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The Green Life: Green Tips for Will, Kate, and Other New Parents

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August 07, 2013

Green Tips for Will, Kate, and Other New Parents

cloth diaper

As the first British royal born in the twenty-first century, Prince George will be blazing lots of new trails. Considering the world’s need for leaders on climate change, hopefully the Prince, more tethered to the environment’s future than any of his predecessors, will take up the conservationist cause. But until he’s walking and talking, we’ll have to defer to his parents, William and Kate. There are a few ways the royals — and other new parents — can reduce their baby’s carbon footprints.

Cloth diapers

“Frugality” and “British royalty” are rarely associated, but if William and Kate want to get their son’s green life off to a great start they should opt for a reusable diaper option. Parents who ditch the Pampers and go old school remove themselves from a $3.6 billion dollar market that produced 2 percent of all municipal waste, according to a 1990 study. However, switching materials isn’t necessarily enough, because if parents wash cloth diapers the wrong way they can actually leave a larger carbon footprint that disposable ones. To stay green, wash diapers with other laundry in high-efficiency appliances, and line dry them. Because bulk is usually better (read: greener), consider a diaper laundry service. If you're stateside, try one of these.

Eco-friendly toys and clothes

One optimal solution to reduce a baby’s environmental impact would be to purchase secondhand toys and clothes. Take care though: Many goods on thrift shops shelves are likely plastic. Wooden or organic cotton toys are a better bet, especially since teething babies might absorb toxic chemicals from plastic toys. However, if the royals are itching to burn some cash (spoiler: they probably are) they could pony up for environmentally-friendly alternatives. Although purchasing these products might not be as cost-efficient as mainstream options, doing so could send a message about staying green. Plus, who knows? A foray into eco-friendly clothing could Prince George’s first move as a fashion trendsetter.

Organic lotions and soaps

This one should be a no-brainer: After all, who’d want to sully the skin of England’s heir apparent? Beyond the positive environmental implications, foregoing chemical-loaded products is just plain healthier. If the royals lather Prince George in soaps that belong in a chemistry lab rather than the outdoors, by the time he reaches the throne he might look terrible for his age. Also, carcinogens. For the time being, warm water should be the prince’s best bath-time friend, along with sparing doses of organic cleaning products.

--Image by iStockphoto/boumenjapet

Eric01_SMEric Brown is an editorial intern at Sierra. An Eagle Scout who has hiked in Denali National Park and kayaked down the Snake River, Eric thinks the world is worth saving, even if it has given him his fair share of sunburns. In the fall, he will be a senior at Northwestern University's Medill School, where he enjoys writing about music and editing for North by Northwestern.

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