A Baby Shower for a Zero Waster

Zero Waste Baby Shower

I know you are probably wondering, “How/why would a zero waster have a baby shower?”, “Doesn’t that go against the principles of zero waste?” Well, first of all, I don’t know if there are any rules other than to be mindful of the waste you produce in your life and to tell my mothers that they couldn’t throw me a shower might have resulted in me on a naughty list – or in the hospital. Ha!

For those of you who have had little ones, you know that showers are so much help when trying to prepare – especially for your first. Trying to buy everything you’d need – which really isn’t THAT much – can get a little overwhelming, wasteful, and expensive.

My husband and I knew that we didn’t want a lot of stuff for our little one due in May, so we had to strategically organize the details with our mothers to ensure it was as waste free and minimal as possible.

Holy cow – May!! That’s this month!!!! Give me a moment while I sit here and panic……..
…….
……..
……..breath in….1….2…..3…..breath out……1….2….3….

OK…

Our shower was absolutely perfect and we couldn’t have been happier with the love and generosity that our family and friends showed us.
Homemade Gifts
The beautiful quilt my grandmother made.

Since I wasn’t really allowed to touch or organize anything for this event, I will describe how my family threw this for my husband and I with our zero waste lifestyle in mind. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have people in your life that support you for whatever you stand for. They did an amazing job at keeping the waste at nearly zero! I hope there are some good tips here for you to use at your future parties.

With any baby shower comes the invitations. We immediately knew we wanted E-vites but we also knew a lot of our family members didn’t have computers or smart phones. That meant a few paper invitations would need to be ordered. Having E-vites as the primary source of communication, eliminated A LOT of initial paper waste and also allowed us to keep everyone informed of last minute details that arose, digitally.

Baby Shower Invitations

Our invitations were really the ultimate tool to relay exactly what we needed from everyone, which was very minimal. My mom wrote an amazing poem to describe in a beautiful way how my husband and I wanted a waste free and minimal shower. I literally bawled my eyes out when I read it.

Bring a book on the above date,
If you bring it unwrapped that will be great!
A gift card from the registry would also be swell,
the mother to be could use it quite well!

The families request is very small,
they want to preserve the future for all.
So even recycled gifts will do,
as long as they’re picked with love by you.

Waste is what’s being avoided with care,
just put in some thought when you wish to share.
Wooden and metal is better than plastic,
A healthier home and baby is fantastic!

So please join us in sharing with our new baby boy,
A new life and home that will soon bring us joy!
Friends and family will all gather near,
and love on this bundle who is very dear.

Excuse me while I go cry again…..

I know our requests aren’t the “norm” and probably catch a lot of people off guard so I thought the poem approach was very eloquent.

Now for the registry, babies don’t need much but they do need a few things, so we opted for Baby List so we could customize what we needed from any store local, sustainable stores, and stores that supported environmental and handmade options- even secondhand. I didn’t like the idea of registering at “insert big box retailer here” only to be able to select items from them. Baby List also allowed me to make personalized gifts like home cooked meals, dog walks, and for someone to come over and do my laundry – I’m hoping someone bites on these! I’ll go into more detail later on what I chose for my registry items.

The decorations were all reusable. My mom is a teacher so she utilized what she and her coworkers already had to throw us a “Book Shower”. It was adorable!

Zero Waste Baby Shower Decorations
No disposable decorations allowed!

Β The food was all homemade and served with real plates, glasses, silverware, and cloth napkins. I honestly don’t know why anyone would want to use disposables anyway, I mean just look at how pretty everything looks!

I drank way too much punch – I’m not sorry.

Pretty antique plates! Don’t you just love the cloth napkin that was folded like a diaper around the silverware?

As for the gift waste, I was so touched that so many people respected my wishes and left their gifts unwrapped or used a baby blanket, burp rag, or cloth napkin to wrap the gift. Some that brought gifts in bags even took them back to reuse and for the rest, I was able to give away on a “free swap” group on Facebook to be reused.

