Plastic. It’s been a huge talking point over the last year, hasn’t it? And if you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that it’s been something I have been gradually tackling. Our swaps so far include:
- Cloth nappies
- Reusable Wipes
- Beeswax Wraps
- CSP (cloth sanitary pads)
- Mooncup (which I need to give a better go with)
- Reusable water bottles
- Compostable sponges for washing up
- Attempted several shampoo bars (still haven’t found one with the best results)
- Switch back to bars of soap
- Recycled toilet roll (no plastic wrapping)
- Eco-friendly dishwasher tablets
- Attempting to use more natural cleaning products such as bicarb, white vinegar and citric acid
There is still a way to go and I know I need to do more research but in my eyes, these are great steps to have made in just under a year and they were all pretty simple too.
However, no matter how hard any of us try none of us can go 100% plastic free, it’s impossible. Well, unless you’re prepared to up sticks, go and live in the woods in a log cabin, forage for your food and never use anything modern ever again. Because let’s face it, plastic is bloody everywhere!
I am currently writing this on a laptop that has plastic on it, I live in a house with plastic windows, I drive a car that has plastic in the interior, my hairdryer is plastic, my TV is mostly plastic, I still buy food that has plastic wrappers, even some of my clothes contain plastics (microfibers). You cannot escape the plastic world that we live in.
And then, of course, there are all of the plastic toys that are currently strewn across my living room floor. Yet, these for me apply in the same way as those other items I mentioned just now; you cannot avoid them and we shouldn’t be ashamed of them. The plastic problem we face is that of single-use plastics. The ones that we carelessly use one time and then just toss in the bin to sit in landfill for hundreds of years or that go off to be burned and damage our atmosphere. Neither is a good outcome, is it?
Plastic toys are everywhere we go– homes, playgroups, soft play, nurseries etc. The reason being that plastic lasts a long time (we all know that too well now, don’t we?!), they take the battering from children and they can be easily wiped clean or sterilised, making them perfect for children’s play environments.
Yes, I have made a move to purchase more wooden toys and to be more mindful of where toys are being made and how sustainable they are but if we all started to rid our homes of plastic toys what would that achieve exactly? More plastic in the bin? More plastic sat in landfills? The charity shops being overrun with plastic toys they may not be able to store or sell? Then where would it go? Would they be forced to throw it away?
The point is, these toys have their place. For starters, my kids love a lot of theirs (and boy do they have a lot to love?!) Some have been the best purchases we have ever made, like the Fisher-Price door that every child who walks in my front door loves or the Duplo that will continue to be played with for years. And then there are the second-hand plastic toys like the V-Tech Treehouse toy that has already been handed down to three children and is still going strong and the baby walker that came from my husband’s work colleague that has now helped 4 children to learn to walk.
So, when I come under scrutiny for posts like this on my Instagram:
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I just wanted to hop 🐰 on here at another time of year where parenting pressures can take over and say that if you only bought your kids one Easter egg or none it really doesn’t matter. Social media can make us feel crappy at so many stages throughout the year and it seems Easter is no exception. So what if we don’t have a table full of eggs, if we don’t do the Easter bonnet or the crafting or have a beautifully decorated cake what matters is what they will remember. And I tell you now that it won’t be the chocolate egg that’s for sure! I haven’t bought either of mine Easter eggs but I’m pretty sure that they don’t care one bit… #makememories #chocolatedoesntlastanyway #familytimematters
I am not going to apologise for any of them. Allowing my child to play with a plastic car? How dare I, eh? (it’s not mine by the way but when you have a viral post on cloth nappies people like to nitpick!) And the reason I am not sorry is because this toy is making my child extremely happy, it is stimulating him both mentally and physically, it is providing him with the opportunity to work on his gross motor skills and it isn’t going to go into landfill after one single-use!! This toy again is a hand me down. My sister in laws children have both played with it and it is now at my in-laws for my two boys to play with. After that, it could be passed on again, sold or donated to a playgroup. It is built to last.
As are so many other plastic toys…
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This one has bumped his head four times this week, is refusing to crawl anywhere now even though he keeps falling and thinks that climbing the stairs and sliding down backwards is hilarious. I looked away for one moment the other day and when I looked up he had somehow climbed into the Duplo box. I think he’s gonna be keeping me on my toes just as much as his brother used to. And there was me thinking I had a calmer baby this time around 🙈🤕😮😆 #babies #babiesofinsta #crazybabies #fastbabies #keepingmeonmytoes #busymumofboys #busymum #mumofboys #mumblog #mumbloggers #discoverunder5k #ukparentbloggers #boys #babyboys #parenting #learningthroughplay #wildboys #littlefierceones #letthemplay #explore #exploringbaby
This war on plastic is not about items that will last you years, things that will get a lot of use (Tupperware for example), it is about those items that we could easily do without and could find an alternative– like cloth nappies and wipes.
Plastic toys are fine, people! Do not start throwing it out because you are scared that someone may judge you or that you feel you shouldn’t have any plastic items inside your home. Hold on to what you can, pass it down, sell it on, give it to charity or you could even make other uses for it once it’s had its day. How about that plastic sandpit becomes a kids garden for growing strawberries in? The unused Duplo could become a decorative feature on a bedroom wall, older plastic toys could be used as bath toys instead, alter a plastic storage box to become a new bedside table, just get creative and think outside of the box… or should that be outside of the bin?!
We need to get out of this throwaway culture and realise that we need to buy products that can be used over and over. Which is precisely why I won’t be ridding my home of plastic toys.
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