Baby (almost) zero waste for a month - The360 Lifestyle

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  • Sunday, December 1, 2019

    Baby (almost) zero waste for a month

    Baby (almost) zero waste for a month

    A baby can produce a lot of waste: diapers, but also products and packaging of all kinds. For a month, La Presse has maintained (as much as possible) a waste-free lifestyle for the care of an 11-month-old baby. Our experience, in five challenges. 


    Let's emphasize it from the outset: in terms of layers, we do not start from scratch. Girl uses since birth washable diapers ... except at night. And this is our greatest fear: will the washable layer overflow the night? In short, will baby wake up again?

    We talk to two moms zero waste. Their answer: it depends on the babies.

    "With my daughter, no problem with washable diapers, day or night," says Cindy Trottier, founder of the Zero Waste Circuit, which helps people find unpackaged products in their area. But with my guy, I never managed to find a washable diaper that did the job at night. I got up three, four times a night to change diapers... I had to let go."

    In any case, says Laure Caillot, zero waste consultant and author of the blog Lauraki, the goal is not to be zero waste (nobody is entirely!), But to strive for zero waste. "If, for us, the best solution is the disposable diaper at night, it's ok! We do what makes sense in our routine and for our child."

    We go to the Câlins et popotin store in Rosemont, where we can find washable diapers and a section of baby products in bulk. For the night, the manager Emmanuelle Robidou advises us to put a very absorbent layer model. We buy one... and we cross our fingers.

    To our surprise, baby does not wake up more than usual with its night coat, nor even with its usual washable diapers, which however tend to run away at night.

    Considering there are about 550 nights left for baby before cleanliness, should we buy four more night diapers or put him 550 disposable diapers?

    "From an environmental point of view, the problem of washable diapers is washing. However, you will not make more loads if you have four more layers, "notes Jean-François Ménard, an analyst at the International Reference Center on the Life Cycle of Products. The option of the four new washable diapers is surely the best in terms of the environment, he says.


    The other mourning we have to do is that of disposable wet wipes, oh so polluting, but oh so practical.

    For diaper change, we already have several washable washcloths, but wet wipes are very tempting when we do not want to make a detour through the bathroom to wet the washcloth.

    There are several options to remedy this, says Emmanuelle Robidou, of Câlins et popotin. A bottle of water or a bottle of liniment - a product that cleans and protects the baby's bottom - can be kept near the changing table. You can also install a wipe warmer and put a few wet washcloths every morning (be careful to change them every day to prevent bacterial growth).

    Finally, we just decide to discipline ourselves and take those extra seconds to get to the tap. Out, we put some wet wipes in a plastic bag. And we wash them with the layers.

    The wipes have not (too) missed us.

    Products of daily use

    The idea behind zero waste is to reduce to the source, notes Laure Caillot. "At home, recycling did not increase when I began to reduce the size of the trash," she says. Recycling has also gradually decreased. In short, it would be necessary to limit the quantity of packaging that is balanced with recycling.


    Armed with clean Mason jars, we buy, in bulk, a shower gel and an ointment for the buttocks. We also buy a dry shampoo, which we like the result on the hair of three children, but less on those of adults. As for sunscreen, we opt for the 1 liter format. The largest format remains the one that generates the least amount of packaging waste, provided it is not wasted.

    The teeth

    In bulk, there is toothpaste without fluoride, but it is now recommended to use fluoride toothpaste from the eruption of the first tooth and to put the amount of a grain of rice. So we opt for a tube of ordinary toothpaste. A few days later, without thinking too much, you buy a plastic toothbrush. The bamboo brush, whose handle is compostable, is it also effective? There are no studies on this, notes Caroline Quach, a specialist dentist for children. "The hairs are often stiffer than conventional toothbrushes and the feeling of bamboo in the mouth seems to be a disadvantage," she notes. We still promise to try it next time.


    Another dilemma is acetaminophen in syrup. Again, the greenest choice would be to take the largest format, but little girl has a noticeable preference for a brand that is only available in 15-ml format - that one decides to buy. "On the medication side, I do not compromise," says Cindy Trottier. If baby prefers one kind in particular, I opt for this kind to avoid waste."


    As for baby summer clothes, we buy used songs, which are easily found on Facebook's Marketplace. "Things for babies last a short time; so we end up with a really good second-hand market," says Laure Caillot.


    Again, we leave with a head start: baby is breastfed (which avoids packaging of formula), has never eaten commercial mash, we are used to compost and we buy little prepared dishes. But when it comes to packaging, we can do better.

    We visit the zero waste grocery store in our neighborhood. We who are used to buying our products wholesale, prices, although reasonable for a local trade, we seem high: the couscous is 34% more expensive than the one we buy wholesale, the flour, 62% more dear, sugar, 43%, chickpeas, 29%, arborio rice, 40%...

    Cindy Trottier reassures us: the purchase of basic products in large format (flour, legumes, pasta...) generates quantities of waste similar to the bulk purchase. "And when you're a family, it's advantageous," she says. Provided, of course, to avoid waste.

    We keep our buying habits in bulk, but we stop putting our fruits and vegetables in transparent plastic bags. Our butcher unfortunately refuses to use our containers, arguing a question of safety. Finally, beeswax - compostable - is also available to replace plastic wrap.

    The birthday

    At the end of the month is our last challenge: the girl's birthday. Babies do not have huge needs for toys, recalls Cindy Trottier. "A child will have a lot more fun with the spring behind the door than with any colored doll in the world," she says.

    First of all, the grandparents, who agree to play the game, are notified. They even bring their own plate to the pastry chef to deposit the cake...

    Because little girl lacks nothing, she simply receives four new books, two used books, and old toys from her brother and sister that were stored in the basement. The two elders enthusiastically offer him one of their (too many) doggies.

    We allow ourselves a madness: the grandparents buy him a new small rigid plastic swimming pool (more durable), because nothing interesting was found on the used market.

    For the decoration, we install in the living room a garland of lights that we already had, and we ask the two elders to decorate the room with their (too many) doggies.

    In addition to allowing the big to get involved, this holiday cost us almost nothing... and baby saw only fire.

    Balance sheet

    During this month, exclusive baby care generated little waste: two disposable diapers, used to troubleshoot, a plastic ribbon surrounding the party cake, a drawstring and two self-adhesive labels. In recycling, a label and a cardboard box, and torn wrapping paper.

    This first month without waste was easy. It took a little more organization (think of bringing his fruit bags to the grocery store and his wet washcloths out, prepare snacks without waste...), but all this takes less time and money than we do the plane apprehended.

    We will keep our new habits... except perhaps for wet wipes.

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