Reduce your waste with kids

As an adult you may be good at reducing your own rubbish, but it can seem a bit trickier when it comes to young kids. There are toys, birthday parties and the need for on-hand snacks at all times!

But there are some easy things you can do to shrink your family’s waste…

  1. Our best tip yet: get a toy library membership.
    You’ll find your closest toy library at your local children’s centre or maternal and child health centre. For a small membership fee (around $50 a year) you can have access to a huge range of toys for all ages and interests that you can borrow and return as you please.

    You know how it usually goes: you buy your child a toy, they play with it for about a week then they’re over it.

    And all of those cheap little plastic ones often clutter up your house until they end up as landfill, causing major environmental problems.

    There are only so many toys a child needs, in fact research shows that the fewer toys a child has, the more time they’ll spend playing with them.

    Toy libraries keep your toys on rotation, saving your hip pocket and the environment. Everyone’s a winner here.
  2. Try buying experiences instead of toys as presents.
    Zoo passes, water park/play centre sessions and movie tickets all make great gifts that kids will love.

    Best of all there’s no waste involved; no bins full of unnecessary plastic packaging and foam. Instead, you’re creating experiences – and special memories – for children.
  3. Surplus supplies of kids’ artwork = ready-made wrapping paper
    This is a great use for the seemingly endless supply of kids’ paintings that come home from day care or kinder.

    Of course you want to hold on to some, but you can use the extras as wrapping paper for the equally endless stream of kids’ birthday parties you get invited to.

    It’s a wonderful reuse for surplus supplies of kids’ art.
  4. Ditch individually packaged drinks at kids’ birthday parties
    A jug of water – or cordial – and reusable cups are much better for the environment.

    You can put stickers with each child’s name on the cups to help keep track of who’s whose.

    Or better yet, have the party at your local park and the bubbler tap works nicely; no cups needed!
  5. Making your own snacks is actually much easier than you think.
    Delicious snacks like Anzac biscuits and banana bread can often be made out of what’s in your pantry at any given time.

    Otherwise, avoid those individually packed snacks that seem to contain more plastic packaging than actual food.
  6. Buy in bulk and invest is some quality reusable containers.
    Try to keep your food nude – and get the kids’ input on what goes into their lunchbox to help encourage them to eat it.
  7. Hand-me-downs are making a comeback
    Have you been to your local op shop lately? People donate high quality items – sometimes still with tags on - and it will save you a packet!

    Hand down your child’s clothes to friends with younger kids and hopefully others will return the favour to you!

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Tell us your tips - we’d love to hear how you reduce your family’s waste. Send your tips to our Education Officer ([email protected]).

Page last updated: Tuesday, 4 January 2022