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April 13, 2022 4 min read

Plastic-Free Parenting! 6 Tips for Raising Zero-Waste Kids


Let’s be honest. We live in a plastic obsessed world - especially when it comes to children’s goods. In fact, 90% of children's toys are dominated by plastic! 

From plastic toys to soft plastic packaging on school snacks, avoiding plastic and reducing waste is tricky when you’ve got little ones around. Luckily, there are plenty of clever ways to get your kiddos involved in plastic-free and low-waste living! 

From practical teaching tools to toys and games that are planet-friendly, we’ve got you covered right here! Read on to discover our 6 top tips for raising zero-waste kids! 

Plastic free toys for childres eco lifestyle

1. Open up the Conversation

First things first, let your kids in on the how, what, and why of your zero-waste efforts. 

There are plenty of reasons to aim for plastic-free and zero-waste lifestyles. Health/toxins, the environment, and even personal preference play a big role in keeping us all accountable for our own goals. The same is true for your kids!

To encourage buy-in and educate your children, let them in on why you are avoiding certain products. 

What we grow up with becomes our normal, however, when your kids start to notice other children’s plastic-packaged snacks, toys, and other goodies, they’ll probably start to wonder why they don’t see those things in their home. 

This is the perfect chance to explain eco-living to your kids and get them interested in making those choices for themselves as well! Better yet, hop on the subject before they start to ask. Kids are incredibly receptive to making positive choices when they know the how and why behind what they’re doing!

2. Start Small

Depending on how old your child is and how far along in your zero-waste journey you are, there will be plenty of opportunities to introduce new concepts in bite-sized amounts. 

Perhaps you’ve got primary school-aged kids that are beginning to take notice of what’s packed in their lunch each day. Get your kids involved in choosing or even making their low-waste lunch and package-free snacks!

Starting younger? Have your little’s carry your reusable bags into the store as their ‘big kid’ task!

Each of these smaller learning opportunities will set the stage for zero-waste choices down the road!

3. Make it Fun

If making planet-friendly choices is a chore, it won’t be sustainable in the long run. 

When it comes to kids, the best way to help solidify these lessons is to keep them fun and engaging. Create zero-waste games out of tasks like hunting down package-free lunch snacks in your grocery shop. Turn picking up rubbish at the beach a scavenger hunt, or pick them up a special takeaway box or cup to make bringing your own containers the new (and proud) norm. 

You may even find letting them decorate their own jars or jar sleeves to reuse for zero-waste school snacks makes packing these items exciting and proud for your littles. 

Reusable Jar Sleeve Saver

4. Create Accessibility

Perhaps the most important step in supporting your zero-waste kids' journey is creating accessibility to the low-waste and plastic-free items that keep you all accountable and make the process easier. 

Instead of taking away all of their plastic-filled toys, begin to crowd out their toy rotation with high-quality, plastic-free options that will last much longer and won’t wind up in the landfill. 

The eco-crafts and nature play games from Poppy & Daisy are a great resource for teaching your kids about recycling, reusing, and reducing waste while stimulating their senses and getting them tuned in to the world around them.

And of course, as you introduce zero-waste items, don’t forget to dispose of the plastic ones responsibly or pass them on for another life via second-hand shops!

5. Be an Advocate

The more your children see these positive changes happening, the more likely they will be to hop on board the mission - especially if their friends are doing it too!

Consider getting in touch with your kid’s school or kinder program to find out what initiatives they are taking for the environment and how you can help or introduce more! 

Being an advocate for change in your community is a great way to make a larger impactandget your kids inspired and involved. 

Once you're in, take your kids along too - and their friends! Nothing makes a beach clean up, recycling mission, or clothing drive more fun than doing it with your friends. 

6. Lead by Example

Finally, pave the way for your children by making zero-waste choices in your own life. 

Your kids look up to you like no other, so the more you integrate plastic-free living into your routine, the more they will too!

This may mean trading in your family’s shampoo bottles for shampoo bars, transitioning your pantry to package-free goods, going toxin and waste-free in your morning routine, shopping secondhand, or introducing compost or recycling into your home. 

Whatever you choose to do, do it with confidence and pride knowing that you’re raising your kiddos with amazing values!

kids eco toothbrushes

Bonus Tip: Be Flexible in the Face of Waste

When we’re going waste-free it can be easy to become obsessed with ‘perfecting’ the lifestyle. While this isn’t realistic for anyone, it’s even more challenging for your kids. 

Understand that sometimes there won’t be a zero-waste choice or they’ll really, REALLY want that plastic toy. 

Pick your battles and be flexible with things don’t go perfectly. Any effort towards a lower-waste life with your kids is massive and you should be incredibly proud of venturing down this path for our planet!

Zero-Waste Kids

Introducing your kids to a waste-free lifestyle may be daunting but rest assured knowing that you’ll be raising earth-minded children that will take action for our planet down the road. After all, each and every one of these efforts will contribute to a better future for them!

We’re so excited that you’ve chosen a planet-friendly lifestyle for yourself and your kids and can’t wait to hear all about your wins! 

Already on this journey with your kids? Perhaps you're looking for more ways to be a zero-waste role model for your kids? We share 9 Zero-Waste School Holiday Activities for every family, that might just be the inspiration you need! Enjoy!

Let us know how you get your kids involved by dropping a comment below - Your ideas may just be the magic that helps another zero-waste family thrive!

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