Before Holden was born, I committed to breastfeeding my baby. There are a host of reasons, health and otherwise, for deciding to stick with it, too many to get into in one article. One of the unanticipated benefits, however, has been how little garbage there is.
Holden is no small baby, and eats quite frequently. If I had to make a bottle up every time he was hungry and if I used the ever-so-common disposable bottle liners, we would be throwing out at least 8 every day. That works out to 56 a week! Not to mention all the bottle washing...
Some more bonuses when I think about it are: my milk doesn't have to be prepared, packaged or shipped separately from the food I eat (plus I eat a largely local diet) nor does it have to be heated up. I don't have to go out and buy it, throw out unused or expired portions or deal with the packaging.
I shouldn't make it sound like there isn't any bottle-feeding going on at our house. I go horseback riding once or twice a week, so in order for Kris to feed Holden while I'm away, breast milk storage and bottles have become part of our world. My mother-in-law bought us a set of nice glass bottles - no bottle liners required. For storage I use a set of small Tupperware containers instead of disposable milk bags (the brand-name containers, since I know they are BPA-free and very durable.)
So far the whole process has been win-win all round. I attribute part of our success to having professional breastfeeding support before and after Holden's birth. In my opinion it is not nearly available enough to the women who need it. I have a sneaking suspicion that those who make money off formula and all the things that go with it would like it to stay that way.
I didn't fully grasp how big of a market the parents of newborns represented, but I got the idea when an unsolicited box of formula was delivered to my door directly from the manufacturer. They must have some sort of deal with the maternity clothing chain I bought something from. Note to self, always ask exactly why they want your address!
I was livid when it showed up. It made me wonder how many mothers' breastfeeding efforts had been undermined by a free box showing up in the mail, conveniently close to their due date. I understand that formula has its place, but it was just so slimy that not one, but two boxes of the stuff were delivered to me (from competing brands, of course), when I had no need of it.
Then the coupons started arriving... It has been quite the chore, but I think I have removed myself from the majority of the mailing lists I wound up on.
If you know someone who is about to have a baby, or currently needs help with breastfeeding, I cannot recommend La Leche League meetings and resources strongly enough. They have a wonderful website www.lllc.ca where you can find local support groups, online articles and advice.