Sustainable parenting tips

While not all of us can do everything on this list (parenting is hard enough!) picking out a few sustainable practices in your home can make a difference.

Borrow from the library – our libraries are a wonderful source of books and are completely free!

Borrow from the toy library – the Bondi Toy Library is a great way to try new toys without needing to buy new ones

Playgroup – a great way to reduce the number of toys you have at home, come to playgroup to play with our toys! Often children enjoy playing with a toy that’s only available to them at a special place, such as playgroup. We have equipment (such as trampolines, ride-on cars) that you may not have space for at home. Also, coming to playgroup helps you find what your child is interested in – and this can help you work out what toys to purchase for home (eg if your child loves our train set, then perhaps that’s a good one to buy at home! but it they show no interest in the kitchen set, then that’s a good one to skip)

Marketplace/gumtree – look for bargains/free online offerings for toys, prams, furniture, clothing.

Street libraries – check out your local street library for quality books, or swap with friends. While you are at the library, check out the children’s programs – most libraries run weekly rhyme or storytime for children.

Public transport – simple but true, kids love going on the train, bus or tram! Reduce your carbon footprint by opting for public transport, or check out electric bike options.

Opt for zero/reduced waste lunchboxes – bento boxes are a great way of feeding toddlers/preschoolers (and beyond) as it appeals to their nature to graze. The bonus is that you can use up small leftovers of pasta, fruits, veges, yoghurts etc to reduce your waste. You can reduce your plastic consumption by buying larger pack sizes and dividing up, rather than buying the individually packaged serves. There are tons of options for plastic-free lunch boxes – while expensive, they often last for years (and can be passed on to others 2nd hand)

Rebates on modern cloth nappies – did you know you can get a rebate on purchasing modern cloth nappies and other reusable sanitary products? See more from Waverley Council here.

Toy recycling – is available at some Big W stores

Batteries, pens, tech Officeworks offers pen recycling, as well as battery/other tech. Waverley Library and Waverley Council both offer battery recycling, as well as other small items.

Marketplace/Gumtree – you can try selling toys; but for those that you wish to donate, have you thought about offering them for free? There are plenty of thrifty families who are delighted to collect your toys and give them a second life.

Clothes recycling – for clothing that’s not suitable for donation (eg ripped, stained, excessively worn) you can recycle textiles at most Zara and H&M stores stores.

Shoe recycling – some Rebel Sport stores offer shoe recycling

For excellent condition clothing, toys, baby items – you can try local charities such as Mummies Paying It Forward and Dandelion Network. Always check their website to see what items they are accepting (remember, charities often have limited storage space and need volunteers to sort items; please don’t overwhelm them with items that are unsuitable or excess to their needs).

Composting and worm farms! Fact – kids love worms. Another fact – kids produce lots of fruit & vege scraps. Put these things together by cultivating a home worm farm or compost. Don’t have space? Check out if you can compost at your local community garden or with a neighbour on ShareWaste. Bokashi bins are another option for apartment dwellers (ask someone with a garden if they can bury your bokashi when full, or incorporate into their compost). Discounted worm farms and composts are available via Compost Revolution.

Opt for experiences over things – instead of birthday presents, why not ask for a zoo or museum pass? or a special day out at the beach, a public transport tour (let’s go somewhere new on the bus!). Visit the city farm or go fruit picking (within a 90 minute drive of Sydney, you can pick strawberries, apples, mandarins, oranges, pears and stone fruit, depending on the season). Kids make memories by doing.

Make your own fun – sensory activities are a fun way for kids to learn and experiment, and as a bonus, it usually has less environmental impact. Try homemade playdough, chia slime, rainbow rice and homemade paint. If you’re not brave enough to try these at home, come to playgroup – we often do these activities (remember, messy activities are at the discretion of the session leader – if you are willing to help supervise & clean-up, they will be more keen to do it!)

Fiver (or tenner) parties – opt for a birthday party where the gift is a $5 note… add them all up, and buy an experience, or toy that’s particularly desired. This can be helpful not just economically, but means that there is less smaller presents which tend to be more disposable or might be items that the child already has.

Make it Second Nature – get involved in Waverley Council’s sustainability program! Bringing together community initiatives and individual actions to achieve our community environmental targets. Find out more on their website.

Public and community gardening – if you don’t have space for a garden at home, why not check out Waverley’s many community and public gardening opportunities? Younger children can enjoy being around the garden, and older children can start to help and be more actively involved. You can find out more information here.