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Plastic waste and parenting – reducing your carbon footprint with babies

While little ones bring so much joy, love and laughter, they also bring a whole new plastic problem. Not through any fault of their own of course. Like everything it’s more a matter of cost and convenience driving the consumer decisions of parents.

My interest in this area started when my Sister had my niece back in 2018. I already knew about the extensive use of plastics for toys, baby bottles, rattles etc. But like many, I was unaware that baby wipes and nappies also contain plastic until I watched the BBC War on Plastic documentary. In her nursery, my sister has a special plastic bin for dirty nappies. You pop the dirty nappy in and twist the top to conceal bad smells. My mum was delighted with this, demonstrating how to use it and also how to empty it when full. Imagine my horror when she pulled out what was essentially a sausage string of plastic. Nappies made from plastic wrapped in plastic!

I do get the idea. As someone who hasn’t experienced doing nappy changes in the middle of the night while severely sleep deprived, I probably don’t appreciate it enough. That said as someone who strives to help people reduce their single use plastic waste, I shudder at the thought of that plastic sausage entering landfill.

Person scooping dirty disposable nappies out of a river

It must be so difficult for parents who are short on time and (more than likely) managing on a tight budget to have saving the planet at the forefront of their minds. However I also know that starting a family is a time when many people switch over to more natural alternatives. Lots of our customers purchase our award winning Complete Cleaning Kit for this reason.  

That’s why we approached Tots Bots for our Plastic Free July 2020 campaign.  The entire month is dedicated to help raise awareness about how harmful single use plastic is. We are showcasing some incredible brands who like us, are doing great things to offer more eco-conscious ways of living.

Tots Bots are a reusable nappy manufacturer who make fantastic looking, award winning nappies in the kindest way possible, right here in the UK. Their nappies are made from super absorbent bamboo and recycled plastic bottles, making them much better for the environment and much more comfortable for your baby’s bum. Not to mention their cute designs! They have a Trial Kit that lets you try out their nappies at a fraction of the RRP. 

Baby playing wearing a Tots Bots reusable nappy

I caught up with Amanda from their team this week (who is a mum herself), to learn more about what they’re doing to reduce nappy landfill. Here are some startling facts that she shared with me;

  • The UK disposes of around 3 billion, single use plastic nappies each year, representing an estimated 2% to 3% of all household waste (WRAP)? That’s a HUGE contribution to landfill. Imagine what that number is globally?
  • By the time a baby is potty trained, parents will have thrown away around 6,000 plastic pants. Each nappy will fester in landfill for approximately 500 years. To bring that into perspective, if Henry VIII wore disposable nappies they would still be intact underground somewhere. Yuck!
  • Using reusable nappies can save parents on average £750 up until the time their baby is potty trained.

Amanda said that ultimately, it’s down to consumers to make more conscious buying decisions and make a difference to reduce the amount of plastic waste thrown away. Parents of little ones can play a huge part in that by making the switch to reusable nappies and cloths.

She told me that “reusable nappies are so much easier than most people think. For starters, you don’t have to put poo in your washing machine. You simply pop the poo down the loo and store the nappy until it’s time to wash. No need to soak or stand stirring nappies around in a bath of Napisan. The washing machine does all the work for you. Modern cloth nappies have evolved just like our washing machines. Not a safety pin or twin tub in sight!”. You can watch the live interview we did with Amanda on our Instagram page.

On the topic of cleaning up babies mess, here are our must have Clean Living products for parents;

  • Odour & Spot Remover – a saviour on a range of fabrics to remove odour and marks after little accidents.
  • Dry Carpet Cleaner – food, nappy or vomit spills; this will tackle them all leaving your carpet clean, odour free and beautifully fluffed.
  • Bin Odour Eliminator – if reusable nappies really aren’t an option, this will keep your bin free from dirty nappy pongs.
  • Biological Multi-purpose Cleaner – clean your home, high chairs and more safe in the knowledge you aren’t covering it in toxins that can be harmful to you and your family.