6 Zero Waste Baby Shower Gift Ideas
Eco-Friendly Kids and Parenting
June 13, 2017 | Kathryn Kellogg
Last Updated on September 15, 2020
I am officially in the phase of life where all my friends are having babies.
I went to a lovely baby shower this past weekend – my second one this year.
I’ve gotten in the habit of stashing a small metal plate in my bag (Like this one*), and I always have a water bottle on hand. (like this one*)
Bringing my own plate, means I can easily load up on food without creating any trash, but most of the baby showers I’ve been to heavily rely on finger food.
I LOVE it when I’m at an event or party with finger food because it’s super easy to snack without any plate at all. I excel at hovering around the snack table.
Attending the shower is the easy part. Buying the gifts, on the other hand… this has presented a little bit of a challenge.
At the baby shower I attended this weekend, the couple decided to cloth diaper (which is super cool!), but hasn’t been the norm with most showers I’ve attended.
Upfront, I want to say, there is no judgment here. Of course, I think it’s great to use reusables, but I understand it’s not feasible or possible for everyone.
Having just moved into a place without a washer and dryer, I’m not sure I could cloth diaper!
My goal with this post is not to shame anyone rather just provide a few eco-friendly gift ideas if that’s what you’re looking for.
Almost every baby shower I’ve been to has had a diaper raffle, and I’ve seen it done in two ways.
One way is where you buy a pack of diapers or a cloth diaper if that is the parent’s wishes and the other is simply a fund where you bring cash.
With the blessing of the couple who’s baby shower I recently attended, I got them a gift certificate for diaper service which felt like a perfect solution!
1. diaper service:
Diaper service was recommended to me by one of my readers. When going to the baby shower this past weekend, I knew this was the perfect gift!
The couple wants to cloth diaper, but have been a little nervous about all the laundry. The diaper service will drop off 80 cloth diapers. You’ll change the baby and place the dirty diapers in the “dirty” bag they provide.
Once a week they’ll swing by and pick up the dirty diapers and replace them with clean ones. I’m not sure if all diaper services work the exact same, but I’m sure they work similarly.
I had a super pleasant experience getting a gift card set-up with Tidee Didee Diaper Service. Customer service was spot on. They service a large portion of the bay area, and their prices are very reasonable.
If you’re hesitant to cloth diaper because of all the laundry, you should definitely look into a diaper service. It’s also a great gift to bestow!
One of the baby showers I went to requested children’s books instead of cards. Each book had a sweet little note written in the front to the baby.
I thought this was a lovely idea. The library is great to check out new books for your little one, but it’s also nice to have a couple always on hand.
When I first moved out to California, I nannied for several months. We would stroll down to the local library and check out all sorts of books.
My only reservation about writing in the books, is some people are deterred from purchasing books with “flaws.”
I love buying second-hand books that have notes in them, but some people don’t.
What do you think? Would you be deterred from buying a book that had writing in it?
A couple of the moms at the baby shower said, “You can never have too many baby blankets.” I don’t know if that’s true. But, what I do know is baby blankets make great “wrapping paper.”
Instead of going with traditional wrapping paper, tie your present up with a cute baby blanket or an organic crib sheet.
Growing up my mom and I would always make sure our wrapping was a present too. Think about putting your gift inside of a diaper bag, a basket, a diaper stacker or even a sheet set.
4: baby clothes:
Babies go through clothes really fast. It’s really easy to pick up like new baby clothes at consignment shops or second-hand stores.
It’s also really easy to find adorable, organic, and ethical baby clothing online. Some of my favorite shops are listed below.
- Little Lentil – I love that they have a preloved section on their site and they’re all organic cotton!
- Penguin Organics
- Under the Nile
- Polarn O. Pyret
- Spunky Stork
5. cloth diapers:
If you know the baby is going to be cloth diapered, buying cloth diapers is a great gift!
If you know the baby isn’t going to be cloth diapered, I wouldn’t recommend making this purchase.
Cloth diapers use a lot of resources to produce. If you know the couple won’t use them, you don’t want to drum up those resources unnecessarily.
6. stick to the registry:
I think registries are great. Couples can register for exactly what they want.
So, even if nothing fits into your personal criteria, at least you know that you’re buying something the couple will use.
I think an item that is wanted and used is almost more important than having something that’s not used even if it checks all of my ethical and sustainable boxes.
Of course, there are a ton of other options! This list only barely scratches the surface.
I know some new families would probably even be really excited about receiving a gift card for a home cleaning or some homemade meals.
I’ve already asked my friend to borrow a few casserole dishes with lids so when the baby is born, I’ll fill them with food and drop them off at their house.
