Plastic is a hot topic at the moment and one that we cannot ignore. As parents we are bringing new lives into the world and also adding more plastic into landfill at an horrific rate.
There are so many easy things we can do to limit the amount of single use plastics and general waste that we create as parents. We can recycle more, reuse more and generally think about how the products we buy are packaged and what they are made from before buying.
One area that is very close to my heart is baby food pouches. I really struggle with the waste involved in these colourful little packages that babies, toddlers and even big kids love so much. I was a pouch user, not so much for weaning but for healthy little fruity squeezy snacks when my first child was a fussy toddler.
I didn’t consider the waste at first. I used it and threw it away 3 minutes later. It was only when I had my second baby that the reality of the pouch waste issue really hit. At that point there was only Ella’s kitchen selling them but brand upon brand has since opted for pouches as their primary baby food and squeezy snack packaging.
To give Ella’s Kitchen credit, they teamed up with Terracycle in 2014 and launched a pouch recycling scheme. This involves volunteers setting up collection points for parents to drop off their empty pouches. The volunteers at the collection point then pack up a bulk load of pouches and send off to the Terracycle warehouses where they are inspected and processed. 2p for every pouch collected can also be donated to a charity of the collection points choice.
Since the scheme started over 2 million pouches have been collected and recycled by Terracycle. This may sound like quite a lot but in a recent article for The Times Newspaper Ella’s Kitchen admitted that this was less than 1% of the pouches that they had produced in this time. So that’s 198 million Ella’s Kitchen pouches that have gone to landfill since 2014 not accounting for the amount of pouches from other brands such as Annabel Karmel, Hipp, Sainbury’s, Mamia, Lidl, Heinz, Petit Filous and all the rest! It is a staggering amount.
If you are using pouches for your baby, toddler or kids please take a look at the Ella Cycle Map to see where you could drop off. Here are the public collection points closest to Cheltenham but ask around your friends as there are often other collectors. If you have no one local, consider setting up a collection point yourself or ask if you can use a local shop, group or hall as a collection point. They send you a free box to use and full instructions.
- The Hive,Sports Direct Fitness Gym, GL51 0SJ – weekdays 9am-4pm
- 1 Timbercombe Mews, GL53 8EL, leave on doorstep any time
- 7 Hambrook Street, GL52 6LW, leave on doorstep any time
- 211 Brooklyn Road, GL51 8DZ, collection box in porch any time
- Gloucestershire Bundles, Telford Way Unit 3, Oakhill Court, Quedgeley, GL2 2GA Mon, Thur & Fri 9.30am-12pm
- The Greenshop, Calf Way, Bisley, Stroud GL6 7BX, mon – Sat 9am-6pm
If you want to do a little bit more to help save waste, here are the simplest things that you can do:
- Buy fruit and veg without plastic bags
- Take out a reusable bag when shopping
- Use reusable coffee cups
- Take reusable water bottles out with you
- Try reusable pouches instead of shop bought options
- Use beeswax wraps, fabric wraps or reusable sandwich bags and snack bags instead of single-use bags, cling film and tin foil
- Make your own foods rather than buying ready meals
- Recycle as much as you possibly can, our new kerbside recycling service now takes a massive amount of plastics – if you’re not sure what, check out your local authority advice. For Cheltenham you can find this here and for local recycling points click here
If you continue to use the shop bought versions, Please consider the environment and collect up all of your empties so you can drop off at a collection point near to you. It really is our responsibility to help keep our planet clean for our little ones to enjoy.
A Guest Blog from Suzanne Moore
Suzanne is a member of the Cheltenham MumBoss Club and mum of two and founder of Nom Nom Kids, reusable pouches and snack bags available nationwide. Suzanne will be exhibiting at both Planet Friendly Parenting and Maman Goes Pop! and you will be able to recycle your used food pouches at both events so why not pop along and say hi.