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With everything increasing in price, from petrol to food, cosmetics to energy, its fair to say this cost of living crisis is going to hit a lot of people hard.
To help, there are little things, from simple tips to handy services, we can all do to save some pennies. Afterall they do say: ‘Save the pennies and the pounds start saving themselves’.
So here are my tips to use less, save some pounds, get some things more cheaply and lessen the pressure of the crisis.
Get cashback with Quidco or Top Cashback 💰
I often recommend cashback sites, and I am bewildered that more people don’t use them. If you buy near to anything online, you can get cashback. And when I say anything, we are talking insurance to food shopping to online gambling to mobile phones to energy to technology. Nearly everything we buy online.
Simply, sign up for a cashback site such as Quidco or Top Cashback, choose the site with the best cashback, search for a retailer, click the link to access the site, complete your purchase and the transaction gets tracked.
It takes some time for the cashback to be granted, but in six months time you could be looking at an extra little payday. It’s amazing how many times I have needed some money and there’s been some sitting in my Quidco account to save me.
While we are stuck in a time where we can’t shop around for the cheapest energy deal, we have to look at ways to reduce our use. This is the case for me, so I’ve made some simple switches.
It’s the obvious things really. I have started using eco modes on the dishwasher and washing machine. Then set up smart plugs to switch off devices such as my PC and the TV when we’re not using it. I’ve changed lightbulbs to LED bulbs and been slightly more so Dad-like who always tells people to switch off the lights. The result is that my electricity hasn’t gone up quite as much as I expected.
Further to that, reduce your thermostat temperature by 1 degree and stick a jumper on this Autumn. They say 1 degree equates to around £80 saved per year.
Get a free £15 purchase with Zilch 💵
Zilch is a new ‘buy now pay later’ company who give you a free £15 if you sign up with this link. Simply set up an account, shop though Zilch and use the free £15 to pay. You don’t have to use their credit option, just use the free £15 and buy a takeaway though Just Eat or Deliveroo.
After all a free pizza tastes so much better than one you paid for.
Oh and you can then refer others, you can get £15 too.
Use discounts from food box companies to save on the weekly shop 📦
This is a great idea for lower food bills. Meal box companies like Hellofresh and Gousto happily give discounts to join (up to 40% off). So sign up, make the most of the discount and then cancel. Then try the next box. These companies also tend to come back with another offer every six months or so so you can rinse and repeat. Oh, and they are also super tasty.
With petrol and diesel prices sky high, and with it not being that simple to switch to electric, there’s some easy switches you can do. In this category, I must say that there’s some I do enjoy and some less so.
Change your habits. Try car sharing if you can. I recently started two days a week with a colleague from work. I’m saving money and I get some company on the journey. Win win. Make sure you only carry what you need, and that includes fuel. Less weight means less fuel used meaning less money spent.
The less enjoyable you can drive more eco-friendly. Accelerate slower, slow down naturally rather than using hard braking and use the eco modes on your car if you have one. Certainly less fun, but if they mean we can fill the tank a day later then it can be worth it
Consider Foodbanks or Community Fridges ❄️
If you have to choose between food and fuel, consider approaching a Food Bank or Community Fridge. For Foodbanks you need a voucher to gain a referral. Community Fridges however are for anyone, and provide surplus food from supermarkets and donations to prevent food waste. You can find out more about, and how to gain the referral to, Foodbanks here (the Trussel Trust) and here (citizens advice) and all about, and where to find a Community Fridge scheme here.
Do you have any other money saving tips? Add them in the comments
It’s time for ‘another way to reduce plastic product review from me with a Splosh Review.
I have already swapped out my general cleaner/ window cleaner/ toy cleaner/ floor cleaner for Koh (which you can find the review here), and my dishwasher tab and washing tab provider for Smol (this review still needs writing!).
These changes still left the problem of buying soap bottles, washing up liquid and toilet cleaner. Whilst these are all fully recyclable by combining general curbside recycling and Terracycle, I thought there could be a better alternative, and for that I turned to Splosh.
