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Weekly Tips | February 14, 2011

Oh Baby!

Welcoming a new bundle of joy does not need to create an additional source of waste for your household. Luckily, you are not the first parent who needed to stock up on miniature supplies and equipment!


Almost everything parents need to prepare the nursery, closet, diaper bag, car, bathroom and kitchen can be found second hand or made from recycled or sustainable materials. The Seattle area is home to a wide variety of second hand shops and online shopping and exchange sites like Craigslist, Freecycle and Trading Cradles. With spring around the corner, garage sale signs will lead the way to a brave new world of used toys, clothing and equipment for baby.


When the time comes to trade-up for toddler gear, consider organizing the ultimate waste reduction event - a clothing and equipment swap with other parents. Not only will you save money but you will help keep reusable items out of the garbage. If you are looking to keep expired car seats, old strollers and high chairs out of the landfill, there is a mail-in recycling program available based in Round Rock, Texas. For the cost of shipping, BabyEarth’s RENEW recycling program will disassemble used baby equipment and distribute all of the recyclable parts and pieces to accredited recycling centers. Help your friends and family support your waste reduction efforts by letting them know that "gently used" is the new "new"!


Resources: BabyEarthRENEW | Earth 911 Baby Products | Trading Cradles | Parent Map Consignment Guide | Punkernoodlebaby | Ecovian Seattle | US EPA Design for the Environment product list | Green Baby Guide blog | Earth 911 "8 Ways to Green Childhood"



The Big Picture

In 2009 the US Department of Agriculture estimated that an average couple will spend between $8,500 -$19,000 on a child before their child’s first birthday(1). A portion of this cost includes single-use, disposable diapers. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, there are 16 billion disposable diapers landfilled every year in the United States(2). Alas, the addition of a new family member does not have to place a huge burden on individual finances and natural resources. When getting ready for a new baby, get creative and look for gently used alternatives to all of the items on your shopping list.


Sources: (1) US Dept. of Agriculture "Expenditure on Children by Families 2009" | (2) US EPA RCRA Fact Flash | Eco-nomical Baby Guide


Reduce first. Reuse what you can, and then Recycle.



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