Sustainability Tips for Parents

Becoming a parent often gives a new perspective on environmental issues. We think more deeply about the planet that our children will inherit. Couple that with the climate emergency happening all around us and it can be anxiety provoking. It is helpful not to focus too long on the negatives but instead to see what you can do to make a difference. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions from Josefa on ways to be more eco-friendly as parents. Josefa is a mum of one (with her second on the way) and founder of Graceful Changes, an organic baby and toddler clothes rental service .

Accept items from friends or family who no longer need their baby kit or look locally at Polworth Preloved Sales, the Pregnancy and Parent Centre sales and the Jack and Jill markets which are great places to pick up bargains. Facebook marketplace and Gumtree can be very helpful too!

Breastfeeding has to be the mother’s choice, and obviously other factors are involved, but breastfeeding is a great way to reduce waste as well as offering many other fantastic benefits for both Mum and baby.

Consider renting organic baby and toddler clothes instead of buying new. Graceful Changes offers this service from newborn up to age 3. Parents receive ethically produced clothing that is exchanged to the next size as and when needed.

Renting helps you access high quality items at a reduced cost and minimises waste.

Other great rental options are also available, from Whirli where you can rent toys, and the Bike Club offers cycle rental, including balance bikes suitable for toddlers.

These aren't the only items relating to pregnancy, birth and beyond that are available for rent. I am hoping to have a home birth in April with my second child and have been able to rent a birthing pool from the Pregnancy and Parent Centre!

Consider using cloth nappies. Edinburgh Real Nappy Community offer support via Facebook, host regular meet ups and can provide a nappy hire kit to help you get started.

Making the switch to reusable wipes is a great idea, and these work better than their disposable counterparts. There are bamboo breast pads for breastfeeding, which are so much more comfortable than disposable ones.

Speak to family and friends sensitively about gift giving. Explain that you are hoping to minimise waste and nudge them in the direction of what you need or want, perhaps suggesting gift vouchers rather than more toys or clothes. You could also explain why you might prefer wooden toys over plastic ones and Wooden Toys Edinburgh has a great selection.

Say that you are open to 2nd hand gifts too. We love charity shop books and you can't go wrong with a trip to your local library, who are also a brilliant resource!

I’d love to hear your ideas for sustainable family living too!

Josefa Buckland

Graceful Changes