Splosh seem to have solved the plastic problem in a different way. Rather than producing and supplying endless plastic bottles they send you one (or as many as you need, like soap and toilet cleaner as you may want one per bathroom). That one bottle lasts and with that, you’ve saved 95% of plastic waste. They do hand soap, washing up liquid, laundry detergent, surface cleaner…. and more.
But you want to save 100% plastic?
Well you can. You can then get refills to resupply the original bottles. These refills are concentrated, so supply a number of refills before they are empty. You can then, save up the refill pouches and send them back for free. Simple, and then its 100% plastic free with an endless reuse and recycle system. The fact the refills are concentrated too also saves on the environmental costs related to shipping, so that’s another win, oh and they fit through the letterbox!
For this review we tried the grapefruit washing up liquid, rose and lotus blossom and blackberry soap and mint and eucalyptus toilet cleaner.
Both the soaps are foaming and moisturising leaving your hands feeling fresh, the toilet cleaner smells lovely and fresh and the washing up liquid is tough and smells summery and fresh. Overall, in terms of scent and effectiveness, the Splosh products work exactly as the standard alternatives (like Fairy washing up liquid, and Carex soap).
But Isn’t refilling a pain?
It’s simple. For the soap, just fill to the line on each bottle with hot water, top up to the neck with the refill solution and shake. in this example, one refill refills the soap bottle 6 times, although others are simply refill and use.
It must be expensive then?
Compared to leading hand soap providers, this does clock a little higher at 8p per 100 ml more. However, if you subscribe you save 10% and with big refills you can save even more. As the website says, ‘With each refill, you get that flicker of satisfaction you’re doing something good for the planet’ which makes up for the tiny price increase.
Overall, its a keeper for me and I thoroughly recommend it.
If you’re interested in Splosh, I have a referral code you can use below. To use it visit Splosh.com.
I have focused my environmental posts on the reduction of single use plastic as this the issue I’m most passionate about. (If you want to catch up, all the posts about reducing plastic are below). However, there are many other changes you can make to reduce your environmental impact. Here’s some other switches we have made, which may inspire you to change.
This is simple. When you look to change your energy supplier each year (which is good to save some pounds too), also look for green energy companies. We switched to Bulb last year with 100% renewable energy and carbon neutral gas.
2. Reduce the amount of energy you use. Use less energy led bulbs, power saving modes
Using less energy doesn’t always seem simple but there are a few easy things to switch. Next time your light bulbs need changing, get longer life, lower energy LED alternatives. Really need your games console on ‘always on’ or your TV on standby? Look at smart plugs, which can turn it all off completely or activate power saving or Eco modes.
3. Compost your waste
If you have a spare corner in the garden, consider home composting and if not, consider getting a ‘brown’ bin subscription, Food waste can be easily composted, producing nutritious compost to help grow food for next year. (I’ve got half this sorted, composting for years but still need to build a planter to grow food, thats one for this year!)
4. Save heat with insulation
We recently got our loft boarded, which meant checking their was sufficient insulation. This keeps our carbon neutral heat where we need it.
5. Consider reducing your emissions
If you can, walk or cycle instead of driving. When you change your car, consider hybrid, plug in hybrid or electric options. I’ve recently gone to Hybrid with my latest upgrade.
6. Recycle recycle recycle
Recycle what you can. Terracycle what you think you can’t. Reduce buying the things you can’t recycle where you can and consider buying second hand. You can find out about Terracyle here.
For me, a huge priority for the future of our children is sustainability. Our planet has shown us that it is struggling and it is our responsibility to listen.
The idea of making changes can often be incredibly overwhelming, expensive and may not even align well with our daily routines and lifestyle.
As such, it is important to consider making small but gradual changes in your daily life and commencing with things that will be accepted and used immediately. In doing so, the changes you make will be more inclined to form long lasting patterns of behavior, increased feelings of success and a greater likelihood to try other eco friendly alternatives in the future!
It’s about setting yourself up for success and even one small change can make a very big difference!
