Here are my biggest concerns:
1. Disposable Nappies/diapers. The conventional sort are full of chemicals and take a very long time to break down in landfill. If one child can use an average of 8000 disposable nappies before they are potty trained, when four out of five mums that I know use them, that is A LOT of waste. Various sources claim they can take anywhere from 50 to 500 years to break down, depending on their make-up and the particular landfill site.
2. Our heavy usage of plastic. I have to say this one really gets me down. Sometimes I feel like we are drowning in this unsustainable, non degradable material. I know most plastics these days are recyclable but in my opinion it just isn't enough. When you have children you are suddenly surrounded by it, dummies, bottles, toys, toothbrushes, cups, spoons, bowls. Argh!
3. Toiletries cosmetics and cleaning products. Not to mention most packaging is plastic, a lot is animal-tested or paraffin based (you know oils, moisturisers and the like) or just plain artificial.
Now I'll tell you about some of the ways I'm trying to change our habits for good.
First up- nappies. Our living situation means that there is usually a queue for the washing machine, so whilst I desperately wanted to use cloth nappies it just won't be possible until we have moved house. So instead, I use eco disposables. They can be expensive compared to the dirt cheap deals you get on conventional disposables but the environmental difference is huge. They are all natural ingredients (this also goes for the wipes and nappy sacks) they are completely bio-degradable and compostable. They take such a short time to break down that when I empty the outside nappy bin once a week the ones at the bottom have dissolved their nappy sacks and are falling apart already. It's great.
Plastics: obviously this one is particularly difficult. When you have a child, people buy them things. You can't just tell them no, or that they can only buy nice traditional wooden toys. You can gently encourage books and wooden toys of sorts, but you can't keep them away from plastic toys completely, plus it kind of just feels cruel. But as parents we only buy one special gift for our daughter for birthdays and christmas, for example a baby trike for her birthday. Reegan just doesn't need that many toys, she has a lot of them and half of them she isn't even that interested in. Sometimes I give her a big mixing bowl and a spoon or a whisk and she will play happily for ages, the same with some wooden blocks or a cardboard box.
But things that I can control, I do try to make good choices. I have recently switched us onto wooden toothbrushes because I couldn't bear the thought of between six and ten of them (if you follow guidlines to replace every 3-6 months) going in the bin every year, just from the three of us.
So this is the eco bamboo toothbrush, which I found for a reasonable price on amazon. I bought myself a child's brush because I have receeding gums, so I need soft bristles. Aside from the length of the handle I don't feel that the size has really been adapted for a childs mouth because the head is quite big. The bristles are nice and it's grippy to hold but the dry smooth wood against my mouth can sometimes make me gag, so if you have problems with gag reflex (hah) normally then do not go for the adult size (hah).
I also have a bamboo hair brush, which is barrel shaped for fringe styling. It's fine for purpose but you couldn't brush your hair with it normally because the bristles are extremely spiky and uncomfortable. I won't replace my normal (plastic) hair brush unless I absolutely have too, and then I'll switch to a bamboo one.
Finally cosmetics. You have probably heard me talk before about switching to cruelty free and small makeup brands, which is going well and I am also discovering some quite nice brushes (Eco Tools and So Eco). Eco Tools do a wonderful set of brushes for the eyes, and So Eco have a 'finishing brush' supposedly for blush and powder that is perfect for stippling on my foundation. It's feels all lovely and posh (get my fancy adjectives!) and the bristles are very soft. I used to use the Real Techniques stippling brush but the So Eco one is a lot bigger and softer so I am officially converted.
|Real Techniques on the left, So Eco on the right|
I have also been using a 'natural' deodorant for my underarms, after years of switching between Nivea and Sure roll ons because of my sensitive skin, plus after a little while I would seemingly become immune and smelly and so have to switch brands again. But this new stuff is great. It comes in a tin and you rub it in with your fingers like a balm, it's lavender scented and thick with little grains that feel exfoliating.
Putting it on in the mornings is a little ritual I quite enjoy and it feels nice on my sensitive armpits even after shaving. And it really works! It was about four pounds I think, and supposedly lasts six months, when I used to use one in under 2 months at £2.50 a pop! I got it from a website called Boobalou in case anyone is interested.
I'm still using E45 liquis paraffin cream on my face and body because it's the only consistent solution to my dry and sensitive eczeme prone skin. I use it as a facial moisturiser morning and night and before makeup. If anyone can suggest an alternative I'd be grateful!