A plastic-free childhood seems almost impossible in this day and age of consumerism and disposable manufacturing. While eliminating plastic from your child's lifestyle entirely may be too big a feat, you can drastically reduce it by making simple, conscious decisions.
Here are 10 tips to go plastic-free with kids...
1. Educate your kids on our plastic problem
From a young age, we can teach our children about our environment and the importance of reducing our footprint. It may be hard for our very little ones to understand climate change and our pollution challenges, but like everything, one of the best ways to teach is to lead by example.
- Make conscious efforts with your low-waste mission
- Practice reducing your waste and recycling at home
- Participate as a family in a local beach clean-up
- Talk to your child care, kindergarten or school about in-class activities or excursions that highlight the plastic pollution problem.
2. Opt for cloth nappies & wipes
Disposable nappies may seem a convenient option but they create a massive landfill issue. A staggering 3.75 million disposable nappies are used and disposed of every day in Australia and New Zealand!
Today cloth nappies are much more sophisticated than the terry towel and safety pins our parents and grandparents used. Modern disposable nappies are easy to use, can be washed and come in a range of great prints.
Cloth wipes are also an eco-friendly and inexpensive swap for disposable baby wipes.
3. Use biodegradable or bamboo toothbrushes
Did you know, a plastic toothbrush can take over 1,000 years to decompose?
Once your child has finished with their toothbrush, shave off the bristles and the handle can be added to your compost.
4. Switch to a shampoo bar
Bath times are much more fun without soap in the eyes and tangled hair. Shampoo bars are not only a great way to reduce your kids' plastic use, but also nourishing for the hair.
We love Ethque's Solid Shampoo Bar Oaty Delicious - For Little Ones.
5. Go for solid soap
Ditch the liquid body soaps and go for a solid soap bar packaged in recyclable packaging or nude. Soap bars are long-lasting, negate the need for cloths or loofahs and do just as good a job cleaning dirt and grime!
6. Burrow or swap toys
The majority of toys these days are made of plastic or at the very least, packed in plastic. Living a plastic-free lifestyle with kids can seem incredibly optimistic.
One way to reduce your plastic in the home is to burrow or swap toys. Joining a toy library is a great way to limit buying disposable toys. You could also swap toys with a friend or encourage a group to rotate toys when the kids lose interest.
7. Buy wooden toys
Wooden toys have become more accessible and a greater range. Even mega stores like Kmart and Target are getting into stocking wooden products.
One of the drawbacks is that wooden toys can be more costly than plastic products. But they tend to last longer so a good investment. You'll also find wooden toys on second-hand sites and charity shops for sale at a fraction of the price.
If plastic-free is important to you, share your mission with friends and family. When it comes time for birthdays and events like Christmas, they can be inspired to purchase wooden toys rather than plastic stuff.
8. Get cooking
Pre-made snacks and food items can create a huge amount of waste. While it may not be feasible to make everything at home, some planning and food prep can go a long way in reducing your waste and providing nutritious food options for your child.
When you do purchase pre-packed items, opt for single packet foods rather than individually snacks that you can portion such as popcorn or crackers.
9. Ditch single-use plastics
Swapping from plastics to reusables is easier than ever before with such great ranges available.
Switch from a plastic school lunchbox to a durable stainless steel bento box. Opt for a reusable water bottle rather than purchasing single-use plastic drinks. Ditch the plastic wrap for beeswax wraps.
10. Host plastic-free parties
Kid's parties can be a haven for plastic products like decorations, cups, plates and mini lolly packets. Instead of buying into the party supply business, opt for eco-friendly options.
Use reusable tableware or if you can't stand the extra washing up, choose bamboo or uncoated cardboard products. Make your own party treats or head to a bulk food store where you can choose from a range of package-free treats.
It may not be possible to live an entirely plastic-free lifestyle with kids, but there is a way you can drastically reduce your family's plastic consumption by making conscious decisions.