What do I mean by this…?
Well, my first real eco-friendly change commenced over 16 years ago now, when I became a mum for the first time.
I bought my very first set of cloth nappies!
Back then, the nappies were not pretty at all! In fact I was definitely overwhelmed by the idea of using cloth, having lots of washing, touching poop – and terrified as a young 20 year old of those safety pins!
However, I commenced the journey because I wanted a better future for my child. I had seen footage and read information about the impacts of disposable nappies on our environment, particularly increased landfill and the damage to our seas and wildlife. I had also read about the huge financial savings that went with this change. For me, it was definitely worth trying!
These days, the change is even easier with modern cloth. They work just like a disposable (snaps or Velcro) and are fully washable.
They also come in the cutest designs, which is definitely very exciting for a Nightmare Before Christmas fan such as myself!!
I find that on average, I spend about 5 to 10 minutes extra per day managing my cloth nappies compared to those days where I have had to use disposables (for example when I have been on holidays).
They are just so easy and truly do not require huge changes in your daily life or routines to use. I am forever washing with three children, what is another load of washing every couple of days?! Cloth nappies do however make a huge difference to the planet – with even just one change a day!
How can something so small make a difference?
In the first two to three years of your child’s life, it is expected that you will change approximately 5,500 nappies!
In Australia, this means that over 2.1 BILLION disposable nappies will be thrown away every year.
Although the majority does end up in landfill, others will enter our waterways, or discarded on roadsides and parks. The damage can be devastating for the health of our natural ecosystems, particularly for our aquatic animals.
From a financial perspective, using disposable nappies exclusively will cost you approximately $2000! This is money that you will literally be throwing away!
How many cloth nappies are required to service the first few years of your child’s life?
20 – 30 cloth nappies are considered ample to support your child for their first few years of life. This equates to 13 cents a nappy change and a grand total of around $200 for the lifespan of your nappies to maintain them (water and detergent).
Although the initial outlay can be expensive, you will save so much money in the long term and if you care for your nappies according to their recommended guidelines, they may also benefit another family at the end of your journey.
I have actually sold some of my nappies as toilet training has commenced and get around 50% of what I paid back!
Cloth nappies range in price, starting at around $6.99 for a basic shell. These days, you can purchase cloth nappies from a range of places, including Aldi, Kmart, Big W and various other department stores.
I do however, recommend spending a little more in the initial outlay phase and buying a decent brand that has good reviews. There are so many wonderful brands out there that have been tried and tested for quality, durability and affordability. If you are in need of recommendations feel free to check out my Instagram for reviews and ideas – @chickedy_and_chic.
The average price that I have paid for my nappies has been around $25 to $30 each (new). These come with the inserts, care instructions and have been tried and tested by many users so that you can be confident in their quality and value for money.
If you were to buy a full time stash at this price, your outlay is approximately $750. But remember, this will last you for years and no impulse buying crisis will ever interfere with your ability to buy nappies again! Yes… this happened here in Australia!
I also have a huge portion of my stash that is second hand. As a cloth nappy and eco advocate, I love the idea that I am able to reuse and recycle. In fact some of the cutest nappies from my stash are second hand!
When I became a mum for the second time, this is exactly what I did… I found a mum selling her entire stash (75 nappies!!) and bought all of them for $200! They were in excellent condition and have served my two youngest children right through until the end of their nappy journeys.
Cloth nappies can be sanitized if you are concerned about buying second hand.
Important Environmental Facts
It takes one cup of crude oil to make just 1 disposable nappy
It takes twice the water to produce one disposable nappy than to wash your cloth nappy 200 times!
Disposable Nappies are not biodegradable, meaning that it can take between 300 and 500 years to breakdown (if at all)
Cloth nappies do not require soaking, bleaches or nasty chemical treatments. My cloth nappies go into a dry pail after use and get washed every 2 days according to the CCN recommendations for safety. How easy is that?!
I use environmentally safe washing detergents and wash on a 40-60 degree Celsius cycle. I wash mine in with my towels to maximize the benefits and save time, energy and water.
