Sustainable Parenting: 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 on a zero-waste journey and would like to include your kids, but not sure where to begin? You’ve come to the right place! I can definitely help you out with these 10 easy zero-waste swaps that your kids can ease into.

Many parents already know about simple zero-waste swaps that their kids can make such as swapping single-use plastic straws for reusable straws and swapping single-use plastic water bottles for reusable water bottles, and that is awesome! That is already an excellent start to eco-conscious parenting that will make their kids eco-conscious adults one day.

But, there are so many other plastic swaps that not many parents know about, and I am so happy to share them with you! There are a ton of nontoxic, biodegradable and compostable items that are made especially for kids that are even cooler than their plastic predecessors, and your kids will love these plastic alternatives. Items like dental care, dinnerware, clothing and much much more.


Personally, I’m helping my kids go green, and you should too! Teaching them to live an eco-friendly lifestyle and applying the concept of minimalism and zero-waste to their lives isn’t such a bad thing—it’s a fantastic thing!
Hence, in my household, we have been making small steps to zero-waste swaps, and it’s been a successful journey thus far!

When it comes to children, it seems like all the products made for them are made out of some variation of plastic. Think about it—their toys, dinnerware, hair clips, tooth brushes, lunch boxes—it’s all plastic. And unfortunately, plastic includes chemicals that aren’t so kind to our kids’ health.

Our kids need to know that there are alternatives that are much kinder to their health, and to the Earth. Hence, below are 10 super simple zero-waste swaps that your kids can make—and they’ll enjoy the much cooler eco-friendly items!


Switch To Biodegradable 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 dental care! A large majority of dental care products are made out of plastic, contain plastic, and are made with harsh ingredients that can be harmful if swallowed. And it’s sad that these apply to many of kids’ dental care products as well—toothbrushes, floss picks, toothpaste—everything. But all of these are totally replaceable, and your kids won’t even miss them!

There are many toothbrushes for kids that are made from 100% plant-based compostable material—and they come in many fun shapes that encourage teeth brushing. 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.

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 bath and cleansing products. As parents, we are becoming a lot more conscious of what we’re putting on our kids—especially cleansing products, which can contain a lot of harsh ingredients and hormone disrupting chemicals. That’s why in the last year, many parents, including myself, have switched from using traditional shampoos for kids, to shampoo bars made especially for kids. And what a game changer.

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 or a little one with skin issues like eczema. They truly are an amazing product. If you’d like to know more about shampoo bars for kids, check out my article here!

Switch To Reusable Straws

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

A super easy zero-waste swap for kids is the use of reusable straws. Single-use plastic straws are everywhere—and your kids will encounter them all throughout life. So teaching them the importance of using a zero-waste straw is the best thing that you can do as an eco conscious parent. They will learn to avoid plastic straws in the future and will inspire others to do so as well!

There are so many really cool reusable straws that are made specifically for kids, and the best ones, in my opinion, are silicone (or ones that at least contain silicone tips). 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. For more information on the best straws for kids, see my article here!

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 leech 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.

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. Are they BPA free and safe to eat out of? Yes. But the problem with those is that not all of them are recyclable. And kids grow up quickly—so their preference for dinnerware sets will change on a frequent basis. With that said, ask yourself what will become of the old cups and plates once they’ve been tossed aside. Do you want something that can’t be recycled? Or would you rather have something that is biodegradable and compostable. That’s why considering a switch to eco-friendly dinnerware (which includes cups, bowls, cutlery and dishes) is a great zero-waste swap for kids.

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. If you’d like to know more about the best biodegradable dinnerware sets for kids, check out my article here!

Switch To Zero-Waste 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 so many cute reusable options that parents can use instead. Reusable snack bags and containers are an excellent zero-waste swap when it comes to packing a lunch or on-the-go snack.

There are so many adorable reusable snack containers that are made out of fabric and are completely washable. They also contain really fun designs that kids love. Stainless steel containers are also excellent for snacks because they are durable and won’t rust!

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 over time. 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, and they are nontoxic—making them an awesome zero-waste swap for kids.

Blocks are the most popular type of wooden toy. But, you can also purchase a doll house made completely out of wood—tiny furniture and all. And if your child is into science, then solar robotics toys are also available (and so cool!). Even action figures can be pretty cool when they are made out of wood.

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.

Switch To Home-made 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.

Switch To Organic Clothing


Brave Explorer Shirt|Divided Landscape Tee|Wild T-Shirt|Socks|Backpack

Lastly, organic clothing can indeed be a great zero-waste swap for your kids. When it comes to children’s clothing, I like taking a minimalist approach. Kids sprout quickly like weeds, and buying more than is necessary simply leads to clutter. Even most second-hand stores and donation centers won’t take certain clothing—especially if there are stains or rips.

This is why I recommend buying fair trade, durable, organic or recycled-fabric clothing as much as possible. I used to spend a lot of money on cheap clothes that got so destroyed by outdoor activities (grass stains) that I wasn’t even able to donate them. And when I threw them out, I felt horrible that most of them weren’t even compostable. You can find many stylish and organic clothes online and your kids will love the styles!

Which zero-waste swap do you think your child would love the most?

9 thoughts on “Sustainable Parenting: 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.

  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.

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