Zero Waste and Healthy Living With Kids
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Kids are the most precious gift we have and no one will argue that a mother can turn into a furious beast when her kids are in danger (heavy stuff like accident, child abuse and such). But we often don't realize that our children are bombarded with other sort of danger, one that is not easily proven but nevertheless means a heavy burden for a young organism. Think of all the chemicals, fillers, artificial colorings, BPAs and BPS in feeding bottles. In this article, I am going to give you some valuable tips how to keep your kids and our planet healthy.
Tips How to Keep Your Kids and Planet Healthy and Happy
1. Use reusable diapers: Conventional disposable diapers are bleached white with chlorine, resulting in a byproduct called dioxins, listed as highly carcinogenic chemicals. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to dioxins may cause skin reactions and altered liver function, as well as impairments to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system and reproductive functions. Other chemicals, such as Sodium Polyacrylate (a super absorbent chemical compound, linked to skin irritations and respiratory problems), Tributyl-tin (TBT - toxic pollutant extremely harmful to aquatic life and an endocrine disruptor), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene (can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, damage to the liver, kidney and central nervous system), dyes, fragrances, plastics and petrolatums are all wreaking havoc on our children's health. [source] That is why I strongly advise against using conventional disposable diapers and turn to reusable cloth diapers. You may think the initial investment high but in the long run, it is worth.
2. Choose glass or BPA and BPS free baby bottles: Choose baby bottles without BPA and BPS. We all have heard about the toxicity of BPA as an endocrine disruptor but the new kid on the block, BPS, seems to be even more harmful. Bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS) are chemical cousins that are commonly found in plastics, food and beverage can linings, and other consumer products such as children's toys. BPA is known to mimic estrogen and, in animal studies, researchers have linked developmental exposure to it to reproductive harm, increased cancer susceptibility, and abnormalities in brain development and fat metabolism. BPA is found in polycarbonate plastic (recycling number 7). Most canned foods and beverages and metal jar lids have BPA-based linings, unless the company has indicated otherwise, and are thought to be a major source of current BPA exposure. BPS is found in some thermal paper cash register receipts and appears to have similar health risks as BPA. [source] Shop for BPA - free products (which will be labeled as such) or avoid plastic altogether and teach your child to drink from a glass as soon as possible. There are also glass baby bottles on the market.
What I use: Glass bottle Lifefactory
3. Healthier baby pouches: We all applauded the brilliant idea of baby pouches, especially when you have a screaming child in the backseat and you just want it to be quiet (or in the supermarket, or when you pick up your older kids). However, pouches may not be as healthy as thought. First of all, children are not challenged to chew and swallow which helps with speech and secondly, they get used to the sweet flavor (often the main ingredient in baby pouches are sweet fruits like apples or pears). Not to mention that many pouches contain fruit juice which can lead to tooth decay. Also, they are not recyclable. Therefore, I recommend buying reusable pouches and filling them with homemade purees.
What I use: Reusable pouches for babies and toddlers
Ice pop molds and snack container in one
4. Reusable straws: Using plastic straws is now as cool as smoking, meaning, you are totally out if you're sipping your smoothie with a plastic straw. And we want our kids to be cool, right? Well it's not only about being cool, it's about reducing and reusing. That is why I love using stainless steel or bamboo straws. Stainless steel straws
5. Reusable drinking bottles: The same as above. Do you still drink from a plastic bottle? There are so many options on the market in every color in design, that it is a pity to waste our planet with more plastic. Plus, the plastic leaches into the water you drink. Find sustainable options here: Stainless steel bottles, and this one.
6. Choosing sustainable and chemicals free fashion: When you shop for kid's clothes you often look only at the brand and size and some of us check the material as well. But did you know there could be much more hidden in your child's pyjama? For example flame retardants, chemicals that are added or applied to materials in order to slow or prevent the start/growth of fire. Flame retardants have been used in many consumer and industrial products since the 1970s and although many have been removed from the market or are no longer produced, they do not easily break down and can bioaccumulate, or build up in people and animals over time. Children may be particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of these chemicals, because their brain and other organs are still developing. [source]
Natural fibers such as wool and cotton are often sprayed with herbicides and pesticides (unless they're organic), dyed, and treated in many different ways (exposing children's skin to formaldehyde, phthalates or metals). That is why I chose always organic for my kids and shop from these companies: Disana, Manymonths, Duns.
Do you have some other reusable and/or sustainable options you use with your babies and kids? Let me know in the comments!
Liked this article? Check out my video on 15 savvy alternatives to plastic