Cloth nappies are made from environmentally sustainable materials with some fibres such as bamboo, hemp and wool requiring less water and energy to produce. They also are often free of harmful pesticides and can be ethically sourced with ease. Many do use plastics (to provide a waterproof layer), however it is often created from renewable materials like paper pulp! I am actually less excited by cotton as the cotton industry is one of biggest pollutants!
Health and Safety Facts
Cloth nappies use less harmful chemicals, dyes etc like chlorine, alcohol and sodium laurel sulfates. Many of these chemicals have been banned in women’s products due the dangers to health, yet can still be found in many disposable nappies!
Cloth nappies allow for airflow and the body to breath this means less bacteria, chances for rashes (you must still change your baby regularly) and other more serious long term health risks. There are also a number of studies that have looked at temperature differences that exist between disposable and cloth, again demonstrating a preference to make the change!
Cloth nappies do not need to be changed more frequently than a disposable (every 3 hours is standard). However, there are specific overnight nappies that can allow you to go longer between changing and are highly absorbent. I have two toddlers, one just turned 4 and the other is 2.5 years. Both use cloth at night still and although they are very wet when they wake in the morning, there are no leaks! These nappies often require a wool cover to be placed over the nappy to provide a waterproof barrier.
Caring for your Nappies
Cloth nappies do not require soaking or any chemicals. Just place them into a dry pail!
If you wash every few days, you can pop the nappies and inserts into pre-wash cycles then do a main wash every 2-3 days.
Always follow the guidelines and care instructions that come with your nappies or join a Facebook or Instagram Group that can help you to care for your nappies. This will ensure that your nappies stay clean, smell and bacteria free and that you will be able to use them for years to come!
Never put your nappy in the dryer (inserts you can put in dryer on low heat) and never use barrier nappy creams or fabric softeners as this can drastically reduce the life and effectiveness of your nappy.
The cloth community is in general very supportive. I have made so many amazing friends and connections over my past 16 years as a cloth mum. If you are unsure, need recommendations or are facing any challenges, I can almost guarantee that there is a Facebook or Instagram group to help you through! We are all parents, all know the struggles and challenges of newborns and children and so it is all about empowering each other to succeed.
I have also seen a number of groups on the rise just for dads! I love this idea and think that it is absolutely brilliant. Our world and stereotypical formula of ‘mum at home’ is no longer the only way. We need to empower dads to also feel confident in taking environmentally friendly steps in their parenting and support them. Welcome Dads!!
The feedback that I generally have read from men is that Velcro Modern Cloth is preferred compared to the snaps. Velcro is definitely much easier to use (but remember to fold the Velcro tab before popping it in the wash!).
Daycare and childcare centres will also often be very supportive and accommodating. When my middle child attended Daycare, I would send a pod of approximately 6 nappies and some wet bags. The feedback from our centre was that cloth was equally easy to use compared to disposable!
Designs and Styles
You can buy cloth nappies in virtually every design on the planet!! This is where you hear many parents joking about the cloth nappy addiction…. IT IS REAL!
I have my workhorse nappies, but I also have my collection of pretties! I have My Little Pony, Carebears, Nightmare Before Christmas, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Dinosaurs, Disney and so much more! Your cloth nappy can be transformed into an outfit in its own right! My girls absolutely love selecting their nappies and of course have their favorite designs.
Cloth nappies can come in different styles and with different types of inserts and elastics. You can buy cloth nappies in Velcro or with snaps (which can be front or side).
I recommend trying a few brands when you buy your initial stash so that you can narrow down what your personal preference is. You can always resell or donate any cloth nappy that doesn’t work well for your family. Personally, I am not a fan of side snapping nappies, but I do prefer snaps, particularly on toddlers who have learnt to remove their clothing with ease! I have also recently learnt that you can also turn them around with the Velcro or snaps at the back to avoid removal and nudie runs!
