By Emily Folk
There is a lot of pressure on parents today to match up to the eternally unachievable ideas of how family life should look – think lots of hashtags and stock pictures. The fact remains that bringing up children is the hardest thing that most of us will ever do and that’s why there’s sometimes seemingly little energy to even consider anything else during the child-rearing years.
However, as we become more and more educated about our impact on global warming, as well as more aware of the plastic waste crisis, most of us are assuming an individual responsibility to monitoring and reducing our own respective carbon footprints. You will most likely already be cognizant of the fact that as parents, you are also responsible for the carbon footprint of your children and unfortunately, as cherubic and innocent as they are, even the tiniest of babies leave a major carbon footprint.
From non-biodegradable foam table protectors to safety gates, your household could end up generating a significant amount of waste that ends up in your local landfill. Obviously, baby-proofing your house is critical to your child’s safety, but luckily enough there are ways to remain vigilant about eco-friendliness without compromising convenience or your child’s safety.
Back Away From the Plastic
This can be as simple as saying no to all the plastic bags available at counters when you purchase your child-proofing tools – bring your own reusable bag and in fact, enlist the help of your children to decorate it so it’s even more of a reminder to bring it! While this may seem obvious, having plastic bags in the home are also a risk to children themselves, given the risk of suffocation.
It is a sad fact – and you may already have clocked on – but 99 percent of baby products are made of plastic and some of these even contain PVC, polycarbonates and BPA which cause internal damage to the body through ingestion. It also takes up to 500 years for these plastics to decompose and a huge amount of energy is used in their production process. Look for bioplastic products instead which are eco-friendly and also keep a look out for natural rice husk plastic substitutes.
It’s all About the Baby Gates, Baby Cakes
A typically cheap plastic product, baby gates are almost a prerequisite for any family with young children. Instead of falling in the plastic trap like everyone else, look for green baby gates which also meet safety standards. Untreated, undyed natural woods are the best alternative here, as well as gates made from bamboo and/or recycled plastic.
A quick note here – you may very well decide to replace more than one of your furniture items with wooden alternatives which no doubt will get grubby at the hands of your young ones. Natural cleaning of your furniture is a way of making a home eco-friendly and safe for children, so do bear in mind the contents of your cleaning products.