Header image by Pamela Kiefer
One of my main concerns about having a child (aside from the obvious of being responsible for a tiny human and all the new adventures that go along with that!) was the amount of plastic that so often comes hand in hand with having a newborn. My husband and I were determined to minimise our waste and have been pleasantly surprised at just how convenient the alternatives actually are.
Image via Bambino Mio
This is the big one. According to an article in The Guardian, “The average baby gets through 4,000 disposable nappies by the time they’re potty-trained, costing families £400 a year and creating the equivalent of half a tonne of carbon dioxide.” The good news is that reusable nappies have come a long way. We opted for Bambino Mio and found a full set of 20 with the nappy bin, net and all the extra boosters second hand for £120 on Facebook market place. Bambino Mio’s one piece design is super convenient and the poppers on the front allow you to adjust the size from birth to potty, not only good for the environment but a huge financial saving.
Going out and about for the day couldn’t be easier as you simply take one bag for dirtied and another for clean and a couple of the biodegradable liners which catch most of the mess!
We’re fortunate that we have a garden and good weather so the nappies dry quickly on the line but we have also invested in an A+ condensing dryer for wet weather days and cooler months. The water from the dryer can be reused to water your plants, making it a fantastic eco-friendly option.
There will of course be times when these aren’t convenient, for example long trips or overnight stays somewhere without a washing machine for more than a couple of days. When this is the case, biodegradable disposable nappies are available, and some councils offer nappy recycling (just be sure to check your local area).
Image via Cheeky Wipes
Reusable cloth wipes not only save you over £250 per year, they are also entirely natural and much better for baby and the environment. Disposable wipes are often mistakenly flushed down the toilet, leading to drain blockages and marine pollution. Most disposable wipes contain micro-plastics which means they take hundreds of years to break down. In fact, even many 'biodegradable' wipes are usually only biodegradable if composted, not when they are thrown in the bin.
Cheeky Wipes system is super easy to use with one tub for clean and one for mucky plus essential oil’s for keeping things fresh. The best thing is that they don’t need drying after each use so if you’re in a rush you can just pop them in the machine and straight back into the tub. The wipes set also comes with a bag to easily transport when you’re out and about.
We also love Little Monster Wipes as they are super soft!
Image via Little Dutch
TOYS & CLOTHES ETC
For the unavoidable plastic items, bottles, breast pumps, bouncers, toys and prams - second hand is definitely the best way to go. Friends with older babies are often delighted by the idea of items they no longer need going to a new home rather than taking up their storage space. eBay, Facebook Marketplace and local freecycle groups as well as charity shops are another invaluable resource. Not only do you save items from landfill, you will often save yourself a lot of money too.
For when you do want something new we love the following brands:
Next, M&S and Tesco do lovely organic baby clothing, we particularly like Tesco’s collection for the World Wildlife Fund
Little Dutch for their scandi inspired toys and play mats that are made to last
Lucy & Sam for their cute designs and commitment to organic, plastic free products, ethically manufactured in Portugal
Mori for their super soft GOTS certified organic clothing and support of London based charity Little Village who curate beautiful bundles of clothing and equipment donated by local families to those in need of a helping hand.
Cutting down on plastic can seem overwhelming, especially with a new born, but just remember that every little bit helps. Even if you make just 1 plastic-free swap, you will be doing your bit to help protect our planet.