At the end of 2019 I made a promise to myself to try and make 2020 a more sustainable year for my family. It can sound really daunting, going zero-waste, but you will be surprised how easy some of the swaps are and even the smallest changes make all the difference. I thought I would share easy eco swaps for families that we have been using. You don’t need to change absolutely everything right away, take it one step at a time, maybe even changing one thing a month. It’ll make all the difference!
“WE DON’T NEED A HANDFUL OF PEOPLE DOING SUSTAINABLE LIVING PERFECTLY . WE NEED MILLIONS OF PEOPLE DOING IT IMPERFECTLY” – Ann Marie Bonneau
1. Cloth nappies i’d say are definitely the biggest swap we’ve made in our house so far & I am obsessed! I researched for so long & asked all my long-term cloth nappy using mum friends, so many questions before taking the plunge around a month ago. I found the concept quite overwhelming but I honestly don’t know what I was worried about. We only use these with Oliver as Teddy is almost ready for potty training, and I love his little cloth butt. People warned me it would get addictive & they really weren’t lying. I don’t have a huge stash so I do a nappy wash every evening but it doesn’t phase me at all & it has worked well so far!
2. Shopping second-hand really follows on from my previous point – we don’t really have many decent charity shops near us & obviously with current circumstances (Corona) they aren’t open anyway, but that hasn’t stopped me shopping second-hand! Teddy had a few second-hand toys when he was younger & I have also started buying some of our cloth nappies from Facebook marketplace too! They are always in perfect condition but I do a quick wash of them just to be sure. E-bay is also a great place for bundles of children’s clothes for a fraction of the cost. So not only are you helping the planet by stopping the items going into landfill, you’re also saving the pennies.
3. ECO-EGG was the first sustainable swap we made & I recommend it to everyone! It is a complete replacement for detergent & fabric softener, the recycable egg uses mineral pellets which you just throw into the washing machine with. It is suitable for sensitive skin – which is great as it means we can use it on Oliver’s baby clothes and it hasn’t irritated his skin at all. The egg is also vegan friendly and cruelty-free.
4. Reusable straws was an essential swap for me as I love drinking out of a straw, don’t ask me why but they contribute a LOT to plastic landfill so we bought some metal ones from Amazon. They’re super cheap, really easy to clean & reusable. They are also super easy to take out & about with you, although I know a lot of pubs & restaurants now don’t automatically give or offer you a straw, you now have to make a point of asking. I vote you just take your own! You can buy foldable ones that come in a cute little case.
5. Wooden toys aren’t only better for the environment, they’re so damn pretty too! Don’t get me wrong we still buy the odd plastic toy, unless anyone knows where I can get wooden PJ Mask toys because I would seriously buy those – LOL. However for the past year or so we have definitely opted for wooden or handmade toys. Research actually shows that children experience a more calming quality play through wooden toys & boy knows that toddlers could do with a little more calm! It is really hard for plastic toys to be recycled as it requires most of them to be separated into all the little parts before recycling, which sometimes just isn’t possible. I have noticed recently that some brands do make toys out of recycled plastic & I think that’s an amazing idea!
6. Face cloths seems such a simple swap but really, how easy is it to just grab a baby wipe and wipe mucky faces? I have been using face cloths for a few years now, mainly to remove skincare but I have recently been using it on Teddy, cleaning his face or hands. They are great for cleaning up the general grubbiness that toddlers seem to collect throughout the day.
7. Reusable shopping bags is a swap me made YEARS ago, when me & Aaron first moved in together around seven years ago. We have a mixture of the bags for life you can pick up in supermarkets (which I KNOW are plastic but reusable & they have lasted us years) & tote bags. As soon as we have unpacked our shopping, the bags go straight back into the boot ready for our next trip.
8. Cloth wipes is a swap I have only very recently made – within the last couple of days in fact. You can buy the cloth wipe kits from places like Cheeky Wipes but we opted for a more cost effective way & bought their colourful wipes from Amazon and are using a tupperware tub and essential oils we already own to make our own little kit. I actually picked this tip up from my lovely friend Charlotte who blogs all about sustainability!
9. Local markets are a fab way to avoid plastic & also save money! You can buy single loose items for much cheaper than you can in the supermarkets, they are mostly always better quality too. It is a great way to support local & small businesses.
10. Donate any old toys & clothes rather than just throwing them away! Facebook marketplace is great for selling second hand items, also if you know anyone who has children that you think the items would be suitable for, then just drop them a message!
& there you have it! 10 easy eco swaps for families to make. I would love to know if you have any ideas or recommendations for what else we can do to help make our family more sustainable? Let me know x