One of the biggest challenges in becoming more environmentally friendly is to reduce. Reduce ‘things’ in life that are not necessary. Even if you are environmentally conscious in many areas of life, this seems like an impossible task when we get the news that we are going to become parents.
We are brought up in a world surrounded in beautiful and practical items that clever marketing persuades us we need in our life. Items to make your babies first photo shoot instagram perfect, or the latest gadget that will save you time when washing our babies bottles over and over every day. Whether planned and over the moon, or unexpected news that takes a while to sink in, our lives are changed forever with gizmos and gadgets before the little bundle of joy even arrives.
Who hasn’t visited a friend or relative with a young child and seen the toys piled up in every corner of the room, bathrooms full of baby products, baby monitors, night lights and musical teddy bears, not to mention the thousands of nappies thrown away in just the first year of babies life.
Being a parent is hard work! Just because it is one of the most natural things in the world does not mean it is easy. Lack of experience, sleep, struggling to balance work and housework with raising a mini human being and not to mention the never ending pile of washing is exhausting. It is natural to want to find anything that makes your life easier. Many people want to be prepared and during the exciting time leading up to the birth it is easy to get persuaded by the hundreds of baby ads that suddenly appear in your google searches or facebook feed.
The majority of items bought for new babies arrival are made from plastic. Many including toys will be thrown away in perfect working order if not a favourite of baby, some items may never get used at all. Virtually none of the items you get for baby are suitable for kerb side recycling, so where do they go in a few months? The answer – to landfill, where they will sit for hundreds of years slowly degrading into microplastics that affect our oceans and infiltrate into our foodchains and the foodchains of our own children when they are grown up.
So how can we prepare for parenthood, whilst reducing our impact on the world around us?
5 ways to be green and save money on your new baby
Invest in cloth nappies – Having come a long way from the traditional terry towels, cloth nappies are now available in bottom hugging velcro fitting designs with bright colours and easy to look after instructions. Although a higher cost to start with, cloth nappies can save hundreds of pounds over the course of your babies first few years and prevent thousands of disposables going to landfill. Visit The Nappy Lady for more information, or find a local Nappy Library where you can hire a set to try before you buy.
Say no to baby wipes – Before baby comes along, don’t stock up on babywipes. Nearly all wipes are made of plastic and a huge contributor to our plastic pollution issue in our rivers and oceans. Cotton flannels work just as well, saving you money and saving our planet one mucky wipe at a time.
Buy fewer but better quality toys – Avoid plastic altogether and buy toys from sustainable wood. They will last a long time, but still decompose or be used in energy production when they are eventually thrown away.
Talk to family and friends or have a wish list – Family and friends often want to buy toys and gifts for you which is fantastic! But don’t be afraid to talk to them and explain you don’t want to waste their money on something that may not be used and will sit in a corner of the room with hundreds of other toys or gadgets. Sometimes it helps to put a wishlist together to help show what things would be useful if someone wants to buy new baby a gift.
Buy second hand – Babies grow so quickly leaving thousands of unworn or almost new baby clothes in many parents houses. Check out local sales groups or facebook marketplace for quality toys, cots, prams or clothes at amazing prices that are virtually as new.
Did you know?
“The UK toy industry in massive! in 2018 consumers spent £370million on toys.”
“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. It spoke to more than 2,000 people and found children have an average of four toys they’ve never played with.”BBC News – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-47868871