Green Parenting Without The Guilt
When recently reading a great article in the Sunday Times by a fab writer Jen Gale (@sustainableish), it really made me reflect on taking it all back to basics. It’s so easy to get caught up in all the eco options on the market and what we ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be doing to raise our children in a more eco-conscious way, when Jen reminded us it’s always ok to keep repeating the basic concepts. Babies are always being born, parents are choosing every day to take a more environmental approach to lives and more and more people have become connected and drawn to nature over the last year than society has done for a long time, making us ever more aware of the importance mankind has on looking after our environment.
So lets take a few minutes to check in on what we’re currently doing. Maybe write a list of everything you do on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis to be more sustainable in your life. This could be anything from growing your own vegetables, to taking a reusable cup to your favourite deli for that must have lockdown oat flat white, buying bamboo toilet roll from that very famous cheeky brand, to buying milk from the milk man instead of using plastic bottles from the supermarket. Great, excellent start, lets take a look at a few more, some of which Jen mentioned in her article which we’re already big fans of here at Green Monkeys, and some which are even new to us!
Children's magazines with plastic toys!! Urghh…these are the bane of our lives right now. Our 5 year old is obsessed with these magazines because they’re shiny and exciting. Try and find magazines such as National Geo Kids, Okido, Eco Kids Planet, The Week Junior. These are such fantastic magazines with great themes, ideas, activities and no plastic in sight. We applaud Waitrose for banning kids magazines with plastic toys. Another option is to read magazines online instead.
Wet wipes. Admittedly we’re guilty of this one. We haven’t bought wet wipes for a long time, but there was a time, when they just seemed like the thing to do. Every baby bag contained packets of the things, they’re easy and readily available and you just chuck them in the bin. Not great. So where do these millions of wet wipes go? They don’t just disintegrate sadly. Jen found the gut wrenching stat that wet wipes didn’t exist until the 1970’s, but we now use more than 10.8 billion A YEAR. Are you shocked? Because I definitely was reading this. Companies such as Cheeky Wipes are brilliant and offer easy at home kits and dry and wet bags for taking the wipes out and about, plus some really lovely smelling essential oils. You can use these wipes for your child’s bath or in the kitchen too, to wipe mucky faces.
Baby food pouches. These are so easy and convenient, and there are specific recycling boxes for these pouches, but in reality most probably go into the household bin. Pureeing food is so easy to do at home and using tubs or reusable pouches is a great alternative. Yes it takes a few more minutes every day to prepare and we’re all exhausted as parents, but we really need to think about our children’s futures when we use so many disposable plastics.
Party Kit Network – have you already heard of it? This is such a useful idea and means parents across the UK don’t all have to buy disposable plates, cups, cutlery for their kids parties. Look up your local network via partykitnetwork.org, hire your party kit, then simply clean it and hand it back. Guilt free parties are the way forward and so much cheaper too.
Plastic free shampooing. Whether you decide to use shampoo bars or alternatives to plastic, such as our Ecostore sugarcane plastic bottles, think how many bottles you can prevent from going to landfill by making this simple change. Shops such as Lush do great, organic, fun shampoo, shower and bath wash bars for kids, and our friends make brilliant shampoo and shower bars for men too! Check out Jim's Bricks.
Re-fill shops. Have you ever tried re-filling your pasta jar, or your sunflower oil, or perhaps topping up on porridge oats or even spices? Re-fill shops are the way forward, they’re so easy and convenient. Just take your old jars, tubs or bags to the shop, weigh them and then weigh the contents and pay. It’s as simple as that. These days, you can buy most groceries from these kind of shops. We even recently found a wine re-fill shop near us in Bristol, what more could a Mum want?? This website can help to direct you to your nearest re-fill shop https://www.thezerowastenetwork.com/
The most important part of eco-parenting is just to try your best. Parent guilt is real, so take it one step at a time and eventually all the changes will become second nature.
What useful eco-parenting ideas have you discovered?