This month we look at sustainability and parenting and explore some options that can reduce our environmental impact without compromising on the development of our children. As every parent knows, during the baby phase nappies fill our general waste bin and so reusable nappy options are worth exploring to reduce this source of waste. You can borrow a kit of reusable nappies from the Wexford Town or Enniscorthy Cloth Nappy Library for a trial and see if they suit your situation. Single-use wipes are another big source of waste, with about 68 billion individual wet wipes being consumed in the EU-28 in 2017. Many of these single-use wipes contain plastics and are notoriously difficult to break down, clogging sewage systems and polluting marine environments. Why not consider reusable options like repurposing cotton towels/facecloths to use instead – they are soft, clean really well and can be popped into the wash or a wet bag when out and about. If you prefer you can purchase reusable cloths and kits from Cheeky Wipes or check out local online business The Nappy Market.
Toys can be another source of waste. Research published in the Infant Behaviour and Development journal found that fewer toys at a time supports quality playtime for children allowing them to build concentration and focus and play more creatively. We can reduce wasted toys by first asking “Does my child need this toy?” or “Do I already have something that would serve the same purpose?” When toys are needed, why not give a used toy a new home? There are multiple websites to check out for preloved toys and books, along with many other items for babies and children (for example www.adverts.ie, Facebook Market, and local parent’s support groups). If buying a new toy, try to avoid plastic where possible. Jimini Eco Toys is one example of an Irish website offering sustainable options. Renting toys is also becoming increasingly popular, for example DluluKaloo Wooden Toys and wooden toy rentals. It is also possible to rent other baby products too, for example you can hire baby slings/carriers from the National Sling Library. Check out Circular Living Website for a whole list of sustainable Irish websites.
Your local library is another fantastic way to share resources. Not only are they a free option for exploring all the latest books for all ages, they also have story sacks (books with associated puppets) available to use in house too – a great way to see what interests your little reader. All libraries in Co. Wexford have fantastic Sensory Toys and Assistive Resources (STAR) for children and young people with additional needs too. As well as lots of activities and groups to bring parents and children in the local community together.
Making more sustainable choices can be as simple as getting and passing on preloved clothes and toys. When we share and borrow, we don’t need to buy as much. This not only reduces waste but it also saves money and strengthens community connections.