20 Easy Ways to be a Zero Waste Parent in Shanghai

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The trend of zero waste is catching on, and in a populous city like Shanghai there are plenty of options on creating a sustainable lifestyle. How to create a zero waste lifestyle for kids? Read here

1. Bye Bye Plastic Wraps

Kiss your saran wrap good-bye by using other methods to cover and store your food. How about reusable containers? Or, silicon suction lids? The options are endless…

2.  Use Real Cutlery

Go to the F&B market and purchase some plates and cutlery. It maybe hard during a kid’s birthday party, but you are teaching them the finer art of entertainment.

3. No Presents, Go with Experiences

Instead of purchasing and wrapping presents for birthdays or holidays, gift experiences instead. Maybe entrance tickets to a museum, or a prepaid coupon to the movies. Think of all the wrapping paper you can save! But, if it is for another kid’s birthday party be sure to check with the parent if this is acceptable.

4. Cloth Wraps

If providing a present is necessary (holiday gift exchange, kid’s birthday party), then choose a cloth wrap. The cloth can be kept and used for another purpose.

5. Bring Your Own Water Container

When out and about, instead of buying water in plastic bottles, opt to bring your own water in a reusable water bottle.

6. Say “No” to Straws

It is a small and simple act that you can do anywhere. Even paper straws are lined with plastic on the inside, so it’s better to just get rid of them all together.

7. Order Less

One of the biggest wastage is food waste. Meaning, you may be eating with four friends but end up ordering food for 10. Learn to order what you can finish. But, if you do want to take home left overs, bring your own Tupperware.

8. Swap not Shop

Kids grow out of their clothes easily, so instead of spending big bucks on new clothing. How about doing a clothing exchange. Or, get involved in second hand clothes. This can easily apply to kid furniture and toys as well.

9. Cloth Diapers

Babies can go through at least 20+ diapers a day. Opt for reusable diapers instead of the disposable ones. Think of all the money you can save.

10. DIY Playdough

Easy to make and easy to combust, all you need is flour and water. To make it colorful, add some food coloring. This is a great natural alternative to playdough without containers! If your kid likes their creation, you can bake it in the oven and it comes out like a ceramic piece.

11. Reuse Crayons

Tired of buying new crayons when they are down to the last bits? Match the broken bits together and with the aide of a silicon cupcake mold and an oven, you can melt the crayons together.

12. Make your own Makeup

If you have a tween that is curious about makeup, go all-natural and make your own! Not only are the materials all biodegradable, it will not harm your skin. For inspiration, take a class via My Farm to make masques and other natural skincare products.

13. Go to the Wet Market

 Flickr: David Leo Veksler

Instead of having your groceries delivering, grab your reusable cloth bag and take a trip to the local wet market. This is a great opportunity for your kids to learn about the different types of foods available.

14. Reuse Coffee Grinds

Instead of purchasing fancy deodorizers for the home, you can easily reuse coffee grinds to absorb odors. Just put the grinds in old yogurt containers.

15. Recycle Water

If you have a dehumidifier, use the water to mop or water plants.

16. Reusable Lunch Boxes

Instead of using paper bags and Ziploc to hold sandwiches, how about investing in a rewash able lunchbox?

17. Use Products that can Compost Easier

Have you used a luffa before? They are made out of natural ingredients that will compost easily. Great for showers and, you can also use them to wash the dishes.

18. Natural Cleaners

Learn to make your own detergents at home for cleaning. This is more natural and, can also create a non-toxic environment for your family.

19. Refill

Choose brands where you can refill your products rather than buying new ones. This will greatly help decrease the amount of plastic bottles. One product that you can refill easily is Eco&More

20. Repurpose

 Photo: Savoteur

Find new uses for old things …be creative and breathe new life in old materials. UseDem  (Wechat: UseDem) repurposes jeans into bags. Not only do they look good, it is also a-one-of-a-kind bag!

If you have other ideas on how to create a zero waste home, please let us know in the comment  section.

If you want to join a swap party, there will be one held at FitSpace on Sunday January 21st from 3 to 5pm. Flyer and extra details in the below.

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