WAHM vs Commercial Styles; You will often see the term WAHM used in cloth nappy circles. This stands for Work at Home Mum and indicates that this nappy is handmade. I love supporting local families and small businesses and definitely have a large portion of WAHM nappies in my stash! I also love that you can tailor the nappy to what suits you. You can choose the fit and the fit is very trim compared to some of the commercial styles out there!
Abbreviations and Lingo
This part was definitely the trickiest to learn for me! However if you are unsure of what someone is meaning, I suggest asking to clarify. There are also some great pages that have cheat sheets of abbreviations online – Google was my friend for a long time!
Buying Cloth Nappies
There are many stores that stock cloth nappies. Often, these stores will assist you with the fit and style so that you purchase something that is best suited to you as the parent or baby. My preference is to buy your nappies after baby is born.
You can also purchase online.
If you do purchase online and are not able to view the product, make sure that you check the reviews first.
Again, I recommend buying a few different brands and styles to try before you buy a complete stash of nappies. Start with buying 3-4 cloth nappies and try them out before attempting to go full cloth. You want to increase your chances of success, which means being strategic in the style and brand that you select.
You may even want to master the daytime cloth nappy process before going to overnight styles and use, as this can be a little trickier if you are a beginner.
I have bought some brands in the past (mostly because of their amazing fabrics) that have had a huge cult like following, only to find that the fit was way off for my children. I was so pleased that only a few were purchased and that I could resell them with ease!
I am all about reducing, reusing and recycling! I own a large number of cloth nappies in my stash that are second hand, however there are a few things to know if you wish to buy pre-loved.
Ask Questions – what is their washing routine? How many nappies are in their stash (the more nappies, the less use that they will have had in theory)? Did they buy the nappies new or secondhand? How much use has it had, including how many children have used it? Does it have any stains? What are the elastics like? What is the PUL or plastic inside layer like? Ask them to sell photos if buying online. I also recommend paying via Paypal Goods and Services where possible because if there is an issue, you have buyer protection available.
View the nappies if possible. When you look at the nappy there are some important things to check. Unfortunately, there have been some occasions where I have purchased a nappy or a bulk lot of nappies, only to find that they are delaminated or have slack elastics!
Make sure that you check the elastics. Are they slack? Are they absent? There are generally elastics around the legs and in the back pockets (sometime on the tummy). These need to be tight or the nappy has a very high chance of leaking. Tight elastics provide a better seal and trust me it is worth checking!
Turn the nappy inside out (if you can) and look at the PUL (plastic lining). Is it bubbling? Is it lifting? Discolored? Does it make a crunching sound if moved around?
This plastic coating is probably one of the most important elements in your nappy! It is what makes it waterproof. Make sure that it is in good condition and that there is no bubbling, lifting or discoloration.
Check for stains, smells and any damage to the liners/inserts. Sometimes inserts can curl and this is normal, however you do not want holes or stains. Check the snaps and Velcro to make sure that it is all in good working condition.
Again, I recommend starting out with just a few brands to narrow down what you like before completing your full stash.
Making your own Cloth Nappies
Can you sew? Making your own cloth nappies can be so rewarding and a wonderful way to tailor a nappy to what you prefer and the designs that you love.
Handmade nappies often provide a more trim fit that can make clothing sit a lot better – particularly shorts and leggings.
I recommend joining a cloth nappy group for this, for example – ‘How to make your own cloth nappies’ to get advice on things like the best materials for your inserts (hemp, cotton, microfiber, bamboo).
The fabric that is generally used in cloth nappies is PUL. PUL is a polyester fabric, backed with a waterproof laminate coating. It is used a lot to make cloth nappies but can also be used to make bibs, art smocks, bed wetter sheets, training pants, menstrual and breast pads, carseat covers, pram liners, baby change mats and so much more. It can be purchased in the most adorable prints! There are many online stores that stock PUL.
Some of the more popular patterns that can be purchased to make your own cloth nappies include:
As mentioned, my stash is diverse and includes a mixture of brands, styles and new, handmade and secondhand. However, I do have some preferred brands.
