Eco-friendly parenting: 5 easy ways to ditch single-use plastic
From the moment of conception (and probably even before) this parenting lark is an absolute minefield… if we’re not worrying about our little ones getting enough sleep/vitamins/sensory play/quiet time/one-on-one attention, then we’re generally tearing our hair out trying to figure out the latest ‘helpful’ guidelines sent to us by a well-meaning, much more together friend. But do you know what we should really be sweating? Not whether little Jemima ate too many bananas this week, nor that highly-strung Rex doesn’t want to nap anymore… what we should be worrying about is what kind of world our small humans are going to be growing up in if we don’t stop with the single-use plastics. So, let’s stop adding to the ever-mountainous landfills that are choking up the planet on a daily basis by changing our daily habits. To get us all kick-started, here are 5 easy ways we can ditch single-use plastic and make those easy changes to become the environmentally conscious parent we all want to be…
1. But first, coffee (in a reusable cup!)
What with us bouncing in and out of isolation thanks to the covid-crazy this year, and the need to avoid sharing utensils at the moment, sadly single-use coffee cup usage is through the proverbial not-so-green roof. Even before these unprecedented times, the coffee and tea drinkers of the UK were guilty of throwing away a staggering 2.5 billion cups each year: enough to stretch around the world around five and a half times! Avoid adding to the landfill by bringing along your own reusable cup – we never leave home without our customised Frank Green cups!
2. Store your food in beeswax, not single-use plastic
While we can’t run a polar bear breeding programme, and our veggie loving kids are not quite ready to go vegan, we can teach them to be as environmentally educated as possible. Our advice? Start with reusable sandwich bags and food wraps. Plastic food wrapping not only ends up in landfills and incinerators, but it can also release a toxic chemical call dioxin, which, according to the World Health Organization, can cause reproductive and developmental problems. There are plenty of alternatives available, but we especially love these brilliant beeswax wraps by The Beeswax Wrap Co (especially its collabs with Cath Kidston and Emma Bridgewater!).
3. Swap out the baby wipes
Fact: Over 90% of blocked sewage pipes in the UK are caused by the not-so-humble baby wipe! Not only are these little beasties blocking our drains, but most wet wipes contain non-biodegradable plastic. Not cool. Let’s rid the world of the toppling towers of discarded wipes and instead use washable wipes, bamboo wipes, organic cotton balls or plastic-free, bio-degradable wipes. The same goes for those make-up removing wipes, ladies! We love our snazzy cotton knitted face cloths by Wearth London (and all of its deliveries are carbon neutral too for extra green brownie points!).
4. Say no to plastic straws and single-use cutlery
In this day and age there’s just no need to whack a pointless piece of Earth-damaging plastic into your drink. Whether you go for bamboo, compostable paper or stainless steel options, there are tons of excellent alternatives to nasty plastic straws. Same goes for single-use cutlery: pop an eco-friendly set in your bag for when plastic is offered to you. Have a look at this bamboo cutlery set by Wild and Stone which comes with utensils AND a stainless steel straw (complete with cleaning brush).
5. Reuse your shopping bags
From swish tote bags to washable canvas numbers, there are a plethora of reusable bags on the market that make an excellent substitute to throwaway, plastic ones. It can take hundreds – thousands even – of years for plastic to break down, so the damage to the environment is huge AND long-lasting. Those nasty toxins in the plastic? They can work their foul way into the food chain meaning we – and our children – can end up ingesting them. Sack off those plastic bags, people!
Of course, it goes without saying, that there are plenty of other easy ways that we can help the environment just by paying more attention to our single-use plastic habits. Swap your plastic toothbrushes for bamboo ones, ditch your cotton tips for organic versions and always pop your drinking water into a reusable bottle. Just a little bit of effort can go a huge way when it comes to be helping our planet heal for future generations.
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