5 Simple Plastic Free Swaps for New Parents
So your little one is finally here, or maybe their imminent arrival in your life is just around the corner, either way if you are reading this you are looking for some ways to reduce waste and plastic in your family's life, and we have 5 great tips for you.
1. Cloth Nappies.
Disposable nappies are full of chemicals and the thought of exposing our most innocent and vulnerable to such harmful chemicals is horrifying. They contain Dioxin, an extremely harmful chemical known to be an environmental pollutant that is generated as an undesirable by-product in the manufacture of certain herbicides and disinfectants. Dioxins are associated with muscular dysfunction, inflammation, impotence, birth defects, genetic mutations, and nervous system disorders. Also exposure to Dioxins have been linked to the development of various cancers in humans. So yeah health wise, lets ditch the disposable nappies.
As for the environment typically a baby goes through 8-10 nappies a day, maybe as much as 12 for newborns and 5-6 for toddlers, so 8 on average. That's every day for 2.5 to 3 years which is as many as 7,300 to over 8,000 nappies per child going to landfill or ending up in the ocean. And they contain more than 3 times the amount of plastic than the standard carrier bag and take at least 500 years to break down.
Where as cloth nappies. although requiring a lot of washing, are significantly more environmentally friendly for the planet. They are also cheaper in the long run, costing around £200 depending on the brand for a set of 18-20 nappies and pads, but if you think of how much you will spend over 3 years on disposable nappies (£900+) it is huge savings.
So in summary they are better for your baby's health, your wallet and the environment, quite simply a no brainer. And they just look cooler too.
2. Coconut Bowls
We all know that babies will throw their bowls, their toys and anything else they get their hands on. Which is why we often use plastic bowls and plates, but there is another option. Coconut shell bowls are 100% natural, unlike plastic bowls that often contain harmful Chemicals like BPA's. For those of you who don't know BPA's are a 'family' of plastics known to have endocrine disrupting qualities, in other words it can mess with hormones, especially estrogen, which is especially dangerous for young children and adolescents. As for the coconut bowls they also decompose if allowed to rot, breaking down in a few years where as the plastics used for making cutlery and bowls for kids will never breakdown fully.
They are oven, dishwasher and freezer friendly and the coconut bowls can be used for other things too as the kids age, like a handy crayon holder or for mood lighting or even turned into a bird feeder. Either way they are a great plastic free alternative to plastic bowls for your kids. Get them on our store, HERE.
3. Bamboo cutlery
As mentioned above kids are often given cheap plastic cutlery to use, mainly because it is cheap, doesn't break and is often less sharp or pointy than the stainless steel alternatives used by their parents. However for those of us wanting to ditch plastic we need an alternative, step forwards the bamboo cutlery option. Fully biodegradable so zero waste unlike the plastic options which never break down. There are several great brands out there using fully bamboo utensils and zero glazing so there are no harmful chemicals unlike the plastic options which contain BPA's. You can get them on amazon, ebay or ETSY.
4. Reusable wipes
Instead of using disposable baby wipes that come in single use plastic packs and take hundreds of years to break down themselves you can switch to some super simple and cheap alternatives. We cut up an old plain cotton T-shirt and used the strips of fabric as bum wipes and they worked really well, you can also use old muslin sheets, simply wet them before use and wash after. If you are going with cloth nappies this is a great option to eliminate all disposable baby products at once and you just wash them all together too. Saving you money and time in the long run, costing £10-20 max, where as buying even one packet of wipes every month for 3 years is around, £40-50 and that's an extremely conservative estimate as most parents will tell you. There are a lot of nappies to change and a lot of wipes for bums needed.
5. Rice husk cups
The final simple swap out we have is the sippy cup. Breast feeding is the way to go for all babies, it gives the best nutrient balance, it allows for bonding between mother and baby and it is the way nature intended, not to mention the fact that there is no need for bottles, formula, sterilizing and all the other faf that goes into bottle feeding. Now please understand if your child needs a formula for whatever reason I am not against it, I was formula fed because of medical reasons that prevented me from being able to swallow properly until I was several months old so I get it. But you cannot argue with the facts. But once they get to 1 year old you will probably have either introduced them to a cup or be about to. Letting them drink water and hold the cup themselves is great but what cup you use may be doing more harm than you realise. Most water bottles and baby bottles contain BPA's, and when you are finally done with the cup it will either be sent to recycling, or end up in landfill. So lets look for the alternative. Rice husk cups are a great way to eliminate the chemical exposure of BPA's to your child and it means less plastic in your life. They are easy to clean and easy to drink from. Probably the only item on this list that is more expensive than the plastic alternative but it is a swap that I think we all would be willing to make.
We got ours from the 'MUNCH eco heros' range, but there are lots of other alternatives to choose from. They also completely biodegrade after being buried in soil, so another small win on the road to zero waste.
If you have some other great tips for us or new parents then please share them with us in the comments section below. We are always looking for more ideas and willing to learn. Our you can check out our facebook and instagram pages both with the name - Clear Ripple Projects on Facebook and @ClearRipleProjects on instagram.
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