(almost) Plastic Free with Kids

July 20, 2014

By Tanya

So I've been trying really hard to give Plastic Free July a go but, with kids, by jingo it's challenging. Now don't get me wrong, total kudos to those wonderful mums I see on facebook and pinterest, you know the ones... They buy only bulk produce and spend weekends at the growers market. "Oh we wouldn't dream of using store bought plastic wrapped bread" they say while they turn out a perfect loaf of organic spelt sourdough and pop yet another tray of sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, egg free superfood muesli bars in the oven, but the fact is, I am not that mum - yet. In my defence, we don't live in an area where there is ready access to a wide range of choices in the plastic free department and so acquiring some of the tools to achieve this kind of perfection takes a lot more time, resources and energy. We still have a long way to go on our journey to be plastic free. However, I'm not going to beat myself up about it because we are still striving to remove what plastics we can from our lives and consume what we do more mindfully. Here are some of the changes I've implemented since last year's Plastic Free July and I think we're doing okay so far...
  • Our family now use bamboo toothbrushes and they're awesome! We look upon them as blank canvases and use honeysticks beeswax non toxic crayons to personalise our own.
  • I always bring my eclectic collection of reusable bags for shopping and this also includes reusable Keep Leaf produce bags for fruit and vege and loose things.
  • We welcome and contribute to a pool of kids toys that are preloved. Most kids don't need or even notice if toys are shiny, new and fresh out the wrapper if the toy itself is interesting and engaging to them so we choose wisely and pass on particularly lovely toys to the next generation as they are outgrown. (I also tactfully encourage friends and family to avoid unnecessary plastic junk when looking at pressies for the boys. I gently guide them towards more eco ideas or better still encourage them to spend time, rather than money. That is so much more valuable to them).
  • I haven't used cling film in over a year (woo hoo!) This one was waaaay easier than I thought it would be... I now use beeswax covers, tea towels and glass or stainless steel containers. Or I use teacups or bowls and cover them with a saucer.
  • I recycle glass jars and use them to store and freeze food instead of plastic boxes and containers. (Quick tip - when freezing in glass, don't do up the lid until it's fully frozen. Also, don't fill the container to the brim, allow an inch from the top and allow food to cool before placing in the freezer).
  • I am investing in glass storage containers for food - I watch for sales and bargains like a hawk, then I pounce!
  • Who Gives a Crap! WE DO! honestly, if you haven't heard of these guys... you need to check them out! These loo rolls are more than just super cute - they're making the world a better place and they don't cost the earth.
  • I'm attempting to swap out that draw every family with small kids has -  the one with plastic plates, bowls, little containers and sippy cups. I am sourcing bamboo cups and plates, stainless steel containers and lunch boxes, fabric lunch and snack bags. I still have a few bits to change here but it's a work in progress.

  

  

Despite the changes we've made as a family, I still get tied up in knots everytime I do a grocery shop or make any purchase where plastic comes into play. But of all the items I have replaced so far, I don't miss the plastic version one bit. These alternate materials and fabrics - the bamboo, steel, hemp or glass - they all feel so much lovelier, they smell better, they look great and best of all - they're guilt free. I may not be the perfect plastic free mum but I'm not limiting our endevours to just July these days. I'm aiming at minimising our impact on the earth all the time.  



6 Responses

Sarah
Sarah

August 20, 2014

Veey interesting and thought provoking. I like the idea of reducing plastic and clingfilm. It is indeed fiod for thought. Thank you Tanya.

Renae Rance
Renae Rance

July 23, 2014

Very inspiring! As I read this, I scan my kitchen (in my head!) and can see so many flaws. I really need to take a feather from your cap and weave your magic x

Lindsay
Lindsay

July 22, 2014

Sounds like you’re doing great! It’s definitely a work in progress, especially as replacing plastic things with stainless steel, glass, ceramics, wood etc is expensive! Also, habits take time to form. Build on one, and once that’s sorted ,start on the next one. We’ve been plastic free for two years and we’re in the routine now, we hardly ever slip up – but in less than a month we’re going to the UK for 3 weeks and I’ve no idea how we’re going to manage! I asked my boyfriend what he though and he said “oh, I thought we’d just have an amnesty!” But that seems wrong to me… you can’t change your habits just cos you’re going on holiday! So we’ll see! : )

Danielle
Danielle

July 21, 2014

We are going through the same the same process of eliminating plastic from our household and I agree it is quite the challenge with children! Great tips and product recommendations here – thanks for your post!

Lynne paris
Lynne paris

July 20, 2014

Tis all about mindfulness…….and doing the best you can within the confines of your location

marg agnew
marg agnew

July 20, 2014

What an inspirational story. Sounds easier than I thought, off to give plastic free a good try, Marg

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