You probably don’t need to watch the news or another National Geographic show to know that the earth has been begging us to rethink how we live. We hear every day about the appalling impact our trash has caused mother nature all over the world. And although more and more people are advocating to save our planet and make changes to cause less harm, an eco-friendly lifestyle is definitely not a walk in the park—especially for us parents! It’s a real challenge, and frankly, quite a scary journey to embark on for parents who have gotten so used to the hustle of relying on the most convenient options.
But like every new beginning, the first step always looks crazy and scary until you finally make the change–all it takes is just a little push to turn thoughts into actions! If you’ve decided to help make a better world for you and your kids, here are a few tips for how you can start your eco-friendly parenting journey.
There are plenty of eco-friendly stores popping up all over the country that are all just an easy Google search away (like Ritual PH in Makati, Roots Katipunan in Quezon City, and Refuse in Alabang, to name a few). Stores like these offer package-free items made from natural ingredients. So you’ll find sustainable alternatives for things like soap, laundry detergent, and even food items like pasta, dried fruit, and nuts. These stores also allow you to refill your products, which will help you save money and skip out on buying more plastic containers. Ain’t bad being kind to Mother Nature and to your own pocket too!
Additionally, plenty of these local eco-friendly stores offer green alternatives perfect for parents! You can ditch your regular disposable diapers for reusable cloth diapers; drop plastic ziplocks to pack snacks and purchase reusable ziplocks or beeswax snack bags instead; and say goodbye to plastic straws in exchange for silicone or bamboo straws.
As often as you can, opt to shop at your local market for your meats and produce. You can bring the reusable ziplocks, plastic containers, or coolers you have lying around your home to store meats or fish, while your produce can go safely inside your eco bags or bayongs. Shopping at your local palengkes is also a great way to support local vendors, fishermen, and farmers. And why not bring your kids to the palengke with you too? Making these shopping trips a household practice will definitely help them learn more about Filipino culture, people, flora, and fauna! This way your family will be supporting Mother Earth and our very own Inang Bayan!
Children love toys, but most toys are made of plastic and the processes of making them definitely take their toll on the environment. So choose to go for more sustainable options instead. When my son was still hooked on trucks, I luckily discovered Green Toys Inc. (brought to the country through @greentoysph and @baobaobabies), a company that makes aesthetically pleasing and really durable toys out of 100% recycled plastic! Amazing, right? I still can’t believe my son’s toy truck was once a plastic milk jug!
Also, not all toys actually need to be bought. With a little creativity and a whole lot of imagination, you can also choose to recycle items at home to create your own toys–just think Forky from Toy Story 4!
Speaking of creativity, if you have time to spare on a weekend, why not opt to create your own cleaning products, personal care items, or even reusable wipes? Thanks to the internet, you can easily search for reliable DIYs or even for classes and workshops that you can attend to learn more about creating your own sustainable goodies. And making your own things doesn’t just help you save up: It can also serve as a great family bonding activity!
An eco-friendly lifestyle pertains not only to lessening plastic usage, but also to preventing harmful acts on our planet. Sad to say, but textile waste and other materials are also causes of the earth’s greatest miseries. Because changes in trends are so fast-paced and clothes and other products are being produced quickly and in much larger quantities than necessary, choosing second-hand items is a great start to more eco-friendly shopping and eco-friendly parenting. Baby necessities like cribs, playpens, high chairs, toys, books, car seats, clothes, and shoes are just some of the things your child can easily outgrow. So there’s absolutely no harm in choosing pre-loved options in good condition instead (and even donating them once you’re done with them) to save you some money and the earth some trouble.
Don’t get intimidated by people who say there is only a specific way to a zero-waste lifestyle. You don’t have to suddenly eliminate all the plastic containers in your house and switch to glass, wood, or metal dining bowls and tumblers to be considered #pro-motherearth. Why should your perfectly good plastic water bottle hit the landfill when it still works just fine? A zero-waste lifestyle also means proper waste management. As long as your things are still in good working condition, you can stick with them, recycle them once they need to be replaced, and then opt for a more environment-friendly replacement. Remember, an eco-friendly lifestyle is not a fashion trend–it’s a commitment to save our planet.
Once your children see both you and your partner living a greener lifestyle, it’ll be easy for them to follow your lead and build on the sustainable habits and values you’ve established. So make your shift to eco-friendly living a family thing by getting them involved: Aside from creating your own toys and household items together, you can start with simple things like recycling and decorating plastic bottles to turn into flower pots or separating biodegradable and non-biodegradable trash in your home. You can also go bigger by participating in plastic solution projects such as making eco-bricks and donating them to organizations like @theplasticsolutionph.
The possibilities are endless! So don’t feel like you need to do things perfectly and make big changes all at once. Creating an impact starts with baby steps and it’s always better to be doing something to make a change–no matter how small–than to be doing nothing at all.