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My husband calls me a hippy!

Can we live without waste?

Nappy and you know it.

The zero waste living movement is growing. It’s an admirable aspiration but much of the western world has been so indoctrinated to live conveniently, to support global companies making disposable products, that eliminating waste seems genuinely impossible. Single use plastic lined coffee cups, single use plastic drinks bottles, single use plastic shopping bags and single use plastic straws are common culprits in the pollution of our oceans and destination landfill. Another critical offender is the single use disposable nappy, answering a basic human need but disastrously polluting our planet as it does so. This is why I’ve converted to reusable nappies for my second child.

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Yes, disposables have a high convenience factor and they seem like a sanitary way to be rid of human waste but with an estimated 2.5-3 billion of them being disposed of in the UK each year their contribution to landfill is considerable.  And they take an estimated 200-500 years to decompose.  Every disposable nappy ever put into landfill is still there.

I acknowledge that reusables are not a perfect solution.  Sceptics highlight increased household emissions as a result of the frequent high temperature washing and tumble drying required, claiming an equivalent detriment to the environment as using disposables.  However, I’ve found washing at 40º (not 60º) to be sufficient – no rashes, stinks or staining – and do not tumble dry.  This helps keep our household carbon footprint under control.

I’m convinced that I’m doing the right thing for my planet and my family.  The initial outlay for cloth nappies can seem hefty but the second hand market is alive on Facebook and I’ve bought very little that is new; I’m definitely saving money compared to the discounters own brand disposables I liked for my oldest and I’m reducing packaging waste by buying second hand.  I’m washing my nappies as ethically as I can: full loads, low temperatures and air drying.  I’m making steps towards a zero waste lifestyle by questioning social norms.

Please consider giving cloth nappies a go.  There’s a lot to consider but a good place to start in the UK is ‘Go Real!’

http://goreal.org.uk/

#notanad

 

 

 

Convenience is a curse.

img_20161024_162133Here I am.  A mummy and a wife.  Nothing remarkable about that.  But my husband calls me hippy and my dad has labelled me a ‘good-lifer’. If you have the pleasure of being old enough to remember the sitcom then you’ll see where I’m headed already.  If not you should watch it; who doesn’t love Richard Briers? I digress…

When I started carrying my oldest babe full time and abandoned the pram I did so out of practicality (we have a Rottweiler to exercise) but my husband took a bit of convincing.  Once he realised we didn’t have to wait for lifts anymore, could sneak through gaps in crowds and more easily avoid those maddening people who stop dead in the street, it cut down on his city centre pedestrian rage and he was firmly on board.  Even so, this is how the ‘hippy’ label started.

The nickname has evolved to include using cloth nappies and wipes, getting really upset about ridiculous packaging, ditching shampoo, refusing to buy new, coffee cup guilt and eating a lot less meat (surprisingly husband’s idea!) What started as a desire to be frugal led to wider ethical considerations; convenience-led living is damaging our planet.  Convenience was making me unhappy and it took me a long time to realise it. Convenience as we know it is very, very bad.

I know I sound mad: convenience is good right?  The word implies a swift and happy experience.  But if you’re someone who imagines a swift and happy ‘convenient’ burger drive-through experience and is left reeling because you can’t help but consider the ridiculous packaging waste and excessive gas emissions produced by the mass rearing of cattle you’re in the right place.

And this is where I started.  What should we do differently to protect the planet from harm? And can less convenient living also cost less?

 

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