Author: Chloé Miller from Rebel Eco
Reducing your carbon footprint with twins or triplets
Choosing to go ‘eco’ with a baby is a big decision. Some choices mean a little more work and possibly a little more cost, BUT… some choices are easy and save you money too. Which is a big plus when you are juggling more than one baby at a time! Whether you can make a few small changes or go the whole hog and commit to everything doesn’t matter. It’s all about doing what you can to reduce your impact and help create a future for your babies which is safe and healthy.
Traditional baby stuff (wipes, nappies, lotions, baby bath, clothing) contributes a huge amount to landfill. I want to take you through a few examples and show you how you can really make a difference by making some small changes.
And just think! With twins or triplets, you’ll be making double or triple the difference!
(Please note this blog contains some Rebel Eco affiliate links)
Let’s start with nappies
You go through approximately 7000 nappies with each child. If you are buying traditional ‘disposable’ nappies, i.e. plastic, they are all going to landfill and contributing to landfill emissions. Nappies stay in landfill for approximately 500 years before breaking down into microplastics that stay in the environment forever.
If you would like to reduce your carbon footprint with twins and triplets via nappies, you have three main options:
Use reusable cloth nappies
These consist of an outer shell and an insert that are washed and reused. Yes, there is washing involved, but once you get in the swing of things, it becomes a habit. Your investment per child is around $350 for about 10 nappies (compared with an average of $3000 for disposables). You can usually use the same nappies repeatedly until your child is toilet trained. If you want to try reusables, but don’t want to face the washing, there are cloth nappy washing services you can use. Check out some great Aussie nappies here.
And its not as hard as you may think. Read our tips on using cloth nappies for twins or triplets HERE.
Biodegradable disposable nappies
These are readily available in mainstream supermarkets and are made from natural, biodegradable material. They aren’t any different to use than plastic-based nappies and in fact are better for baby and the planet. These are not the number one choice because you still need to send them to landfill where they will take a very long time to biodegrade, but a great option when you are juggling multiple babies at once.
Toilet train early
This may seem like a funny one but the earlier you can get your kids out of nappies, the better for the planet and you! No judgements here on how long that process will take, as we all have our own approaches and all kiddies are different, but if you have the patience and time to get this going early, you’ll reduce the number of nappies you send to landfill.
Clothing choices can help reduce your carbon footprint with twins or triplets
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint with twins and triplets is to be careful about baby clothing. Babies and children need quite a few items of clothing due to all the ickiness that takes place, but what are the best sustainable options that are kind to the planet and baby? And which options will help you with twins or triplets?
If you can avoid buying new clothes, especially cheap, ‘fast fashion’, you are already doing your bit for the planet. Fast fashion is very attractive as it is cheap and cute, but the problem is that it isn’t made to last so there is a cycle of discarding and replacing because it is so affordable. Aussies on average buy 27kg of clothing a year and discard a whopping 23kg of that to landfill each year! There is also an ethical issue with fast fashion as most of it is made overseas in sweatshops where workers are underpaid and overworked.
Sooooo… if you know someone with older kids, hit them up! And, obviously, if you have older kids, save all their clothes for your bubs. You can find secondhand clothing online and at op shops and some pieces are really cool. I have been lucky enough to receive bags of hand-me-downs from friends and colleagues over the years and the kids love going through all the ‘new’ items and choosing their favourites. And the more hand-me-downs you get, the more to share amongst siblings.
Ethically made clothing
If second-hand isn’t your thing, another option is to make sure you are buying ethically made clothing so that you know there weren’t any sweatshops involved, you know the growing and manufacturing process was sustainable AND once the clothes are discarded, they will biodegrade. Go for natural fibres like cotton, hemp or bamboo which are nice and soft for babies. A great Aussie brand is Boody and they have clothing for Mum, Dad and babies.
For clothing that can’t be donated or passed on, check out Upparel who take unwanted textile waste and recycle it into brand-new awesome stuff.
Borrow toys and books to help reduce your carbon footprint with twins or triplets
Join your local libraries
A great way to reduce the number of new toys and books at home is to join your local library and your local toy library! You can borrow books and toys for your mob to enjoy and then go back and swap them every few weeks. The kids love choosing and you don’t need to get rid of toys that are broken or old by putting them in landfill. I think this is especially handy for twins or triplets so you can avoid 2 or 3 of everything taking up space at home.
Sensory and experience play
Another idea to reduce waste from toys is to use sensory and experience play rather than toys. Babies and kids love playing around in water, doing scavenger hunts in the garden, going to the park to look at all the animals and bird and feeling the breeze and sunshine on their faces.
