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Eco-Friendly Parenting with Bamboo: From Toys to Tableware

Children’s products that harm the environment abound. What can an eco-conscious new parent do to protect their family?

Fortunately, you can choose bamboo products, such as toys and tableware. Not only are these items earth-friendly, but they are also safe and durable.

However, some companies have misled families into purchasing unsustainable products. This guide will tell you how to make the best bamboo choices and other sustainable options for your family while reducing the stress of parenting.

How Bamboo Choices Can Benefit Your Family

Bamboo products are a great choice for a sustainable home. Bamboo grass is strong enough to substitute for wood. It is eco-friendly for several reasons. It matures in only five years, making it a renewable source. Plus, its fibers don’t release chemicals during or after harvest.

Most notably, bamboo is notorious for its beauty and durability. The fibers of this grass are strong enough to create many different products that have a luxurious look. This means that people are less likely to dispose of it due to its long life-cycle in comparison to more flimsy materials like plastic.

How to Choose Eco-friendly Bamboo Options

That said, you should be aware of companies trying to pass wood or synthetic products off as bamboo. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission fined Kohl’s and Walmart the largest civil penalty for fraud. They deceived the public by claiming that products made from synthetic rayon fibers were bamboo.

How can you tell the difference between bamboo and synthetic substitutes? There are some key distinguishing features of what bamboo wood looks like:

  • Bamboo grain has short lines running through it, horizontally or vertically, with distinctive nodes,
  • The color of bamboo ranges from a pale yellow to a honey brown.
  • Bamboo is much lighter than wood, yet it is still quite strong.

Because it is durable and sturdy, bamboo makes an excellent choice for the products that your child will grow alongside, like toys.

Selecting Sustainable Toys

With young children, selecting sustainable toys is essential for their future. Products made from recycled plastic, wood, and especially bamboo are safe and lasting. Eco-friendly toys are generally free from harmful chemicals, like toxic paints, ensuring your child’s safety.

Eco-friendly toys allow your child’s imagination to grow. They promote open-ended play and foster critical thinking, similar to techniques used in educational systems like Montessori.

Eco-friendly toys also help build your child’s motor skills, their hand-eye coordination, and cognitive abilities. Plus, your child may develop a preference for eco-friendly items as they age due to the fond memories they have with these toys.

Creating a Safe and Sustainable Home

Beyond toys, bamboo items can be incredibly useful in the kitchen. Harmful plastics are found in sippy cups, bowls, and other tools for children. These contain harmful chemicals like BPS, BPF, phthalates, and polyvinyl chloride. Research as recent as 2022 finds that these chemicals are directly related to immune disorders, hormonal challenges, and other diseases.

Medical Products

You should also find ways to implement bamboo in other areas of the home, especially when it comes to medical products. For example, you can easily search for reusable bamboo medicine dosage cups, but be sure to disinfect thoroughly in between uses.

For other medical products, searching for reusable bamboo materials can be a bit more tricky to keep your child safe and sanitized. After all, you wouldn’t want to reuse a bamboo band-aid if it’s already been used. In those circumstances, you must use sustainable disposable practices.

This is especially important if your kid has a disease that is especially common among other children, who may be participating in similar unsustainable waste practices.

For example, asthma is especially common among children and is often accompanied by unnecessary waste. This means that thousands of kids and their parents dispose inhalers in either unsafe or unsustainable ways, which can potentially damage the environment. In fact, 29% of disposed inhalers still have medical propellants left over which can eventually leak out into landfills and water systems, affecting local populations, flora, and fauna.

Here are some options to sustainably dispose of them:

  • Medical product disposal programs at your pharmacy.
  • Some neighborhoods host events to turn in expired medications and inhalers.
  • Mail-back programs, if your company offers it.
  • Some inhaler parts are recyclable.

No matter what option you take, think about the environmental impact, and do your due diligence.

Self-Care to Ease Your Climate Concerns

Even if you replace every item in your house with bamboo items, you may still feel lingering anxiety about the world your children will inherit. After all, most environmental concerns can be easily addressed through collective action.

Still, it’s just as important to take responsibility as individuals and parents. If you take too much responsibility, however, you can easily develop symptoms associated with burnout or climate anxiety. To simultaneously take sustainable action and keep a sane head, prioritize balance and self-care, especially if you are a working parent.

Here are some beneficial choices you can make every day:

  • Make one nontoxic swap at a time. Replacing toys, dishware, and utensils with bamboo products is a simple first step to making your home more eco-friendly.
  • Take steps to be healthy and feel good about yourself. Dress for your day rather than sitting in your pajamas. Exercise and eat right. Relax with deep breathing or meditation.
  • Get support and learn to say “no.” Enlist the help of friends and family or hire child care as needed to get some valuable “me time.”
  • Learn a new hobby. This is a great opportunity to take up a hobby that can make the world a greener place, such as gardening. Not only is beneficial for the Earth, but it can provide a space for you to unplug from your worries about the world.

Whatever commitment you make to building a more sustainable home through bamboo materials, any action is better than no action. So take a deep breath, and keep your eyes open to the world of bamboo.

Image Source: Unsplash.