10 Easy Zero Waste Swaps For Kids

Super simple plastic alternatives for kids that will help them become zero-waste warriors!

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Are you a parent wanting to lower your family’s carbon footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle? You are not alone.

Parents today are realizing the dangers of plastic, and are shifting toward an all-natural and environmentally friendly way of living.

Ditching single use plastic and being more intentional with purchases is a habit that many parents are embracing.

Sustainable living saves you money, reduces clutter, improves your overall health, and you help contribute to a cleaner planet.

With that said, I’ve compiled a list of plastic swaps that parents and kids can easily make!

1. Switch To Plastic-Free Dental Care

Greenzla Bamboo Toothbrushes|AnPei Plant-Based Toothbrushes|ChewTab Toothpaste Tablets|isshah Natural Floss Picks

One of the easiest zero-waste swaps that kids can make is right in their bathroom! A large majority of dental care products are made out of plastic, and contain toxic ingredients that can be harmful if swallowed.

So opt for toothbrushes that are made from 100% plant-based material instead! You can also acquire compostable floss picks that likewise, are made from 100% plant based material.

And lastly, non-toxic toothpaste tablets are a great alternative to toothpaste! Many toothpaste tablets come in kid-friendly flavors, like bubble-gum, and you don’t have to worry about harmful ingredients.

2. Switch To Shampoo Bars

Ethique Oaty Delicious| Reef Safe Shampoo Bar|Foamie Shampoo Bar| Shea Terra Organics Shampoo Bar|Ethique Conditioner Bar

Another great zero-waste swap that kids can make is opting for shampoo bars instead of traditional bottled shampoo. As parents, we should be a lot more conscious of what we’re putting on our kids—especially cleansing products, which can contain a lot of toxic ingredients and hormone disrupting chemicals.

Shampoo bars are made from all-natural, ethically sourced organic ingredients, take up less space, last longer and are non-toxic. They are literally so mild and gentle, that you can even use them on your newborn. See my blog post about the best shampoo bars for kids if you’d like more recommendations.

3. Switch To Reusable Straws

Softy Straws|Slurp|Amalka + Albert|Mood Straws|Tegion

A super easy zero-waste swap for kids is switching from disposable straws to reusable straws. Single-use plastic straws are everywhere—and your kids will encounter them all throughout life. So teaching them the importance of reusable straws is the best thing that you can do as a mindful parent.

When it comes to choosing a reusable straw for your child, opt for silicone. Metal straws can be hard on your little one’s teeth, but silicone are temperature neutral, and gentle on enamel. Many straws come in fun, bright colors with cleaning accessories, and some even change colors. See my blog post on the best straws for kids for more info.

4. Switch To Reusable Water Bottles

Claire’s Rainbow Bottle|OneBttl Unicorn Bottle|Camelbak|ZakDesigns Minecraft Bottle|Battle Royale

Reusable water bottles are another excellent zero-waste swap that your kids can make. Single-use plastic bottles are one of the worst offenders when it comes to landfill and ocean pollution. Not to mention the fact that plastic bottles leach harmful chemicals which actually disrupt our hormones—a huge factor to consider when it comes to our children.

Reusable water bottles are a lot cooler now-a-days than they were when we were kids. They are also much better at keeping your water colder for longer periods of time. And since many schools actually require that kids bring a reusable water bottle to school, insulation is a very important feature. Your child will love that many reusable bottles represent their style—from their favorite colors to their favorite video game.

5. Switch To Biodegradable Dinnerware

Webuyii Horse Set|ConsumerChampions Monkey Set|LilyPad + Little Mr. Elephant Set|Bamboo Kids Cups|WendyWu Wooden Plate Set|Stainless Steel Mug

A lot of dinnerware for kids that you see in-stores are plastic and non-recyclable. That’s why considering a switch to eco-friendly dinnerware that’s biodegradable is a much better option for your kids and the planet.

There are a ton of eco-friendly and biodegradable dinnerware sets that your child will love eating and drinking out of. Most eco-friendly dinnerware sets for kids are made from bamboo fiber, wood or wheat and rice husks. They are also made in fun shapes and encourage your little one to eat and try new foods. Check out my blog post on the best biodegradable dinnerware sets for kids if you’d like more recommendations.

