Home Economics – Planet-friendly Foods, Cleaning Products and Plastic
Food for Thought
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is working with schools to help change understanding about the impact on the environment of the food we are eating. Take a look at their Plant to Plate Campaign at wwf.org.uk to see the work done by them within 2,000 Primary Schools. Go to their Livewell Campaign to see their recommended menu – it is world sustainable but is also healthy eating for our children!
The WWF says: “What we eat not only affects our own health, but also the environment. Food is at the heart of many environmental issues – it’s a significant contributor to climate change and responsible for almost 60% of global biodiversity loss.
Our food system relies on nature but the rise of our Western diet – high in meat, dairy and ultra-processed food – is inefficient and resource intensive. Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and huge inputs of water and feed.
Today, one of the biggest causes of forest loss is the expansion of agricultural land for animal feed production, such as soy. And producing meat creates vastly more carbon dioxide than plants such as vegetables, grains and legumes.
Whilst we're over-consuming high-impact food, the planet’s resources remain finite and the impacts are felt on land, water and our oceans.”
Try to add more non-meat proteins such as beans, tofu and quinoa to your Nursery menus. Have some meat-free days – it’s surprisingly easy to think of great alternative and balanced menus that children will enjoy.
At www.theplanetmark.com they explain what constitutes a sustainable menu - one that is high in energy and low on high-impact foods.
Use flannels for face/hand-wiping instead of wipes and keep them in labelled bags, one for each child. You can wash them, and the children will know where to find them.
In the Kitchen
Clingfilm is not recyclable, although the cardboard box it comes in is, and so it often advertises as if it might be recycled. However, if you read the label closely you will find that it is not.
Instead, use Beeswax wrappers, old Tupperware with lids, or just cover bowls and casseroles with plates or clean tea cloths.
Waste not Want Less
Challenge your teams to cut back waste by only buying in things you need and not packaging you don’t, and by up-cycling – inventing new uses for items you may have previously disposed of. Reinvent them instead, perhaps be creative with loose play and design technology. Remember: upcycling is more efficient than recycling.
Finally, when an item really has had all the ‘wear’ it can take, explore
www.terracycle.com which offers an amazing way to recycle the non-recyclable. Set up as a recycling hub even for plastic toothbrushes and razors, as you collect they donate to charity.
Try using no bin bags at all and simply put old newspapers in the bottom of a bin which you can rinse when necessary.
Cleaning the Nursery and Elbow Grease
Did you know soap bars can be bought only wrapped in paper?
We called our Councils and Environmental Health and they said:
YES we can use soap bars in our children’s toilets;
YES we can use soap bars in our kitchens when we prepare food.
A recent highly innovative product is Biovation which passes all COSSH and BS EN because it uses natural helpful bacteria that rapidly eat the potentially harmful waste is available on Consortium. Or visit their website at www.try-biovation.co.uk
Other biodegradable cleaning products that are: Ecover - Their products are made from 100% natural ingredients, and they make large bag-in-a-box refills which cut down on recycling too! You can find them in many supermarkets, and in most health food shops, who may also use the refilling system so you can take your bottles back. Also, if you go to www.biggreensmile.com, you can purchase the big refills directly.
In all toilets: for drying hands, try using flannels which can be put into a laundry basket after use.
After lunch: clean hands and faces with flannels, keeping a separate flannel bag or tray for each child.
Washing Machines and Dryers
Washing can be done using Guppyfriend, a bag to hold everything which stops microwaste (often plastic) getting into water systems, rivers and seas.
Ecoegg, which uses natural mineral based washing, can replace powder or liquid, and does 720 washes. It can last a family 3 years, and then it’s refillable too! It won the Queen’s award for Enterprise for Innovation and it’s supported by Allergy UK and the National Eczema Society.
Lakeland stock both, and supermarkets are starting to.
Did you know there are seven recycle grades for plastic, but only the first two grades are commonly recycled, even if you put others in your Recycle Bin. So it’s always best to buy things plastic free. Find out what your waste supplier does too.
Here are three websites which will inspire and motivate us all:
An amazing clean-up job set up in 2017 by surfers who saw sea animals suffering and dying in the big seas thanks to plastic. 4Ocean now fish rubbish from the sea by hand and turn plastic and glass into beautiful beaded bracelets which they sell to finance their clean-up organisation. The beautiful, cool bracelets would make excellent awards for staff who achieve great sustainability in Nurseries.
The simple truth, the facts made plain and easy ways to make a difference.
You can donate here too!
If you click on “Reuse” you can download a clear book which will help your Nurseries reuse their plastic stock.
But NB: it is absolutely essential to keep the plastic you already may have –
for example, plates, beakers and cutlery – if the alternative is binning it! Maybe reuse it as paint pots and mixer plates.
However, Hygge and Eco fashion trends are back to using china and glass again, as well as bamboo, all of which is great news. Children get much more sense of the fragility of materials if they get to use them.