5 Simple Ways that Moms Can Reduce Waste

We’re moms. We change diapers and wipe snotty noses and scrub sticky messes, every single day. That’s on top of working, doing laundry, paying bills, making meals, taking care of spouses, and occasionally taking a shower. Yeah, we’re more than just moms, we’re super moms.

As awesome as this motherhood stuff can be, it also comes with a lot of trash (both literally and figuratively). The baby gear, the diapers, the wipes, the tissues, the list goes on…So here are a few simple and practical ways that moms can help save the world by reducing waste.

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1) Buy Reusable Coffee Filters

Most of us start our day with coffee, and all those filters and Keurig pods end up taking a lot of space in our trash cans and recycle bins. Buying reusable coffee filters or Keurig pods, along with regular coffee grounds, is definitely your best bet. I use these ones and have no complaints. It’s a very simple way to eliminate one form of trash that we create every day. You can also buy a reusable cup, like this pretty rose gold travel mug, and refill it at coffee shops and gas stations, so that you can cut back on those disposable products as well.

2) Use Cloth Diapers and Wipes

Full disclosure here: I do not use cloth diapers all the time. I have a small stash of cloth diapers and cloth wipes, and I use them whenever laundry is done and whenever I feel that it’s possible. Personally, I believe some circumstances and environments call for disposable diapers, and that’s totally okay! Even if parents use cloth diapers and reusable wipes part time, they are saving so much money and reducing so much waste. Find yourself a great stash of cloth diapers from a second-hand site like Offer Up, or grab these inexpensive cloth diapers from Amazon. You can also search Pinterest for tips on making your own cloth baby wipes. I use mini-wash cloths, a locking baby wipe container, and a natural soap/essential oil mixture. Super cheap, easy to prep, and so gentle on baby’s skin.

3) Buy Reusable Napkins Instead of Disposables

This category really expands to all paper products, including paper towels, tissues, and cleaning wipes. I used to create so much trash, just from cleaning my house or eating a meal. Paper towels to wipe down counter tops, knobs, sinks and toilets. Lysol disinfecting wipes for surfaces and Swiffer wipes for floors. All this stuff went right into the trash when I was done. I also used disposable napkins when eating, disposable tissues when blowing my nose, and disposable paper towels for cleaning up spills.

So. Much. Trash. 

There are a few easy ways to eliminate this trash, even when you’re a busy mom with messy little kids. Warm, soapy water and reusable wash cloths make cleanup super easy. Reusable napkins are inexpensive and they also contribute to ease of cleaning up and reducing waste. Why should we buy disposable napkins that we’ll only use once and put right into the trash?

Reusable napkins literally last FOREVER, they save us so much money, and they make cleanup a breeze. These ones are inexpensive and they are great quality, you just have to break them in a bit because they start out sort of crunchy. I also use reusable wipes and napkins to clean up meal-time messes and scrub the kids down. And no more Swiffer sweeper. This mop is super easy to use and clean, and there is no trash that results from using it. When you’re done using any of these items, you can throw them right into the washer and clean them for reuse. Easy peasy!

4) Buy a Water Filter 

Here’s a crazy fact: over 500 million plastic bottles are used worldwide each year. Crazy. In just the U.S. and the U.K., over 550 million plastic straws are used each year. That’s a lot of trash! Can you even imagine how much of that trash ends up in our beautiful oceans? Too much…

Even busy moms can do their part by using water filters instead of plastic bottles. I use this water filter and it works beautifully. Is it honestly any cheaper than buying plastic bottles? Not really. When I did the math, the price ends up being about the same, if you change out the filters as often as you’re supposed to. I’m very happy to pay the same price for something that is better for my body and our planet.

Reusable cups reduce waste too, so buy everyone in the house their own reusable cup, and don’t give in to those convenient disposable cups and straws at your local coffee shop or fast food spot. It takes two seconds to rinse a cup clean, but it takes about 450 years for the average plastic bottle or cup to biodegrade…yeah, let that sink in for a bit.

5) Limit Your Baby Purchases 

Alright, super moms. This is where it gets really tough. We all want the latest and greatest gadgets and clothes for our sweet babes. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying nice, new things. But every time we purchase something new, there is trash that comes along with it. Receipts, price tags, instruction manuals, boxes, bubble wrap, packing tape. And every time we purchase an upgrade, something else ends up in the garage, then in the trash, and eventually in a landfill. 

So. Much. Trash. 

I’m not suggesting that you make your kids go without. I’m only suggesting that we all think before we buy. 

Babies need so little. Diapers, blankets, a safe place to sleep, a car seat, and a few outfits. And they grow so fast. Buying baby items secondhand limits your trash output and keeps those items out of landfills. It’s definitely something to think about before making your next purchase.

One of my favorite quotes by Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better, and when you know better, then do better.” We can’t know that things need to change unless someone speaks up, and we don’t realize the strength of our numbers. Mothers are an incredible force to be reckoned with, and these are just a few easy things we can do to start improving our earth.


  1. cherralle

    October 22, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    Thank you for these tips! I was busy doing some “spring” cleaning in our home today and I realised how many useless things we bring into the home. I am trying to live simply where I can. Buy less, and do more with what we have at that time. The children also get bored with the toys (do we really need 20 toys in our life?) the only thing i will continue to buy with a passion are books.

    1. Cate

      October 23, 2017 at 12:02 am

      I agree! I do love our books, and we’ll make room for those always. I’m trying to learn, and also show my family, that we don’t need to constantly be bringing STUFF into the house for happiness. My daughter has a huge family on my husband’s side, and she’s constantly getting gifted toys and clothes. It’s wonderful, but also overwhelming. So we do everything in circulation haha. One group of toys for a few weeks, then circulate, then donate the ones that aren’t her favorites, and start all over again. What a life we lead! Thank you for commenting on my post, I appreciate the support so much!

  2. melani

    October 23, 2017 at 5:53 am

    I consider buying a water filter. Love the tips to reduce wastes.

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