Throughout life, we are sometimes oblivious to the amount of plastic that we use on a daily basis and as parents, thoughts about plastic waste seem to escape us too. As mummy’s and daddy’s, we all want easy, cost effective, and convenience at our fingertips – but is this always best?
Sadly, we are all aware that our planet is suffering, but are we actually trying to contribute towards saving Mother Nature? Simple gestures such as being more aware of our household waste, and to be aware of the waste that we leave behind as parents can go a long way. To be honest, I didn’t even know about half of the things contributing towards plastic waste that I used to use every day for my daughter, but since finding out the facts, I of course just had to share it with you!
Did you know that only 5% of plastics are actually recycled properly? FIVE PERCENT, according to The Guardian. Statistics show that one refuse trucks worth of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute. YES, every MINUTE! There are 1,440 minutes in one day, 10,080 minutes a week, and 40,320 minutes per month, roughly. With statistics like this, one wonders why we aren’t doing more to help our planet and reduce our waste.
For some reason, plastic is in almost EVERYTHING that we use on a daily basis. Because plastic is relatively cheap to produce, it is of course the number 1 option for the packaging of products. Currently, it is estimated that plastic production will increase 400% by 2050. FOUR HUNDRED PERCENT!
As parents, we tend to opt for convenience and cost effective solutions to many things. We might see a fabulous deal on a 10 pack of wipes, and naturally we think “BARGAIN!”, and in the trolley it goes. Is this really best though?
Did you know that there is plastic in baby wipes? Many of us do not realise this, but many wet wipes are actually made up of plastic resins, like polyester and polypropylene. These materials make it impossible for a wet wipe to biodegrade. Instead, they break up into tiny pieces over time, and release endless amounts of microscopic fibres into our environment.
Every year, over 8.8 million tons of plastic from all sorts of products are released into our oceans. It is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. If this isn’t enough to make you want to help mother nature, then I’m not sure what is.
Plastic waste is of course a result of MANY things. I’ve put together a list of products that we use as parents that are contributing to the worlds plastic waste crisis as well as eco-friendly alternatives.
Did you know that 1 single plastic toothbrush takes 1,000 years to decompose? Try switching to a bamboo toothbrush. They’re super easy to find online.
This one’s a no brainer. Try and opt for wooden toys rather than the plastic ones, as it is far more sustainable and more gentle on our planet.
This goes for kids and adults. Have you ever considered how many bottled toiletries we go through in one year, per person? Switch to solid soaps rather than bottled products, unless they’re eco-friendly bottles.
Shiny gift wrapping paper
We use these for our kids birthdays, normally. Try a plain, more sophisticated look with brown paper, and a non-plastic ribbon, or gift wrap that is made out of actual paper.
As I explained earlier, many wipes have plastic in them. Try opt for eco-friendly wipes (Eco by Naty are fab!) or a damp cloth. Damp cloths are also super easy to take out with you in your kids bags, so that they are easy to reach.
Did you know that just as wipes have plastic in them, so do nappies? Yes, strange, isn’t it? A fabulous plastic free eco-friendly nappy alternative is Eco by Naty nappies.
I honestly find nappy sacks to be the biggest waste of single use plastic. It’s as if you’re putting a nappy into a mini shopping bag only to put it into the bin?
Another eco-friendly choice of nappy sacks in biodegradable sacks are Eco by Naty.
Juice boxes with straws
It’s so easy to just reach for a boxed juice for your child, but have you ever thought about the plastic straw that comes with it (normally glued to the back of the box?).
We all know straws wreak havoc on our environment, so why would a kids juice box be any different? Try and prepare juice at home and decant it into a waste free bottle for your kids.
Take away coffee cups
This doesn’t necessarily relate directly with our kids, but as parents, we tend to be very tired. And very tired people tend to opt for take away coffee on the go to keep ourselves going. The take away cups that we have our coffee is made up of plastics. Try and opt for an eco-friendly coffee cup instead. Some coffee shops have actually started selling these in the shop too – which is fab
Kids lunch snacks
Pretty much all of our kids snacks are wrapped in some form of plastic. Be aware of this next time you are shopping for delicious snacks for them by opting for a “homemade” alternative. A prime example is kids string cheese. These cheese sticks are individually wrapped in plastic, only to be placed in another plastic bag all together – I mean, seriously? All the plastic! A home-made option would be to buy a big block of cheese, and cut individual slices for your kids lunch boxes.
As you can see, there’s plastic in pretty much everything that we use for our kids. The list goes on and on. Sometimes, we simply cannot escape the use of plastic with some items, but for the most part, we can try eliminate the unnecessary ones. What I have also found is that people seem to confuse being eco-friendly with being SUPER expensive too, which isn’t the case at all.
If you find that eco-friendly brands are going to cost you more, there’s no harm in doing a “homemade” version – like damp cloths, rather than buying eco-friendly wipes.
I really feel that as parents, we should educate our kids and make them aware of single use plastics. We should get them involved. Let’s all get creative and help save our planet.
You never know, our little humans might come up with fabulous ways to keep the plastic at bay! After all, they are our future!
Until next time,
Mycaila – Jade
(Image credit for featured image is http://www.dw.com/en/un-resolves-to-end-ocean-plastic-waste/a-41690999)