Disposable nappies are the third largest consumer item in landfills representing 30% of non-biodegradable consumer waste, according to The Eco Shop, with 187 billion nappies being thrown away each year in the UK alone. Not only do disposable nappies contain large quantities of pulp, paper, plastic and other raw materials, with every disposable nappy thrown away, raw fecal matter is going directly into the environment via our waterways and landfill.
Plastic toys are another giant contributor to plastic pollution across the world. The UK’s toy industry is massive – in 2018 consumers spent a huge £370m alone. Furthermore, a poll by the British Heart Foundation found that more than a quarter of parents admit to throwing away toys that are in perfect working order, resulting in 80% of toys ending up in landfill.
Disposable Nappy Alternatives
With disposable nappies being one of the main contributors to landfill in the UK, switching to biodegradable or reusable nappies is certainly a step in the right direction. Kit & Kin have a large range of majoritively biodegradable nappies for all sizes and ages. Using all eco-friendly materials and ingredients, they are specially designed to be gentle even on the most sensitive and eczema prone skin. Every nappy will mostly biodegrade after use, simply place it inside a biodegradable nappy sack and allow it to decompose.
A more sustainable option is reusable nappies made from bamboo materials. With a washable fleece liner and available in a pack of 5, Little Lamb’s bamboo nappies can be used with washable or disposable liners for your convenience. They also have a variation of natural cotton, microfibre and no velcro nappies depending on your baby’s needs.
Due to its affordability, plastic is very commonly used for the manufacture of children’s toys. This makes them low cost to buy but dramatically reduces their total life span.
There’s an abundance of wooden and plastic free toys on the market but instead of buying new, why not repurpose or buy second hand. Your local charity shops will have baby toys lining their shelves waiting for a new home. Buying plastic toys second hand prolongs the life of the toys and means it won’t become single use plastic. Similarly, make sure you’re donating your pre-loved toys or giving them away to your friends and family. This will keep your plastic toys out of landfill. Shopping second hand, donating and swapping toys with loved ones is a great way to get new-to-you toys without the environmental price tag.
According to the BBC, wet wipes and baby wipes cause 93% of all major UK drain blockages. 11 billion wet wipes are used in the UK each year, with almost all of those currently on sale containing plastic and other synthetic fibres, says Water UK.
Washable, reusable wipes can be made from natural fibres such as bamboo and organic cotton, just like these Bamboo Cloth Wipes from Cheeky Wipe. Super absorbant, naturally anti-bacterial and gentle on skin, these cloth wipes can be machine washed up to 40C and can be thrown in with your every day wash. Just make sure you’re using an antibacterial detergent to prevent bacteria from lingering.
If you’re keen to keep the one-use wipes, biodegradable wipes will be your new best friend. These wipes from Mum & You are 100% plastic free and made from over 99% water for the ultimate kindness to babies skin, making them perfect for sensitive or eczema prone skin. Their packaging is also completely recyclable which is a win-win!