I recently got rid of a large amount of baby clothes and items—it's something I should have done a long time ago since my kids have not been babies for a very long time! I held on to their things for so long because they were cute and tiny and maybe someday (I thought) I may want to dig them up and go through them to reminisce. But then one day while walking by those bags of "stuff" that were sitting there taking up space, something changed. I was ready to get rid of them. It was time. The sentimentality was gone, I was ready to let it all go. (well, maybe not all...I did keep a few special things!)
Simply putting it out on the curb was definitely not an option, so I took the time to separate everything based on what I was going to do with them. Here are some ideas for how you can get rid of your baby stuff (when you too are ready to let go!)
For things that have been gently used and still have some mileage left in them, if there is even a chance of having another baby, keep your stuff to use as hand-me-downs for your future children! The amount of money you will save will be significant. If you are definitely out of baby-making mode, then hand them down to nieces, nephews, babies of friends, or neighbours. Anyone who will take and use them.
Organize a swap date with friends who have children of different ages. By trading items and clothes, you and your friends will walk away with things that will be able to be used now or in the near future.
Consignment stores take in your gently used baby and children's clothing and when the items are sold, they share the profit with you! You can also buy items from the store at a fraction of the cost of buying brand new.
Freecycling is a way to get rid of unneeded things by giving them away to someone in your city who is looking for what you no longer need. You simply post your item to a board on your local freecycle website with the details and if someone is interested in what you have, then you arrange pickup or delivery.
Enter your city in the search box on freecycle.org and you will find a board that you can submit things to and also find things up for grabs.
Donating is usually my go-to. There are so many organizations who are in need of baby items and clothing. Think of women's shelters, your local birthright organization, thrift stores, or even charities who take clothing.
So what about those baby items that are just not worthy of being used again like old soothers, toys, ripped clothing, stained bibs, cups, bottles etc. Many of these things cannot simply be thrown into your blue bin, so you will be happy to know that you are not stuck throwing them in the trash, you can have them recycled by TerraCycle.
I've written before about all the unique things TerraCycle is doing to help us upcycle and recycle trash (things like used Tassimo pods, chocolate bar wrappers, coffee bags and other things you probably never though could be re-purposed!).
Their latest solution (which is currently being tested out to see how people respond to them) is called the Baby Care Zero Waste Box and here is how it works:
2. Gather all of the baby items in your home that cannot be given away and fill the box up.
3. The cost of shipping and recycling is included in the purchase price of the box. When it's filled, UPS will pick it up from your home and ship it off to TerraCycle who will then take the items and recycle them. Simple as that!
Getting rid of your baby items isn't always easy, especially for those who are sentimental like me, *sniff*. but knowing that you are helping others in the process or recycling them and not filling a landfill is a great way to feel better about it.
Looking for more ways to get rid of unwanted items? Read how you can have your old car tires upcycled for free and here's how you can have your coffee pods, juice pouches, coffee bags and more upcycled.
What kid doesn't like a glow stick? They are a year-round object of fascination and with Halloween coming up, they can be found everywhere. Other than the fun they bring to kids, they are also used as a way to ensure your trick-or-treaters are seen in the dark on Halloween. Before reading up on glow sticks, I had no idea what made them work. I've never bought them before, so I had the same questions you most likely do: What is inside of a glow stick? How does a glow stick glow? Are glow sticks safe? What are some alternatives to glow sticks? I'm going to answer those questions for you.
There are many recipes for glow sticks, but the most common one contains the following: dibutyl phthalate (part of the phthalate family which are all known hormone disruptors), hydrogen peroxide, phthalic ester, phenyl oxalate ester, and a glass tube all encased inside of the plastic stick.
The glow is due to the chemical reaction between the ingredients inside if the stick. You activate the glow stick by cracking the glass bulb inside of it and when the contents of the glass bulb mix with the contents of what is inside the stick, you activate the chemical reaction that causes it to glow. This chemical reaction is called chemiluminescence.
Technically, if used correctly, there is no danger to your child using glow sticks. However, if the contents of the glow stick is released, that is where the trouble starts. Before giving your child a glow stick, be sure that it is not cracked or leaking.
