The UK produces a whopping 5.2 million tonnes of plastic each year and to this the Nursery sector contributes a great deal. Kids Allowed reported they had changed their practice to take out unnecessary plastic waste, after an audit showed they disposed of 73,000 aprons, 209,000 nappies and a staggering 461,000 gloves in 2017. This staggering amount is not at all unusual and here’s what Nurseries and Parents can do to address this…
Have a look at www.thenappyalliance.co.uk they have clearly broken down what we need to do in order to move into real nappies-and save not just landfill and pollution, but also vastly on electricity, water and plastic.
Real nappies use a flushable liner - you can either :-
Do it all yourselves. Flush Childrens soiling in the toilet, or send it to biofuel disposal in the liner. Then wash soiled cloth nappies in the machine with sanitiser. Use a nappy liner. Give parents information and also allow them to opt out but if they do tell them they must provide disposables and collect them at the end of the day!
Wash with a laundry service. You must store them between collections and it may be hard to find a service outside of London at the,moment.
Try a Parent Led approach whereby a small group of parents borrow and try the nappies for a few weeks first and then buy their own, You would then ask Parents to wash them at home.
· Disposable nappies go into landfill, and they stay on the planet for ever or as good as. Biodegradable nappies take several years to biodegrade. Sending your nursery nappies to become fuel or Biofuel is another solution, although the waste processing products still worry us and need investigating with the supplier. You can try www.greenbottoms.co.uk or www.phs.co.uk.
· However, nothing surpasses the cloth nappy, if you can get the logistics right, staff on board, and parents to try it. Bright Bots Terry Squares ‘are just the right thickness, and can be folded in a multitude of ways, and fastened with traditional pins. A good website for parents to look at is www.thenappylady.co.uk, which has great instructive videos on fitting and cleaning cloth nappies.
· Another good choice is to use Little Lamb (bamboo) nappies, as bamboo is easily grown and compared to disposable nappies these contain minimal plastic. Little Lamb claim: “Once a full kit of nappies and wraps have reached the end of their life the 'plastic' components (Velcro and snaps) are only equivalent to a 1 litre milk carton in weight!”
Aprons with Green Strings Attached
· Wipe clean aprons last and last. They can be cleaned with friendly antibacterial wipes or antibacterial dampened cloths.
· 100% biodegradable single-use aprons and gloves can be found at www.gvhealth.com. GV supplies a lot to the NHS and says it “has taken important steps to reduce the amount of virgin polythene and significantly increase the amount of recycled material across its complete range of healthcare disposables.”
Gloves are off to Fight Plastic
· We have found that the best prevention of cross-contamination is the washing of hands using an Earth-friendly antibacterial soap bar, but there are also antibacterial natural wipes, see below. (Although where there is blood or a particularly messy nappy gloves should be worn.)
Swipe away Wipes
· Did you know many parents believed wipes were flushable, and may have felt misled by packaging? The consequences of this are that rivers are strewn with wipes that will never go away unless we physically remove them from the water! In parts of the Thames in London, it has been reported that there are as many as 200 wipes every meter. They clump together, forming filthy reefs and change the shape of the river.
· What to do: if you have to use a wipe, choose bamboo, biodegradable, natural and planet friendly wipes, such as from www.beamingbaby.co.uk. Natural, biodegradable, antibacterial wipes are available from www.ecover.com or www.biggreensmile.com
NB! Even if we don’t use plastic in our Nurseries, what do Mum or Dad do at home? Why not ask them and see if they’ll consider switching?