How To Re-purpose & Recycle Old Baby Gear
You probably spent sleepless nights and many hours to decorate and stock the nursery with supplies and equipment your baby will need. But fast forward a few years…
Your little one has now outgrown the crib, feeding bottles and other baby items and doesn’t need them anymore. Wouldn’t it be a waste if you just threw them all into the bin? I feel the same!
So here are some tips and guidelines for recycling and repurposing some of the most common baby items you have lying around.
Donate Old Feeding Bottles
Do you have a massive collection of feeding bottles in your home? Check their label or go online to find out what they’re made from. Bottles marked with 2 use high-density polyethylene, a recyclable type of plastic also found in milk and juice jugs, shampoo, and soda bottles so these can be recycled.
If your bottles are in good condition, you might not want to throw them away or recycle them if possible. If the bottles are barely used you can donate them to those in need without the teats. If they are starting to turn yellow and are heavily scratched, giving them to other families is not suitable but something you can do it call up a nearby animal shelter. Chances are, they are less picky about the bottles’ condition.
Aside from donating, you can also consider using good quality bottles in nice condition as:
- Travel snack containers
- Pen holders
- Measuring cups
- Doll accessories
Only your creativity can limit what you can do with used feeding bottles.
Trade In Or Re-purpose Car Seats
Car safety seats are one of those baby items that often have quite a long shelf life. But like anything, they suffer from wear and tear and eventually expire. Most models have the expiration date explicitly clearly printed in the seat or the owner’s manual.
If not, you will want to check how long your car seat lasts. Those from the most popular brands like Chicco, Britax and Graco have at least six years in them. Some even last for up to 10 years. To be sure, call up the manufacturer with the model and serial number ready.
From here, you can do the math to see if your seat has already expired. If it has indeed, you have a few options.
First on the list are car seat trade-in events. If one’s happening near you, go for it! A trade-in saves you the hassle of recycling the unit yourself, keeps it out of landfills, and may even give you discounts for future seat purchases. Unfortunately, these events only happen a few times a year and there might not be one near you.
You can try calling your local recycling centres to see if they’ll accept your old car seat. Only a handful accept them as recycling seats isn’t cost-efficient for most municipalities. And should you find a centre that takes them, you should take the components apart before driving off to make the recycling process easier.
Or, perhaps re-purposing the parts might be to your liking. Here are some ideas:
- Use the seat as a chair at home. Cut off the straps, add a pillow, and you’re all set. Toddlers love this!
- Take the fabric and make pouches, ribbons, or even necklaces from it.
- Turn the seat into a bag by removing the metal parts
- Use it as a bed for your pet. Again, take off the straps or they might hurt your cat or dog.
Take note: The law prevents manufacturers from reselling or donating old and used car seats because they no longer offer the same level of protection. Worse, they create a false sense of security in users. However, individuals are not under such restrictions. No one will stop you from reselling expired car seats but most online selling websites will advise buyers against purchasing used car seats.
Get Creative with Formula Tubs
If you’ve been formula feeding your baby, chances are that you’ll have gone through many tubs of formula and might even have some sitting in the kitchen still.
You can recycle the steel cans at recycling centres with other steel items but the ones made with composites are not recyclable, but we’ve got you covered with these ideas below:
- Let your toddler play with the cans and let their imagination transform them from one item to another. Give them a stick and a can becomes a drum. Draw faces on them and they become talking heads.
- Reuse them as food storage. Wipe the inside clean, let it dry and use to store things like crackers, rice, and other dry food items. For good measure, peel off and replace the label with DIY labels to avoid confusion.
- You can also use the cans to store supplies you use to create works of art like pens, scissors, glue, etc. Or, why not create art out of the cans?
- Use them as containers for marbles, coins, screws, and other small easy-to-lose items. You can even use the cans as gift containers, a no-frills eco-friendly alternative to gift wrappers.
- Use them as pots to plant flowers and plants. You can even spray paint them into fun colours!
The internet is a treasure trove of DIY re-purposing ideas. Check out Pinterest for more ways to reuse all those formula cans.
Turn The Crib/Cot To A Couch
Unlike car seats, cribs don’t expire. Many are made of nice wood and can definitely be used to make other items too. As a whole, baby cribs and cots can stand the test of time with proper care and maintenance. And this makes throwing away a crib all the more wasteful.
So, your child may not need the crib anymore but perhaps you’d like to have a couch on your patio? If you’re using a drop-side crib, remove the moving parts. Add cushion and pillows. And voila! You now have a lounge area in your patio. Perfect for the kids to sit on while enjoying a snack or reading a book.
Indoors, you can use the crib as an arts and crafts area. Put a wooden board over the mattress base. Add your favorite art supplies along with stools, and you’re good to go.
You can also turn a drop-side crib upside down and make a play area out of it. Just make sure none of the parts are wobbly to prevent accidents.
Hope you’ve enjoyed these fun ways to reuse and recycle old baby gear! There are some crafty ideas out there if you look for them. Some people even have a way to compost nappies! If you want a detailed guide, here’s one from Instructables user “marcgr.” Though using cloth nappies is an even better way to avoid waste and save money in the first place.
This is a guest post by Candice Whitlock who is the mom and blogger behind BabyLic, a blog that reviews and curates the best products and resources for babies and their families. The post has been edited by Petra from A Mum Reviews.