10 Low-Waste Parenting Ideas for Plastic-Free July

Plastic Free July Ideas for Parents

This month we’re celebrating Plastic-free July by sharing some of our favourite eco-friendly and low-waste ideas for pregnancy, postpartum and parenting.


Around the world, 380 million tonnes of plastic is produced each year and some reports show that up to 50% of that is for single-use. Globally, 10 million tonnes of plastic are dumped in our oceans each year and while some plastics are recyclable, less than 9% of plastics actually get recycled. So, what can you do about it? Especially as a parent?

  • With a baby comes a list of must-haves (you can see our checklist here) and while the pressure to buy all the shiny, new gadgets can be tempting, keep in mind that sometimes having less really can be more! Take time to think, do your research and read reviews before you make a purchase.
  • Buy secondhand where possible. It’s not recommended to buy a second hand car seat for your pēpi but most other things are great to pick up pre-loved. When it comes to buying a second hand cot, do your due diligence to ensure it meets product safety standards for household cots.
  • If you’re currently pregnant and thinking about what to put in your hospital bag, consider reusable sanitary pads instead of disposable ones for your postpartum lochia.
  • Speaking of postpartum, if you’re already leaking colostrum during pregnancy, chances are you’ll leak breast milk after birth too. Not only are reusable nursing pads the most eco-friendly option but they tend to be softer and more comfortable to wear as well.

Remember: When it comes to low-waste parenting, don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

EcoNaps Cloth Nappy
EcoNaps Nappy, $38, from Tushie.
Confitex Nursing Pads
Just’nCase Contoured Nursing Pads, $28.90.
CaliWoods Stainless Steel Pegs
CaliWoods Stainless Steel Clothing Pegs, $22.50.
Bare and Boho Cotton Cloth Sanitary Pad (Heavy), $14, from MOM STORE.
  • Interested in trying cloth nappies? Dip your toes in by adopting the ‘once a day’ philosophy of swapping one disposable nappy per day for a reusable nappy. It’s a great way to get started without the upfront investment and ultimately, if you keep going for a full year, you’ll save 365 nappies from going to landfill.
  • For a pēpi starting solids, cut down on pre-packaged meals and pouches by making and freezing their purées in bulk. You don’t need any fancy containers either, an ice cube tray you already own is fine. Once frozen, simply pop out the cubes and store in reusable silicone bags in the freezer, ready for reheating.
  • Adopt the ‘give one, get one rule’. When your tamariki need something new, something they currently own needs to be donated in return. Not only does this philosophy encourage consideration before consumption, it’s a great one for those aspiring to be more minimalist too!
  • Motherhood can be a tiring gig, don’t we know it. If you’re a takeaway coffee enthusiast it’s a good idea to keep your reusable cup in your baby bag so it’s always on hand. No excuses not to BYO!
  • With tamariki come seemingly endless loads of washing, right? When your current plastic pegs start falling to pieces, buy some stainless steel clothes pegs to replace them. Stainless steel is a far more sustainable and durable option than plastic.
  • If you’re planning a birthing party, ask your guests to koha or contribute to an experience – like an annual zoo pass – for your child instead of buying them a toy. Alternatively, you could ask them to bring a second hand book as a present or you could forgo gifts altogether if you’re that way inclined.