Motherhood - Playing your plastic free part in paradise
Say Hi! to Katie our first guest blogger
I (Fran) used to work with Katie, we spent many hours shopping online at work when we should have been working! Blimey how times have changed, the contrast from single ladies to becoming a mum and a step mum and buying stuff we didn’t need to give us a little perk in our days to now, considering every purchase we make and understanding the real cost those little knee jerk buys have on the earth. Katie now lives in the Dominican Republic so we thought it would be really interesting to view plastic free living through a different lens, one that in many ways is at the forefront of the problem.
Becoming a mum for the first time... need I say more? It’s hair in a bun, get sh** done. Sleepless nights, large coffees, no showers and free time, wait, what free time? Your body goes into survival mode, and the goal for each day is simply making it to the end. Slightly dramatic I know.
Day by day that idealistic sustainable life that we once dreamed of living starts to become further from our grasp.
I am based in the Dominican Republic, where the sky is blue, the sand is white, the water is clear and my next chapter started when I became a mum in October to Aiyla Rose.
Where I live is quite eye opening, the local community don’t have the luxury of recycling, or free waste management provided by the government and the trash that is collected, all ends up in landfill.
Plastic straws are still given out with every drink, Styrofoam with every takeout and with one super market trip, you might end up being given 20 carrier bags.
I see all the changes that world leaders are implementing and how charities are helping, cleaning the oceans, banning single use plastic, controlling emissions and encouraging a healthy sustainable lifestyle. But in a developing country, things are different.
Being a new mum, I’m exhausted, and I sometimes I think what’s the point of trying? Especially when you see the sheer volume of what is actually happening on the ground. But then, if everyone thought like that, the world would be making no progress at all.
So I try, lord knows, I try.
Below are a reminder of 5 simple, well-known, steps that I take to try and help where I can.
Sometimes, we just need a little nudge in the right direction.
1. Firstly, surprise surprise, Beeswax wraps UK. An absolute lifesaver when it comes to swapping out the plastic. And why do I like them? Using them is of minimal inconvenience for your everyday exhausted mum. I use them for: left over food (bread, fruit & veg), snacks that I take on the road, take out food, covering soap when I travel, tops of jars, a funnel to fill jars, even wrapping a packet of cards. You name it and I’ve done it. If you would prefer a vegan version check out The Vegan Food Wrap Company.
2. Material Diapers or Eco friendly.
This is definitely not new news for mums. But is another simple swap that you can do to help the planet digest our waste. I would be lying if I said that I did it right from the beginning. It took us 4 months of using normal diapers for us to make the swap. I am not quite there yet with material diapers, that’s the next step. But I do now use Eco Friendly ones. We now use: Nature Baby care. They don’t break the bank at 28p per diaper and Nature Baby has swapped the plastic layer for a corn layer. Creative huh? There is a world of eco diapers out there, so get researching. Power to the poop!
3. Pick up rubbish.
So, I go on a sunset beach walk pretty much every day. And every day, I see rubbish whether it’s on route to the beach, on the sand, or being washed up by our beautiful ocean. Before, I used to simply divert my eyes to something more ascetically pleasing. However, I can no longer look the other way.
Every time that I go on a walk, I take a bag with me and collect as I go. Now, you might think that this only be applicable if you live near the ocean, but trust me, it doesn’t stop there. When you go on a walk in the park, countryside or down to the river, pick up what you can. Wear gloves if you have too, if nothing else it feels good to give back. Try it.
Surfers Against Sewage have a great website showing where your local beach cleans are, a great way to meet new people too!
4. Flasks, Go Go mugs and Water Bottles.
No new news people. Simple, yet affective. When you leave the house in the morning, fill up your water bottle and take your coffee flask full or empty. There’s no need to buy water or order take out coffee and contribute to more waste anymore. I know, if you’re reading this you are probably thinking I’m sat on a high horse over here. But, I’m not, I am human and forgetful just like everyone else. Therefore to counteract my forgetful self, at night I leave the flask next to the coffee machine and fill up the water bottle and leave it in the fridge, next to my lunch! Idiot proof.
5. Super market trips.
Did you know it is estimated that we use 1 million plastic bags per minute worldwide? Not to mention the plastic bags that we use to put individual items of fresh produce in, such as 1 tomato and 1 orange. There’s no need people, no need. Bags bags bags. BAGS, try to remember those big reusable recyclable bags at the check out. If you forget them, ask for a box and if there isn’t a box, put them in the car seat or stroller. Be practical and set an example. 5p is a small price to pay for the long-term damage that they cause.
Try implementing these 5 simple changes into both yours and your babies day-to-day life... and BOOM within 21 days, a new habit has been formed.
I can promise you, with the hours that you do get, you will sleep better at night. Be the change you want to see in the world.