New parents often find themselves running low on time, energy, and money. And while those things might appear to be working against you when trying to save the planet, luckily, the Internet is full of resources that help make hectic lives easier.
Wanting to shield the little ones from climate change anxiety is tempting – after all, teaching kids about sustainability might feel like a big task. It can be conquered, however, and the result will definitely be worthwhile, both for their future and for that of the environment. They’re never too young to make an impact, and whether it’ll be positive or negative is up to you and the examples you set.
Each year, 8.5 million children’s products end up in landfills in the UK alone and, to make things worse, 90% of those are made solely of plastic. ‘As babies grow, what once was the most essential item can end up being just another plastic “thing” that ends up being disposed of, with more new stuff taking its place. The reality is that 40% of babies’ products have a lifespan no longer than 4 months,’ says Samantha Sonier, creator of Blue Brontide, an online store battling expiry dates.
‘Blue Brontide is founded on the belief that children’s items should not only be beautiful, but built to last, gathering memories and character along the way,’ Sonier says. Less than half of UK waste is recycled, and while this number is, fortunately, growing, products built with longevity in mind and designed to be passed down the family can really make a difference. ‘You're not only creating less waste that could potentially end up in a landfill, but reducing your need to purchase additional toys, as these types of toys will continue to stimulate a child as they and their skills grow and develop,’ Sonier says.
From wooden toys that plant trees and fairytale-inspired non-toxic placemats to biodegradable plates and BPA-free teethers, Blue Brontide offers eco-friendly products that are safe for the little one as well as the Earth. The business also gives back to the planet through supporting projects like Surfers Against Sewage, a non-profit organisation uniting and empowering communities to protect oceans, beaches, and wildlife, committed to reducing ocean pollution and single-use plastic.
Plastic packaging waste is expected to grow by 67% by 2030. And while choosing items with less packaging means you reduce what you buy (and what you throw away in the end) by about 10%, going completely package-free saves so much more. Companies like Blue Brontide offer package-free items – care instructions are engraved on the product itself, for example, and are posted in completely biodegradable, recycled materials. In the words of Anne-Marie Bonneau, ‘we don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly; we need millions of people doing it imperfectly’. Small changes go a long way.
‘For items you know you won’t use for a lifetime, biodegradable is a great option’, Sonier says. If you type ‘sustainability’ into Google, a clever dictionary will tell you all about avoiding the depletion of natural resources and maintaining an ecological balance’ – products that break down into the soil will naturally give back to the Earth while keeping it clean.
By choosing eco-friendly products, not only are you using your consumer power in a good way, but showing your children how they can look after the environment. Taking care of your baby and the planet go hand in hand, after all.