DIY whatever you can to cut down on packaging and chemicals
There are lots of “little” ways you can reducing your carbon footprint with twins or triplets that will all add up.
- Make your own play dough, slime or glitter from what you have in the pantry. It’s great fun for kids to help and can usually be done without any plastic packaging. Check out a quick YouTube tutorial or check out my recipes here.
- Make your own baby food if practicable. It’s easy to buy plastic-free fruit and vegetables and whizz up all kinds of purees rather than buy ready-made food with packaging.
- If you or the kids have a green thumb, try growing some of your own vegetables at home. Even just a few tomato plants can save money and packaging.
- DIY your party decorations, food and games. Holding joint parties for your little ones is actually a great way to reduce the wastage of 2 or 3 parties so you are already onto a winner there! Then if you stick to the ‘reusable’ motto, you can’t go wrong. Make or buy decorations that you can reuse year after year. Skip disposable plates, cutlery and napkins and use what you already have. Use books or wooden toys as prizes instead of plastic toys. Set up clearly-labelled bins for guests to recycle their waste or drop off their dishes to be washed (check out some tips I wrote here).
- Use cheap pantry staples to clean your home naturally. This is a big one in my home as I don’t want to expose my kids to chemicals in cleaners or send them down the drain into our waterways. There are many ways to clean at home with 1 or 2 natural ingredients (think bicarb soda and vinegar) that are quick and easy. Check out my post on natural cleaning here. Making your own helps to avoid plastic packaging. But if that isn’t your thing, there are lots of natural, phosphate-free options available in supermarkets.
Cut down on disposable baby wipes can help reduce your carbon footprint with twins or triplets
Like nappies, you have a few options when it comes to baby wipes, the worst of which is disposable. Like nappies, they can end up in landfill for a very long time and break down into microplastics. You can use an extraordinary number of wipes with one baby. And that is only going to be doubled or tripled with multiple babies.
So, what are your options?
These are a great option as you can just wash and reuse after each use. I have made my own with cut up squares from flannelette pyjamas soaked in soap and olive oil. But an easier option is to use face washers or similar. Just use soap and water and baby oil or similar to keep them damp and then rinse and soak before washing.
There are a few biodegradable wipes available in supermarkets these days although they are sometimes slightly more expensive than disposable wipes. They are made from natural materials like bamboo and will break down in your compost or in landfill eventually.
If you do choose disposable, please do not flush them down the toilet even if they say ‘flushable’. They don’t dissolve and build up in the pipes and create blockages.
Those are my top 5 tips for reducing your carbon footprint with twins or triplets.
I hope they are helpful to you. If you are interested in other sustainable-living ideas, please take a look at some more tips and tricks below:
General sustainable-living ideas
- Gift wrapping and craft – Save everything! You will undoubtedly receive a lot of gifts from the time your babies are born. And for years and years into the future! Start a habit of saving every piece of wrapping paper, ribbons, gift bags, bubble wrap, tissue paper and so on so that they can be reused for gifts or used for arts and crafts and school projects. This saves you spending oodles of money on overpriced wrapping and saves all of that wrapping from landfill.
- Gifts –Try to prioritise ‘doing’ gifts over ‘things’. There are lots of toys from your childhood that you probably don’t even remember. But you remember that great day at the beach or the fun park or a camp out in the backyard.
- If breastfeeding works for you, it’s a great, zero-waste way to feed your babies. No bottles, no plastic packaging, no cost.
- Recycle everything you can – Most people are very familiar with household recycling. There are also lots of other things that can be recycled such as batteries, markers and pens, soft plastic packaging and paint. Save these up and then recycle them in the appropriate places to stop them from going to landfill. This website is super handy.
- Buy pre-loved – Prams, car seats, baby carriers, baby seats, cots etc. You can find so many things in amazing condition on sites such as Gumtree. And then you can sell or donate them when you no longer need them.
- Skip the car – Get outside with the pram whenever you can. Babies love getting outdoors. So if you can get outside for a walk to the local park or to your local shops, it’s a great way to cut down on carbon emission from your car.
- Air dry washing – The sun is the best anti-bacterial dryer you can get and costs the earth nothing.
- Collect excess water – Put a basin in your laundry sink or the bottom of your shower to collect grey water for your garden and/or to soak nappies and wipes.
- Shop locally – Cut down on emissions from your car and to support local business.
Chloé is a realistic greenie who is super-passionate about helping people to make small lifestyle changes that have a big impact. She started Rebel Eco to help remove the overwhelm that comes with making eco-friendly changes by sharing tips and advice through online courses that teach you how to live a low-waste life without a huge effort or a huge price tag.