Carolyn Voisey's avatar

by Carolyn Voisey

For most people, seeing That episode of Blue Planet 2 was probably the first time they’d actually been confronted by the massive issue of plastic waste. 

My brother and I are both qualified scuba divers so we’ve seen first-hand what an impact this has –

and I’ve always been laughed at by Him Indoors as being, and I quote, some eco-warrior hippy-come-rock-chick type!

And I will admit it, proudly; I value this beautiful planet that we call home. 

Over the past few years I’ve done my best to find ways of trying to reduce our rubbish mountain, and I was quite pleased about how much we’ve reduced our use of plastics.

But is it actually feasible/possible to make a significant impact, when you have a doubly-incontinent, tube fed child to care for?

I give you the immense (and pungent) mountain of nappy waste we (well, Sam) generate in a week. It is quite impressive.

And the majority of the material the nappies are made from are non-recyclable, non-biodegradable. I shudder to think of the landfill.

Cloth nappies, while better in terms of bulk waste aren’t actually that much more eco-friendly, once you’ve factored in the electricity used to wash and tumble dry them, and the washing powder you use to get them clean again.

Sam’s feeding equipment is all single-use plastics; although we do recycle/reuse syringes (purely because the NHS can’t afford to supply all patients single use syringes for all their medication and feed needs).

I have been known to repurpose used flexitainers (the container used to hold Sam’s formula feed while it goes through the pump) into water bladders to set up an irrigation system in our greenhouse, but that is about as far as recycling those can get.

Having said all that, there are a lot of little ways in which we can and do reduce our plastic usage chez Voisey; Sam has a blended diet for 3 meals a day with his formula acting as a ‘snack’.

Buying fruit and veg loose, not wrapped in plastic wrap or bags makes a considerable difference to how much plastic passes through our kitchen.

As old plastic clothes pegs snap (or are chewed by the dog), we replace them with old fashioned wooden dolly pegs.

Instead of using baby wash and shampoo in bottles, soap and shampoo bars are a fabulous alternative (and so much easier to use too). 

If everyone made a few small changes, we would make a big difference. Anyone fancy the challenge?

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