These include (in no particular order):
Mimi & Co
Bare and Boho
Close Pop In
My Little Gumnut
Bibs n Buns
From the Rose Garden (FTRG)
Libby Lou Rose (LLR)
Will you make the change?
If you have any questions or need support, my inbox is always open! You are also free to check out my instagram – @chickedy_and_chic for lots of recommendations, eco friendly ideas, parenting and play strategies. I am all about empowering others and am a very positive, welcoming person.
– Costello A et al 1989 The Sanitary Protection Scandal. The Women’s Environment Network
Hi There! My name is Tegan and I am a mum of three girls aged 16, 4 and 2.5 years.
I am also a psychologist and criminologist, who holds a particular interest in early childhood learning and development.
Over the last decade, I have connected and learnt so much as a practitioner and a mum, but enjoy learning each and every day.
I also love to share my knowledge and ideas!
In my career, my specific field of interest has been working with children impacted by trauma and as such, I have worked extensively in the fields of sexual abuse, domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, foster care and supporting those in or at risk of child safety intervention.
I joined Instagram as a means to beat Covid boredom and was so blessed by the experience. I have networked and connected with so many likeminded professionals and parents – including Daddy and Munchkin. I love this blog so much because it includes everything… parenting, tips and ideas, reviews and more!!
If you would like to connect or are interested in any of my play based ideas, learning strategies or eco based suggestions, please visit
All opinions are my own, and where I profit this is highlighted.
1. Choose plastic free dishwasher and washing tablets
For all your dishwasher and laundry (bio and non-bio) needs there is one supplier who stands out for us, Smol. We have been using them for a few months now and can honestly say there no reason not to switch. They are cheaper than leading alternatives and equally effective, with fully cardboard packaging but still with child safe locks, delivered to your door and with a free trial.
2. Clean and protect your entire house, and reduce your plastic foodprint
There a full review of Koh here. But, put simply, they provide cleaning cloths and solutions with reusable bottles and washable cloths. The solution works on your oven, but is safe on your kids toys. More recently, they have a developed a solution which repels bacteria for 7 days from application – clever stuff and plastic reduced!
I’m not saying this is always easy to find out, but if you look around you can. For example, we have recently got some lovely dried flower displays from our good friend SunSoakedFlorals who uses 100% plastic free packaging.
Similarly, if you need a new board game, big potato board games have removed all plastic from their packaging. If you are interested I can also give you 22% off*. Contact me on Instagram or by email for a code.
*I earn commission on sales at big potato board games, but own enough of them to prove my thoughts are genuine.
4. Use biodegradable nappies when the reusable ones are in the wash
While reusable nappies are brilliant during the day for us, they struggled at night, and there was always the wash days which needed disposables. Biodegradable disposables may expensive, but when using them at the rate we do, when balancing with reusables, its unnoticeable. For biodegrable nappies we use kit and kin. But other good brands exist such as Naty, Beaming Baby and more. We chose kit and kin for their cute designs.
I switched to natural, plastic free deodorant by AKT over six months ago and It’s one of the best things I have done. It smells great, makes me sweat less, contains no carcinogens like antiperspirant and is developed by west end performers (and I love a musical).
Here’s another great one I discovered recently. If, like me, you like to upgrade your devices, you also tend to buy a new case to protect it. And what happens with that case when you recycle your device? Here’s where Pelacase come in, they make durable, but compostable phone and airpod cases and watch bands. I’ve used one for two months, and noticed no difference to my usual plastic housing. So next time you upgrade your phone, upgrade your case too.
I never thought I cared that much about cleaning, then I spent months at home during lockdown and kept seeing the same adverts. One cleaning solution for alljobs, which powerfully cleans the oven but is equally safe for kids toys. There was only one way to know if it works. I had to give it a go. This is my Koh review.
I bought one of their packages. This included cleaning solution (delivered in a wine box style container), reusable washable cleaning cloths, a refillable spraying bottle and some tough diamond scrubbers. That’s a significant saving of single use plastic bottles and cloths. Its also eco-certified, vegan and cruelty free.
