As bump grows and our future as proper adults becomes more of a reality, we decided to try out a waste free parenting workshop. Given our enthusiasm for reducing waste we thought it would be hypocritical to not at least explore the options… even if the idea of using cloth nappies seems a bit daunting.

To be honest, I actually felt almost embarrassed about going to the workshop and I think it’s because of the attitude of a lot of parents who scoff when you say that you’re planning to try and give reusable nappies a go. It’s stereotyped as this really hard thing and with the amount of times a day I’m hearing ‘make the most of your sleep while you can’ and other such quips it’s easy to think the easy route is the only way to stay sane as new parents.

Thankfully Kate Mead (aka the Nappy Lady) who runs these workshops is a Mum herself and makes waste free parenting seem attainable. She’s very real, not some zen green goddess who’s never put a foot wrong. Instead she openly admits that her and her husband used to be some of the worst consumers around. It was only when her little boy came along that she started thinking about how she was impacting the future of the planet. I have to admit that this is our main motivator too – we can’t think just of ourselves anymore.


Turns out modern cloth nappies are waaaay cooler these days

Kate’s strategy is to commit to one change every year and to stick to it. Her goal this year is to eliminate plastic drinking straws from her life – instead choosing stainless steel or paper or simply asking for no straw when ordering a drink. It may seem like a tiny change but Kate’s theory is that by changing one thing every year you’re not shooting too high and disappointing yourself when you don’t achieve your goals.

And if you’re of the opinion that little changes don’t make a difference then here’s a good stat for you – if every baby had just one cloth nappy change per day this would prevent 1 million disposables from going to landfill every week in New Zealand. Yep, one million every WEEK.

It’s this kind of knowledge that we need to shout about. Too often people aren’t willing to change their habits because they feel like they won’t make a difference and that it’s all too hard basket. From our experience with composting, worm farms, soft plastics recycling and bokashi bins, it’s not hard at all. Instead, it’s just about creating new habits so that you don’t even realise when you’re doing good.

I challenge you to go along and not end up LOLing through it. Seriously, Kate is actually hilarious and you don’t even think about the fact that you’re being lectured because she’s just so entertaining. Hell, she’s even convinced me to try one of those moon cups when the time comes for me to need one again and that is some powerful shit.

Is this the future we want for our clean green landscape?

The workshop explores the impact of our waste in depth (and I mean really deep – there are some parts that are not for the squeamish). I will never ever look at recycling the same way again and now find myself consciously thinking of where each and every waste product is going to end up whereas I used to be a bit on autopilot when throwing something in the bin.

There’s not actually a huge amount of time dedicated to nappies which is why I think it’s still relevant even if you’re not a parent. Yes the goody bag that you get with your ticket has nappies in it but there are also products that are handy in any home – like beeswax wraps aka better smelling, more efficient and reusable Gladwrap as well as a reusable menstual pad… yeah, less convinced on that one.

Enough ranting from me though, the power is in your hands now. And that’s exactly how I feel after the workshop – empowered. Gone is the intimidation and trepidation and in its place is a motivation to try our best. Even if that only eventuates to using one reusable a day and disposables the rest of the time then at least I can be happy that our small effort will still make a difference. I urge you to get amongst either this or one of Kate’s other workshops and if you’re still not convinced then just go for the Toffee Pops at half time and see how you get on.


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