Article by Georgia Pink-Monroe There is no question we are a generation for whom being green is fast becoming the norm. A recent UK survey showed 80% of us would describe ourselves as ‘environmentally friendly’ shoppers (Shoppercentric, 2019). For me, the birth of my first child last year seemed to place in sharp focus the need to do what I could to help preserve the planet I would be leaving to my son in the future and to set a good example to him of how to consume more ethically. Plus having a baby suddenly means a lot more stuff and a lot more waste! But turning a desire to be more green into practical changes in your household can seem daunting when you’ve become so used to certain products and it can be tricky to know where to start.
But as we parents know baby steps make big leaps! It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing job – mini changes to the products we use everyday can make a huge difference to a family’s environmental footprint over time. And you can often support local small business in doing so, a double hug to the planet and the community! A quick audit of my house showed that the most plastic waste and throwaway items come from 3 rooms, the kitchen, bathroom and nursery. So I made a list of the things I thought I could change and started trying out some alternatives. Here’s a quick rundown of some successful switches I’ve made so far! · THE KITCHEN o Make your own cleaning products – reuse an old spray bottle and mix half water to half white vinegar with a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda and a few drops of lemon oil to make a lovely smelling, no -nasties surface cleaner! Soda crystals also make a great natural laundry aid and plug hole cleaner.
o Unsponge yourself - ditch your disposable washing up sponge for a washable, plastic-free ‘Unsponge’ (try @sew_sustainable_uk for some lovely handmade ones) or try the cellulose cloth sponges that are 100% plastic free and compostable from TBT.
o Cut out cling film – I use beeswax wraps for covering food and wrapping sandwiches and they come in gorgeous prints (www.queenbeewraps.co.uk do some beautiful ones) o Make your consumer voice heard– ask your local retailer to reduce unnecessary plastic packaging. If enough people ask, things can change.
· THE NURSERY
o Make laundry not landfill - make the switch to cloth nappies and reusable wipes (I use Cheeky Wipes which you can grab here and TBT supply a range of cloth nappies as well as friendly support and advice on getting started.
o Toys that don't cost the earth - plastic toys are a major contributor to landfill and ocean waste and 1 in 3 parents admit to throwing away toys that are in perfect working order. Greener solutions are to buy wooden, sustainably made developmentally-focused toys which your child is likely to enjoy for a longer period and which can be used by multiple children, buy second hand, or make your own – an empty water bottle filled with macaroni makes a wonderful rattle! Toy libraries such as Whirli are also a great way to allow your little one to change up their toy collection without costing the earth.
· THE BATHROOM o World loving wipes - Swap your disposable make up wipes for reusable cotton wipes – super soft for your face and ditches your contribution to those mingy fatbergs! o Get soaped up – I try to choose chemical-free soap and shampoo bars which are naturally biodegradable instead of plastic bottled toiletries. TBT have a yummy smelling range from Soap and Pamper. o Green teeth – brush away your plastic footprint with a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush like this one from Hydrophil. Also available for kids! o Give a crap about your toilet paper - try and switch to brands that prioritise ethical and sustainable production. Ours comes from https://uk.whogivesacrap.org/ who deliver on zero plastic packaging and low social and environmental impact.