In October 2017, I attended a Mindr Brains and Babies event on the subject of corporate sustainability. During the question and answer session at the end, one of the mums asked the question “what can we, as parents, do to lessen our environmental impact?” This got me thinking. Babies need a lot of stuff, the vast majority of which has a short shelf life – as wipes and nappies are often disposable and clothes and toys are quickly grown out of. Add to that the fact that they will then become consumers in their own right, and having children quickly appears to be anything but a sustainable choice.
For as long as I can remember, I have been aware of the 3 R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I like to think I’m pretty good at the last one, although kerbside council collections of recyclables and reduced frequency of landfill collections have made it harder and harder not to be. If you are anything like me, you may have used recycling as the focus of your sustainability efforts – or even as an excuse for habits which are anything but sustainable. “I forgot my water bottle today – oh well, it doesn’t matter if I buy another plastic one as I’ll recycle it when I’m finished.” “I’ll get a coffee to go – takeaway cups are made of cardboard after all, and that can be recycled”. However, it’s only been recently that it has occurred to me that recycling comes last in the triad for a reason. Therefore, I decided that to make any kind of impact, I would need to focus more on reducing and reusing.
In my corner of South London, I am lucky to be surrounded by a network of like-minded mums, and social media has brought us together in a number of Facebook groups. Through these groups I have been able to obtain many of Eleanor’s toys and clothes second hand. Beyond the obvious financial benefit, this also extends the lifespan of these items, keeping them out of landfill, and removes the need to purchase them new with the associated environmental costs. I have seen pretty much everything that you would ever need for a baby or child advertised on these sites. From this, the idea for the Sustainable Mummy was born.
What if I could go a whole year without buying anything new? No clothes, no toys, no books, no gadgets… Nothing. This could be a great way to reduce costs as a stay at home mum and lessen the impact my family was having on our planet. I could also use this new focus as a way to explore other ways to live a greener lifestyle, some of which could hopefully become permanent changes to our daily routine.
Hopefully, by starting this blog those of a similar mindset can feel encouraged to look at how they can make a small difference to the future of the planet by adopting some of these ideas. I’d love to hear from you all in the comments, particularly if you have any suggestions on green living to share!
Thanks for reading,
The Sustainable Mummy 😘