If the liquid comes into contact with skin, it will cause irritation. If ingested, it will cause mouth and throat soreness. If it gets into the eyes, it will burn and sting. Not to mention, there are glass shards inside of the stick from the broken glass bulb. If any of these things happen, refer to this glow stick safety info and call your local poison control centre for directions on what to do.
In addition, glow sticks are made of plastic, which is not an eco-friendly choice so they are NOT safe for the environment. The sticks are one-use, so after it has finished glowing, it gets tossed into the trash and will sit in a landfill for a very long time. The chemicals inside of the sticks are not safe to flush down the toilet or wash down the drain because those chemicals will then become part of our water system.
Glow sticks are not only unsafe for your children if broken, they are also a danger to pets who will no doubt chew on them if given the chance. So if using, please be especially cautious with them around your pets. If your pet has ingested any of the contents of a glow stick, contact your local poison control centre or vet.
If you feel that glow sticks are not for you and your family, there are alternatives you can try. I did some research and I was not able to find any eco-friendly glow sticks (if you know of any, let me know in the comments!), so consider flashlights (kids LOVE flashlights), glow in the dark or brightly coloured clothing or accessories, or special theme related (Halloween, Christmas, Canada Day etc.) LED lights. Get creative!
I never flush and I never will. Flushing is a terrible habit that does more harm than good and you need to know why.
Now, before you get unpleasant visions in your head or close your browser window due to squeamishness, let me make it clear what I'm talking about (because it's probably not what you are thinking).
I NEVER flush pharmaceuticals, hygiene products, hazardous waste or oils down the toilet and I never wash them down the drain.
Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about why flushing and/or washing these things down the drain is a bad idea.
The Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) and the Clean Water Foundation (CWF) — in conjunction with The Regional Municipality of York, the Region of Peel and the Health Product Stewardship Association, recently launched the I Don't Flush public awareness campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to educate the public on this problem and ask them to return their unused/unwanted medications back to the pharmacy as opposed to flushing them down the toilet or drain, or throwing them in the garbage.
Twenty five per cent of Canadian households have unwanted, or expired medications and half of these households have also disposed of their medications the wrong way. Canadians spend more than $2.5 billion every year treating drinking water and wastewater, and we spend hundreds of millions more dealing with environmental and health problems related to water pollution, so why not cut back on that cost by doing something to help it? To me, the fact that we are spending hundreds of millions on environmental and health related problems is kinda scary and it is something I think we can absolutely cut back on if we all take part in the solution.
Flushing pharmaceuticals can contribute to the contamination of our water sources and it's common to detect traces of pharmaceuticals in our surface water, groundwater, drinking water and soil. According to the I Don't Flush website:
"The potential human health risks associated with minute levels of pharmaceuticals in water in general and drinking water in particular is small; however, taking preventative action by disposing of pharmaceuticals safely helps protect our drinking water sources over the long term."
But still. Like I always say, better safe than sorry.
In addition to pharmaceuticals, there are other things you should never flush or wash down a drain. If you do, here is how you can properly dispose of them going forward.
Most pharmacies will take back expired or unused medications or over-the-counter drugs. Visit www.healthsteward.ca to find a local pharmacy that can help you out.
These items will over time clog your home's drains and/or damage your city's drains and cause backups. Many of these things can go into the garbage, but some should be sent to a special drop-off location where they can be properly disposed of. Check with your city for specific info if you are not sure.
Things covered in the hygiene product category:
Just from the name, you already know that these products contain toxic chemicals so they are things you don't want in your water system. Each of these items require special disposal instructions, so please check with your city to find out the proper way. Before purchasing some of these things, try going the more natural route by using products, such as cleaners, that are better for you and the environment.
Things covered in the hazardous waste category include:
When these things are warm, they are runny and tempting to just rinse down the drain, but when they get into our drains and sewage systems, they become very cold and you know what happens to most fats, oils, and grease when they are cold: they harden. When hardened, guess what happens to drains and sewage systems? They get clogged. Take a look at what happened to a London sewer because of fats being poured into the drain.
Here are some excellent tips from the I Don't Flush website on proper disposal of fats, oils, and grease:
Keeping our water system clean requires each and every one of us to do our part. Yes, it may require a little extra work, but it's totally doable and helps to create a healthier future and environment for you and your family.