Koh Review – the tests
I tested the bathroom first. Blimey did it shine like never before, and all without burning my nostrils and throat with bleach (the usual occourence when scrubbing the grout.
Then came the true test, the oven. Following the instructions, you spray and leave the solution on for two minutes, then spray a diamond scrubber and get to work. Our oven needed some TLC, but after one go it improved substantially, and after two looked good as new. No over-priced, hazardous oven cleaning set in sight.
A few months later
A few months down the line, impressed, we tried the mop package. With reusable, washable mop pads this is another game changer. It also comes with a neat little silicone scrubber and hair catcher. The pads attach and detach easily, and machine wash for re-usability.
The solution is scent free. However, that makes it personalisable. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the bottle, shake, and you’ve got your own personal fragranced cleaner. We’ve currently got some lavender scent and its lovely!
Then the most important one. It’s child safe (although keep the neat solution away from their little hands). What it means, is we can go from the oven to his toys, knowing when dry, they are perfectly safe to play with again. And we can use it with the mop, knowing he can crawl or walk over it straight after!
Price wise it also pays for itself. With what I now have, compared to the oven cleaner, non washable mop pads, mop solution, window cleaner, cloths, bathroom cleaner, bleach…. etc etc I now just have one solution.
Therefore its cheaper, safer, effective and better for the environment!
With a planet drowning in plastic the switch to wooden toys may be one thing to help prevent the crisis. With wooden toys becoming reasonably priced, featuring popular characters, readily available and aesthetically pleasing why wouldn’t you?
We knew we wanted to make Munchkin as single use plastic free as possible from before he was born (though, we admit, it took months to be totally plastic free). So we switched his nappies, wipes, removed nappy bags, bought second hand plastic (or promised to re-gift or hand down) and always aim to buy wooden toys. Read about our plastic swaps and promises in the links below.
Admittedly, with toys, its not always this simple. Toddlers are stimulated by lights and sounds, where wooden toys can be more aimed at role play, or mentally challenging tasks like puzzles, shape or colour sorting. Knowing this, we didn’t avoid plastic to allow Munchkin access to these features, but use Facebook marketplace, or when buying new, are happy knowing we will use this for Baby-G 2.0, or sell on or donate in the future.
However there are many a wooden alternative to plastic toys and their prices are decreasing. Just weeks ago, we found a solid wooden alphabet animal shaped puzzle in Wilkinson’s for £5. The big shows are also going plastic free with ‘Hey Dougee’ and ‘Peppa Pig’ getting eco-friendly with their offerings so there’s something for every child.
My only worry now though, is when you take a glance up the older children’s aisles in our toy shop. It seems the older kids get, the more limited the wooden offerings become. Lets hope this changes before Munchkin grows up.
So why not treat your little one this Christmas, and also help save this wonderful planet for their future?
I recently decided it was time to change our washing up to plastic free.
We previously used scourers and blue cloths, which firstly contain plastic which breaks down to microparticles with every use, but are also lovely breeding grounds for bacteria.
I opted for a combination of a Silisponge and a Joseph Joesph Clean-tech Scrubber.
These work perfect in combination. The Silisponge is flexible so it’s perfect for things like the edges of glasses, and those tight corners of your toddlers animal shaped plates and bowls. The Joesph Joesph however is tough and perfect for tough baked on food. We then also clean the sink using Koh, a multiple use antibacterial single-use plastic free cleaning solution. (I will review Koh in a future post).
The Joesph Joesph sponge also has two edges with different rigidity for tougher or lighter cleans, and also a tough end for scrapping extra tough bits.
Both are silicone, so hardwearing, dishwasher safe to sterilise and most importantly, plastic free.
Since then we’ve made some more plastic free promises.
Using reusable fruit and veg bags
Every supermarket now sells reusuable fruit and veg bags near (you guessed it!), the fruit and veg. This means we can pick loose again without using any plastic.
