It’s Easy Being ‘Green’

Entering parenthood with my Early Child Development degree along with many years of taking care of others’ children, I thought I was all set and pretty much knew what I was doing. I was so sure of myself! I really thought I knew everything I needed to know to be a rock star parent, but I definitely didn’t. I have learned so much since the minute I held my firstborn. I’ve learned fear, frustration, exhaustion, exhilaration, excitement and love to name a few. I’ve learned the cost of diapers and that a baby will require so many wipes that there’s no way to keep count. I’ve learned that children can sense when they’re wearing brand new clothing so they can ruin the item in a matter of seconds. The knowledge I’ve acquired is astounding. I have also learned that it is actually easy being green in a throw away world, especially when you have young children at home.

Cloth Diapers

Okay, so cloth diapering isn’t very easy, but it is one of the biggest ways you can help our environment as a parent. There are up front costs and it is messier than conventional diapers, but I completely recommend it. I don’t use them for my newborns but I try to use them at least 75 percent of the time from about four months old until potty trained.

Cloth Wipes

Homemade cloth diapers and wipes made from old t-shirts, fabric scraps and receiving blankets.

Homemade cloth diapers and wipes made from old t-shirts, fabric scraps and receiving blankets.

Cloth wipes are super easy – especially if you are already cloth diapering. Even if you use conventional diapers you can still use cloth wipes. I cut up a few receiving blankets in wipe-size squares and put them in a small box along with a squirt bottle filled with water. Super easy and cheap.

Wash Cloths

If you’re like us, you have so many baby washcloths lying around. I keep a stash of them in the kitchen to wipe the kids up after they eat. I use them to clean the high chair as well as the wall and floor after meals. (My Wild One likes to throw her food.) It’s really cuts down on paper towel usage plus it’s softer and does a better job.

Homemade Cleaning Wipes

I really do love the cleaning wipes that you just throw away. They’re really easy to use and then you just pitch them. However, they are expensive and I go through so many! I use a squirt bottle filled with soapy water  to spray down the dirty area and scrub it with a baby wash cloth. For disinfecting, I use a combination of white vinegar, water, and essential oils. It’s almost as easy to use, yet much cheaper and better for the environment, as well as my family. If you’d rather use cloths that are already wet then try this recipe. It’s all natural and uses essential oils too.


That’s a no-brainer. Instead of putting that plastic bottle into the garbage, put it in the recycle bin. If you need a recycling container contact Rochester’s recycling company, Rizzo, at 888-877-4996. Also make sure to check out their Recycling Rewards page.

Fix It!

I always try to fix broken items before throwing them away. We patch our clothes, glue our toys, and tape our books. There are countless ways to upcycle items as well. I’ve made bean bags from felt scraps, patched many pairs of jeans with old jeans, and made cloth diapers from old t-shirts.

Clothes Swap

Every fall my church holds a clothing swap. It’s free and you bring clothing that your family no longer wants or needs and you swap it for clothing you would use. It’s a great way to keep clothing out of the landfill.


Instead of throwing away, try to find an item a new home.

Scrap Paper

We have a shelf on our desk that is reserved for scrap paper. These pieces of paper are printed on one side but blank on the other. We use them for note writing, coloring or printing on the blank side. It stretches our paper budget and cuts back on how quickly we throw paper away.

There are many easy things to do to help keep our environment a nice place. Need more ideas? Visit The Michigan Earth Day Fest this weekend. There are so many fun activities scheduled for kids and adults. I know my kids will love climbing wall and the straw bale climb. The kickoff is Friday evening starting at 7 p.m. with live music. I’ll be hitting up Green Home & Living and Wellness Way. There are exhibits to address many aspects of our lives and how we can make a difference. Hope to see you there!

Michigan Earth Day Fest

Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27

Friday 4-8 p.m.

Saturday 10 a.m.-8 p.m.

Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Walnut Blvd and Fourth St. Downtown Rochester, MI


About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at

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