Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Waste Reduction Through Breastfeeding

on April 18, 2016


As a breastfeeding parent, you are already reducing the amount of resources used by your family and limiting the waste produced by your household. So how does breastfeeding save resources and limit waste production?



  • Breastfeeding is a sustainable, locally produced, renewable resource that is free and creates no waste. Breastfeeding uses none of our planet’s scarce natural resources or raw materials.


  • Breastfeeding is climate compatible; it is a low carbon and clean green solution because breastmilk is neither industrially manufactured nor ultra-processed


  • Breastfeeding is a zero waste feeding method. Nothing is wasted or becomes unwanted at any stage. If 50% of infants born in Canada (total births about 400,000 per year) are breastfed for six months, then 15 million fewer tin cans will be discarded.


  • Breastfeeding also has zero water footprint. Water footprint is the volume of fresh water used for the goods and services produced by any activity or used by an individual or a community. All that a baby needs for the first six months of his or her life is breastmilk. Not a single drop of water is needed for feeding purposes.


  • A bottle-fed baby needs about 1 litre of boiled water per day to prepare feedings and 2 litres to sterilize the bottles and nipples. Breastfeeding mothers “drink to thirst”, which may be more than their usual fluid intake, but it is unlikely to be 3 liters per day more than their pre-breastfeeding intake.


  • Bottle feeding requires feeding products, many of which are made from plastics. Waste is created during manufacturing process and when the item is disposed of.


  • Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months and then continue breastfeeding often have delayed fertility, and experience delayed menstruation for an average of 14 months. This ensures that the mothers use fewer menstrual pads and tampons which end up in landfills or incinerators.

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More information on the environmental effects of breastfeeding vs formula feeding can be found in Formula for Disaster: weighing the impact of formula feeding vs breastfeeding on environment © BPNI/IBFAN Asia 2014.  Authors: Alison Linnecar, Arun Gupta, JP Dadhich and Nupur Bidla.


Celebrate EARTH DAY April 22nd !


If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader. In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking or Internationally


If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support in the form of a donation at so we can continue to help others breastfeed. Thank you!


One response to “Waste Reduction Through Breastfeeding

  1. […] Cet article présentant les vertus écologiques de […]

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