Plastic free ‘shower gel’ and shampoo products from Kitenest
I intended on purchasing some of these and then kindly received some as a Christmas present (yay!). Their activated charcoal soap is a perfect replacement for shower gel leaving your skin smooth and smelling like the spa. I’ve also got a lemon shampoo bar but i’ve yet to try it out. Ill let you know when I have. Kitenest also do bamboo care products, reusable face wipes, plastic free dry shampoo and more. Kitenest.co.uk
Replacing antibacterial wipes
Although this was forced to fall back to wipes due to the COVID madness, we had removed the use of antibacterial wipes for using an antibacterial spray and a cloth. This keeps the efficacy of the solution but low plastic use.
Biodegradable baby wipes
Since having a little munchkin, we have been keen to reduce the potentially huge plastic impact of such a tiny human. Wipes were next on the list, and thanks to cheap home-band wipes on the high street at Boots this was easy as pie.
Recycling bread bags
Another bug bear of mine, I love bread and a lot of bread comes in bags. Luckily these are collected at supermarkets in the bag recycling bins. Along with bread bags are many other plastics including cereal liners, frozen food bags and bubble wrap. Read more here.
Recycling baby food pouches (Ella’s kitchen only)
We’ve recently also switched baby foods to allow for more recycling. Terracycle and Ella’s kitchen created Ellacycle. This programme takes Ella’s baby food pouches and snack wrappers. Read about Ellacycle here. Now thats one less thing to worry about when changing nappies, running after a toddler who’s a very fast crawler and hoping you can still get whole milk during self-isolation…
As i said in my first plastic post. It’s not about changing everything, and it’s not about doing it overnight. It’s about changing bit by bit overtime. It all adds up and makes a difference.
We were progressing well with reducing single use plastics. But then, with the birth of our little Munchkin, came the nappies. Not a small amount, but a huge pile of nappies every week filling the bin destined for landfill 😔.
It was a step backwards in our single use plastic reduction plans. We made a decision to trial reusable nappies, but then saw the price. It’s definitely one of those things you invest the money in and then reap the financial rewards later, but as a new parent who’s just bought all of the essentials, the price was off-putting.
Luckily when the Munchkin was 5 and a half months, a friend from work who knew I wanted to try reusable nappies and had some spare. And so the trial began…
We bought the Bambino Mio miosolo birth to potty pack which included 15 nappies (you can find Bambino Miosolo here). You also get a bin and a couple of laundry bags, some biodegradable liners and biodegradable wipes (woo! 😊), an additive to your wash for stain removal and some boosters (for extended night use (or so they say).
The nappies come adjustable with poppers to change the size. This takes them from newborn to potty training. You then just pop in a liner (this catches the chunkier mess) and then put them on your bubba just like a normal nappy.
Well so they say…
We found we called it a trial period for a reason. There certainly is a period of settling in. A highlight of this being a wee leak all over Nanny’s leg in week 3.
One Month Later…
One month in, we’ve mastered the technique. For us, after much trial and error, we found it was to strip wash the nappies first and do them a incy wincy bit tighter.
With 15 nappies in this set, that’s a lot of regular washing. Washing regularly is better for this environment though and this is the environment we are trying to improve for our little ones who will grow up with whatever we leave them!
After the settling in month, Mummy and Daddy are used to the endless washing and the effect can be seen. We have reduced use of plastic nappies down to one for night time so it’s now saving some pounds (useful on shared parental leave), the black bin is back down to the bare minimum and the guilt has reduced.
In mid 2020 we combined reusables with biodegradable single use nappies from Kit and Kin. Finally we have accomplished single use plastic free nappy use around the clock.
If your thinking of trying reusables I recommend giving them a pop. If your Munchkin is like ours, it could be a tough trial period but once you’ve figured it out it you’re saving money and saving the planet.
One Year On…
Well, one and a bit years on. At two years two months we started to get rashy and only with the reuseable nappies. So after changing detergent, strip washing, higher temperature washing, trying different treatments to his skin we had to wave the white flag. This doesn’t mean we have gone back to plastic nappies though don’t worry. We are now biodegradable with Kin and Kin.