Continuing our focus on sharing ways that we can all help to reduce the use of plastic in the UK, this week we’re zoning in on parents, and what they can do to cut down too. Baby and child products are plentiful, so it’s inevitable that lots of the things parents buy on a weekly basis have their roots in plastic. But as with anything, there are sensible swaps we can make to ensure that we carry on cutting down and reducing the UK’s overall dependence on plastic. Read on to find out five ways that parents can reduce plastic use.
Use real nappies
Disposable nappies are a real threat to our planet, and have been for a while now. The average disposable nappy is made from a variety of chemicals, paper pulp, adhesives and- yes, you guessed it- plastic. The average baby will use around 5000 nappies in their life, which would fill 130 black bin bags. Every year in the UK, 3 billion nappies are thrown away; researchers believe that the plastics used in them could take hundreds of years to decompose. That’s a scary thought!
By making the switch to reusable nappies, parents can make a huge difference to the amount of plastic we send to landfill each year. True, there is an initial cost that not all families are able to meet, but in the long run using real nappies can actually save the average family around £500 in total. Arguably the most convincing argument here is the savings the planet would make if every family made the change today.
Ditch the baby wipes
Most baby wipes contain plastic fibres that mean they are not biodegradable in the slightest, making them huge culprits in the battle against landfill, alongside the nappies they’re often bought with. There are brands on the market that claim to be more environmentally friendly, but as we always advise- please read the labels carefully. Do your research and make up your mind whether or not you want to continue using them. Because parents- there are alternatives. These days baby care manufacturers are keen to help families choose greener ways to parent, and so cloth wipes are becoming more mainstream and can actually be hailed as an altogether kinder way to treat delicate skin too. Alternately, you can make your own wipes- read this post for more information on why exactly we need to ditch the baby wipes and how to easily make your own. Thanks to Kate, mum of four and blogger at Family Fever for this tip!
Pack a greener picnic
Eating alfresco is what summer was made for and when it comes to kids, there’s no easier way to get through a mealtime than to take it outside! Less mess, more fun- what could go wrong? The problem here is that most child friendly picnic ware is made from plastic- plastic cups, plastic straws, plastic plates, plastic cutlery. So glass and metalware isn’t a great idea either, but there are eco alternative you can pick instead. Alyssa, who blogs at Mum to a Monster, told us that she uses bamboo plates when she takes her little ones for a picnic. Genius idea!
We always, always, ALWAYS advocate bars of soap– for so many reasons. Bars of soap will last you as a family much longer than liquid soap. Bars of soap are easier for children to use, and less easy for them to over use. Bars of soap can be stored easier, taking up less space amongst the other bits and pieces kids bring into the bathroom and making for an all over more eco friendly choice at bath time. Yes, we do sell liquid soap here at Little Soap, but we do also sell large jerry cans that you can use to refill your bottles as many times as you like- and we encourage you to do this.
Recycle old toys
Unfortunately, lots of children’s toys are made from plastic, and this means that in order to entertain our little ones we need to invest in a growing problem. There are lots of wooden alternatives however, and lots of parents are opting for these as a more sustainable and eco friendly alternative. But there are still lots of plastic toys out there! Recycle. Pass them on to charity shops or other families once you’re done with them. Use the parts if you can. Make a conscious effort to reduce and reuse wherever possible. It might be difficult to completely re-stock your toy cupboard, but there are changes you can make to your attitude when it comes to buying more, and when it comes to having a clear out. Thanks so much to Chantele, who blogs at Two Hearts, One Roof, for this tip.