#HaltonWasteChallenge with a Baby

Hello Friends of Halton Green Screens!

It’s been a while since I posted – sorry for disappearing once again. I have had a baby since then, and am now settled enough into life as a mom to start blogging again. I hope to post about once a week from here on.

 

The #HaltonWasteChallenge with a Baby

So far, waste-free parenting is going pretty well. Some aspects are easier than I expected, others are much more difficult. Our planned home birth had to move to the hospital due to very minor complications, which led to much more waste than what we would have produced at home. Since it was medical waste, it stayed at the hospital and will not be accounted for when I weigh my waste for the¬†challenge. I could write a whole post just about “hidden” waste, but I will leave that for another week.

When they first weighed and measured our little one, they put a disposable diaper on him. They also changed him once after that before I knew that they were doing it. Then the nurses asked me where our diapers were, and I had my husband show them the cloth diapers we brought. They resisted the cloth and insisted that we buy a package of disposables. I said that we would just change him ourselves, and they said that a nurse had to be present and that they wouldn’t know how to use them and would not want to accidentally throw one out. Neither Neelan nor I had any fight in us at that point since we had been up for about 24 hours by then, so Neelan called my mom and asked if she could pick up the smallest package they had. Luckily my mom happened to have two sample newborn diapers at her house (I am still not sure why) so she brought us those instead. We didn’t even end up using them, so I am very glad we didn’t end up buying any. The next diaper change was when we were preparing to go home about 12 hours after our son’s birth and I asked if I could change him myself and use one of our cloth diapers. The nurses had changed shift by then and my daytime nurse said, “of course!”

Both Neelan and I are liking the cloth diapers, and even though I feel WP_20160425_20_51_08_Richlike I am constantly doing laundry, I don’t mind it nearly as much as I thought I would. With the number of diapers he goes through I don’t think I could bring myself to use disposables and¬†throw away that much garbage, even if we didn’t like the cloth ones. Stay tuned later this summer to see how I feel about them after camping, where I will need to hand wash them!

I am having a hard time finding laundry detergent with no landfill waste. I had been using one I make myself, using ingredients that I purchase in recycled cardboard boxes. I can’t use it on the diapers because it contains soap flakes, which would leave residue on the diapers and potentially interfere with their absorbency. I thought I found a great natural detergent that comes in packaging that is completely made of cardboard, right down to the pull tab that seals the box before use. BUT each box comes with a plastic scoop for measuring the detergent. Please comment if you know of a natural brand with cardboard packaging and no scoop! In another few weeks (once the baby allows me more than a few minutes at the computer) I may contact the company to suggest they leave it out and maybe sell it separately. I’m not sure it will have any impact, but I imagine that many people looking for more natural detergent options would be happy to reuse the same scoop with each box.

Food packaging waste has not been nearly as challenging since we had the baby – now that I like food again and no longer have pregnancy cravings and aversions, it is much easier to find options free of packaging. When I cook at home that is. At other people’s houses I am much more lax, especially when someone has purchased or prepared something especially for me to satisfy my vegan diet. I also still sometimes eat chips or other snacks at social gatherings, knowing that they came from disposable packaging. I think that is the next change I need to make, although when I am a guest I will continue to share in the meal and be grateful for it! I hope that I will be able to find a balance where I contribute as little as possible to the production of landfill waste without being rude to a gracious host.

One of the biggest challenges I am finding since having the baby is that babies really bring out people’s generosity. We have been shown so much kindness by so many people, even those who are only distantly connected to us. That means that we have received gifts from people who do not know that we are trying to get everything secondhand. We appreciate every bit of kindness and thoughtfulness, but I also feel guilty every time I receive a new gift. This is one of the most challenging aspects of doing this waste challenge with a baby because I do not know how to prevent it without being rude in the face of kindness.

Overall, things are going well and my little bin is filling very slowly. Stay tuned for the next post on travelling waste-free with baby!

 

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