new, find something that will hold up long enough to pass along to friends (or to hand down as heirlooms).