We all know by now the trouble plastic is having on our planet and the effects our throw away culture are having on the environment and wildlife. As the fight against plastic continues all around the world, more and more people are starting to make important switches from plastic to more eco alternatives. This is music to our ears, as from the very beginning of Natural Baby Shower 13 years ago, we made it our mission to provide parents with planet friendly products that help make it easy for everyone to bring up children in a planet friendly way.
We understand it can be hard to know where to start and it can sometimes feel like plastic is just everywhere on the market. But we are constantly going on the hunt for new and exciting brands or products that help make parenting that little bit easier, but that also have minimal impact on our special planet. So we want to share with you some of our favourite plastic alternative materials that can kick start your plastic free parenting journey with ease. Keep reading to discover our favourite eco-friendly alternative materials to plastic that we love.
Silicone is often the top choice as a plastic substitute thanks to it’s flexible, durable and extremely versatile nature. Silicone is a human-made polymer made from sand, oxygen and other elements such as carbon, making it more sustainable to produce than plastic. Silicone can withstand both high and low temperatures better than plastic and it doesn’t degrade into small pieces, which make it more planet friendly. It’s also toxin free making it safer for your family as well as the environment, plus, when burned it doesn’t release any toxins in the air. Silicone’s properties make it a great long-term reusable product that you and your family can use for years to come with very little wear and tear, we love it! As a result, silicone is a popular choice for food containers, teethers and bibs.
GoSili are all about the silicone, their whole range of feeding and drinking essentials are made from silicone. All their products are long lasting, easy to clean (yes they can go in the dishwasher), and designed with little ones in mind.
It is important to note here that we are talking about natural rubber, not synthetic rubber. Natural rubber is naturally made from a runny, milky white liquid called latex that is found in certain plants. Over 200 plants in the world can produce this latex, but the most productive are the Hevea rubber trees. Since it comes from a completely natural source, natural rubber has no toxic chemicals in it and is environmentally friendly by having minimal impact on the environment during harvesting, manufacturing and recycling. Plus, the cherry on top, is that natural rubber biodegrades on it’s own with no environmental damage.
The material is perfect as a plastic alternative in teethers, pacifiers and toys as it is soft, flexible and extremely sustainable to produce, plus it easy to wash and care for. One of our favourite brands, Hevea, are the heroes of natural rubber, making all of their products from the natural latex found in the Hevea trees. Their sustainable approach sees them utilising rubber to create its range of infants’ goods, from pacifiers to bath toys.
Stainless steel has quickly become a popular alternative to plastics. Longer lasting, more durable, and free of the many toxic chemicals present in plastic products, stainless steel is one of the most environmentally efficient raw materials available because of its durability and ability to be recycled. Stainless steel is very popular when producing products that are used almost daily such as water bottles, straws and food containers thanks to it extremely durable nature that means it can last decades, plus the material has great temperature regulating properties making it great for storing food. Stainless steel is a remarkable material and a great alternative to plastic which is widely recycled.
Liewood have a beautiful range of stainless steel feeding and drinking essentials all made from stainless steel. Their durable stainless steel water bottles are perfect for the whole family to use, created to be long-lasting, easily washable and keep fluids at just the right temperature for hours.
Bamboo is actually a grass that grows prolifically in tropical and humid climates. It is an extremely sustainable and renewable material, as it is harvested, it can be replanted and grown again. Many species of Bamboo grown in the right conditions can reach maturity in 3 to 5 years, far faster than most trees which can take years or even decades. That’s not all, it is also fully biodegradable and compostable, need we say anymore? But can it be a good replacement to plastic? Absolutely! It’s properties make it the perfect substitute for plastic. It is extremely tough meaning it won’t break and can go with the inevitable knocks of family life, it is durable so will last a very long time and it is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, ideal for use with children.
Plus, we’re also starting to see increasing amounts of textiles used for clothes being sourced from Bamboo fibres. Reducing the use of petroleum-based synthetics often blended with cotton which typically requires more water and energy than Bamboo. MORI use a mix of organic cotton and Bamboo fibres in all of their clothes to create their signature super soft fabric.
We always choose wooden toys over plastic ones. Not only are they really timeless and stylish, they also last much longer and don't break as easy. Not only do wooden toys look gorgeous compared to those brightly coloured flashing plastic toys, they are also much better for the environment. Do a little research and choose wooden toys that are made from natural and sustainable wood that has FSC approval. In a nutshell, this means that the wood used to make the final product is approved by the certification system to show that it is made with materials from well-managed forests and/or recycled sources. Meaning you can buy wooden products with confidence, knowing that they are all produced using correctly sourced materials without damaging our forests.
Looking out for any of these materials when shopping for your family essentials will mean you are moving away from plastic and choosing more planet friendly alternatives. Making these swaps will help towards protecting our planet and make the world a little greener for our children to grow up in.