Now, I’m not a mother and haven’t had a baby shower. If you have, I would love to hear all of your thoughts! What are some of the best gifts you’ve given or received from a baby shower?
This post contains affiliate linking. It’s denoted with an asterisk. You can read more on my disclosure page.
I wouldn’t mind buying children’s books secondhand that have a personal note inside! However, my son’s baby books with personal notes inside will be handed down to family with another personal note from us. We have one book, a nearly 100 year old copy of the Brothers Grimm stories, that is on its third generation and 6th child!
What we have decided to do for our shower coming up is ask everyone to bring their favourite children’s book, and we are doing a piggy bank to raise money towards an adjustable stroller/jogger thing with bike attachment. That way no unnecessary gifts. It will also be a potluck, and luckily most of my friends know about my ZW lifestyle, but typically I ask politely if they could refrain from plastic packaging 🙂
Anytime I attend a baby shower, I like to pick an assortment of smaller/less expensive items off the mom’s registry, then skip the gift wrap and put it all in a cute basket with a cloth ribbon (that I have at home already.) I’ll try to make sure the basket matches their nursery decor or is neutral, so that way it can serve a purpose and become a gift in itself. They’re great to hold wipes or onesies or whatever!
I didn’t use half the blankets people gave to us but I don’t have a baby that spits up all that much. I do love these for all purpose spit up rags, easily repurposed later in the kitchen Gerber Birdseye Flatfold Cloth Diapers, White, 10 Count https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007VBYVVA/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_RCbqzb5SYWVGB
I also love experience group gifts. A block of hours for postpartum doula support or a gift certificate for housecleaning services.
You can also lease baby clothes in some places! Your baby grows one size, then you give the clothes back to the shop, and they give you a slightly bigger lot back for the next month =) An amazing way of not stacking hundreds of outfits in a few months.
I don’t know if this’ll come to the US soon but it’s a very promising concept.
My favorite gift to give is a small doll-sized radio flyer wagon filled with books. The wagon is the wrapping for the books and it also becomes a toddler toy as baby gets bigger as well as a cute book holder on a shelf!
Kathryn, thanks for the mention!! I love this post because it’s so current for me, especially like that you say to stick to registries because unwanted items are the most wasteful 🙂
Baby Showers are far more of an American thing than a British one and I can imagine that a lot of the gifts that are given are not wanted and/or overly packaged. When my children were born we did get some gifts but I think most of my friends knew me well enough to give me the sort of green gifts we wanted! We got a lot of second hand stuff and that was just perfect! Popping by from Zero Waste Heroes!
We have 3 little boys and my husband and I buy all their books second hand. Most of them have personal notes in them! The boys don’t mind in the least, and I think it’s kind of neat!
In Norway there is a company called Nøstebarn (the yarnchildren) that follows up the production of their clothes, treatment of the sheep, workers rights, enviroment at the workplace(es), no chemicals used in the garnments, and even tutorials on how to mend torn knees!
It’s pricey compared to cotton or other baby clothes but you don’t need as many clothes (airating is recommended for wool). It’s, for me, a wonderful gift to recieve, and even more so to give away.
The use of waste is difficult. Your article makes me tidy up a lot easier. I like that registry and the key is to keep it up. I’ve been doing so for 2 years.
thank you for this article. when we had our baby we carefully made a list of all the things we need and put it in a registry. we asked ppl to pls only give us gifts of the things we put on there so that we dont get things we dont need or want. we also asked them to please not send or give us cards but instead their favorite children book with a littel note. i was very disapointed when almost NONE of the people that gave us gifts used our list. we got so many gifts: so many things we didnt need, already had or would never use! most people gave us a card. only very few gave us a book instead. so we had to buy the things from our list and see what we do with all those presents. we got so many pink clothes (cause we got a girl), whiping clothes (but we dont use them since we use fabric ones). but we already had enough clothes. in germany there is actually no need to buy childrens clothes. if you ask around you will always find people that want to get rid of their baby or kids clothes ( a lot even for free). we got so many from friends all for free! thats why there was no need for the other ppl to give us even more for the baby party.
as games we painted and drew on old clothes. my aunt had colected a lot of white baby clothes. some of them had tiny stains. so we used them for the game. and now we have super pretty and cute clothes for our daughter! you dont need to throw those away with stains.
My aunt made us ten crock pot freezer meals. Absolutely awesome gift! Of course it was in plastic bags but that could always be changed out for reusable storage containers anyway.
wonderful ideas, these are really very cool gifts , thanks for sharing…I am hosting a baby shower on next Saturday for my sister in law and i’m very confused on what to give her as a gift., thanks for helping me.., you saved so much of my time. 🙂
I love buying secondhand books with notes in them. I think it makes it even more special.