For the rest of the packaging – wrapping paper, boxes, etc. All was taken to the recycling centers. By the end of the day the only trash we had was one small grocery sack of non recyclables including plastic wrap, plastic bottle lids, and some plastic film that came wrapped around some gifts.Β 

Now, it will be inevitable that you will get duplicates are items that don’t quite align with what you want so returning the gift for cash at the stores they were purchased is perfectly ok. We used the money we got for our exchanges on a convertible car seat – a very important baby accessory!

A lot of guests “wrapped” their gifts in baby blankets, burp rags, and swaddles.

Zero Waste Shower Favors
How cute are these favors? My Mother-in-Law got ice cream cones in cardboard packaging and planted flowers in them so guests could take them home and plant them in their own biodegradable container.

Β All in all, I honestly couldn’t have asked for a more perfect shower. The amount of love that my friends and family showed my husband and I and of course, our little Ollie was just amazing!

Don’t mind my husband’s unbuttoned shirt, haha!

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14 thoughts on “A Baby Shower for a Zero Waster

  1. Awh…your story was very touching…I didn't realize it meant SO much to you! uhm…excuse me while I go have a good cry. BTW once your a mother, crying is like a “right of passage” into motherhood that never ends! Commercials, FB, stories, bleh…life! Get used to it! I love you and am very proud that we could support your wishes and make this a VERY special day for you and little “Ollie”! With much love,
    Mom

  2. Parenthood is an important part of everybody's life. You should enjoy it. I know, sometimes you may get irritated, but imagine–you were also irritating to your parents one day. Well, you have touching stories every time I come to your website. Baby-shower gives us moment of surprises and a lots of memory to keep in. This is the day to remember! Give the best gift to your babies in their birthdays. But choose the gifts which will be beneficial for your baby even after ten or twenty years.
    Baby Shower Gifts

  3. Hiii!!! I just love the whole concept but I'm more in love with this poem. Can I please translate it to spanish and quote your mother? It's pure magic. Thanks for sharing your story. Best!

  4. This is amazing! We are three months along with ours and the amount of pressure to buy a million things/gather a bunch of junk is insane. My family is baby crazy and very generous but they are currently trying to give me three pack and plays. THREE! On top of a crib and a bassinet. Guys, the more stuff I have the more stuff I have to take care of, clean, move around, and find a way to get rid of when I’m finished. I used Baby List too and asked for lots of second hand or homemade stuff! Love all the creative ideas for the baby shower, especially the ice cream cone planters. How clever!

    • 3?! Holy Moly, girl! I’ll be honest, I didn’t even use the one I received. I don’t think it ever came out of the zipper bag. ha! If I honestly had to do it all over again, aside from cloth diapers and clothing, I would have purchased the items as needed rather than try to prepare in advance. Even with my husband and I being extra cautious about not acquiring too many things, we still didn’t use a large portion of the items we obtained. You just never know what will work and what won’t. πŸ™‚

      Congrats on your joyous news!!

  5. I need help with this! So we are having our second baby. Boy I wish I would’ve went zero waste when I was having my daughter. My mom and my mother-in-law were in charge of my baby shower. My mother-in-law thought picture frames as the favors (in hindsight it wasn’t actually that wasteful because they were metal but still not everyone took one and now I’m stuck with the rest of them πŸ˜‘) Anyway unfortunately I dont have my mom anymore and I am trying to get my mother-in-law to see that I do things a little more consciously. I took her to the thrift store to find a play kitchen for my daughter that she wanted to buy for her. And she keeps going on how there are certain things you shouldn’t buy there (like clothes 😲) and yatta yatta. Well we had discussed a little on what I actually need. And I expressed that all I would need for this because I still have all of the gear from the first is clothes, sheets, a crib set since its a boy and we have a girl and cloth diapers. She wants to throw me another baby shower. She hasn’t said much to me lately about a shower but if she does want to throw me one I need the gifts to just stay within my needs. How can I make sure that I am being heard?

    • Communicate, communicate, communicate. All you can do is tell her how you feel and how important it is. Relay on the invitations that you would not like anything extra as clutter and excess causes more stress. Ultimately though, you won’t be able to control every single thing that someone does so I always try to take deep breaths and accept that. However, if you do get excess, return it, and keep the money for later. They don’t have to know.

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