6. Switch To Plastic-Free Snack Containers

Bumkins Unicorn Sandwhich Bags|Spaceship Snack Bags|Stainless Steel Snack Containers

Snack containers are yet another item to consider when making a zero-waste swap for your kids. Most people tend to pack their kids’ snacks and lunches in resealable plastic bags. But, there are many unique reusable options that parents can use instead.

There are many eco-friendly snack container options to choose from, and silicone, stainless steel and fabric are some of the safest options you can buy. If you’d like some brand recommendations, see my blog post on best reusable toddler snack cups.

7. Switch To Wooden Toys

Wooden Block City|Wooden Action Hero|Eco Bricks|Wooden Stove|Wooden Doll House|Wooden Solar Car

Plastic toys have taken over our children’s lives, and in a way, they limit imaginations and result in so much clutter. That’s why I love toys that are made out of wood. Aside from being eco-friendly, they are simple and allow a child’s imagination to expand, plus, they are nontoxic—making them an awesome zero-waste choice for kids.

Just because a toy is made from wood, doesn’t mean that it is less fun than a traditional plastic toy. Play kitchens, action figures and many building toys are made from wood and children enjoy them.

8. Switch To Eco-Friendly Art Supplies

Buzzy ReCycleMe Project Box|Recycled Colored Pencils|Eco-Friendly Finger Paint|Beeswax Crayons

The one thing about arts and crafts is that it’s a great way for kids to get creative and really expand their imaginations and fine motor skills. Unfortunately, partaking in arts and crafts activities also produces a lot of trash. It’s a love-hate relationship. And not a lot of crayons and other accessories are recyclable.

So how do your kids go zero-waste with art supplies? I recommend buying recycled craft material or eco-friendly material like pencil crayons instead of markers or beeswax crayons instead of plastic. You can even get entire kits made especially out of recycled items.

9. Switch To Homemade Snacks

Stainless Steel Popsicle Molds|Silicone Cake Pop Mold|Silicone Cupcake Molds|Stainless Steel Popcorn Popper|Silicone Granola Bar Molds

Ditch those over processed snack packs and have a blast making your own! Home made treats are the best, and you can get a ton of helpful and eco-friendly bakeware and cookware that help make some awesome treats! Plus, you won’t be stuck with wrappers that aren’t always recyclable and just add waste to landfills.

If your kids love popsicles, you can get a reusable Popsicle mold to make an unlimited amount of healthy ice pops! There are also many silicone tray molds available that can create everything from muffins and cupcakes to cake pops and granola bars! Trust me, your kids will appreciate home-made treats a lot more.

10. Switch To Organic Clothing

Mightly organic cotton children’s clothing

Lastly, switching to organic clothing is a wonderful eco-friendly option for your kids. Fast fashion has become so unhealthy, that all the pesticides and chemicals within children’s clothing are causing skin allergies, and even behavioral health issues.

This is why I recommend buying fair trade, durable, organic or recycled-fabric clothing as much as possible. Organic fabric is less processed and doesn’t contain flame retardant and other toxic chemicals. Organic clothing may cost a few extra dollars, but the high quality fabric and positive impact on a child’s health is worth the buy!


9 thoughts on “10 Easy Zero Waste Swaps For Kids”

  1. Love, love, love this! I especially love the dinosaur toothbrushes, they’re so cute ❤ I love that you are trying to get your kids to make eco-swaps 🙂 xx

  2. Okay wow, I love this post. This is so helpful. I haven’t even considered some of these types of products, or didn’t even know they existed. We do love our reusable straws, reusable snack containers, and reusable water bottles… but I’ll definitely have to check out these other products.

    1. That is great news! I love helping other parents become aware of what is available for the little ones! Thank you for reading!

  3. This is a great list if you don’t know where to start with swapping out plastic. Thanks for the links to recommended products as well!

  4. Love this! Our family has been making the switch for awhile and it can be overwhelming but your post is very helpful in guiding readers to products they might not think about.

  5. I’ve been taking small steps to go zero-waste but never even thought about ideas on how to get my son to go zero-waste. Reusable water bottles will definitely be my first step especially for when he goes to school he would love to show off his cool water bottle he got. My son loves to take lunch from home and using the zero-waste snack containers will would be another great idea.

    Love the article will definitely be making more steps to zero-waste for my son.

    1. That’s great to hear! I’m personally jealous of all the cool water bottle designs that kids have compared to us adults!

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