Carly Glendinning, mum-to-be and Editor of Absolutely Mama, shares ideas on how parents can minimise their environmental footprint
I was quite lucky to be brought up in a family that was aware of sustainability, which was unusual for the ‘80s. I grew up not eating meat (despite the fact that vegetarianism was seen as pretty weird at the time) and my parents have recycled for as long as I can remember. Trying to make sustainable choices, where possible, has just always been the norm for me.
Living sustainably isn’t always easy and I’m definitely not perfect. My husband and I eat mostly plant-based organic food, we don’t own a car, and I try my best to make conscious choices when I’m shopping for clothes and beauty products. During the first lockdown I vowed not to buy any new clothes. I managed six months, but since we found out that I’m expecting I’ve had to invest in a few basics to accommodate my burgeoning bump. I’ve been shopping with eco-conscious brands such as Isabella Oliver and have been looking for pieces that I’ll be able to wear post-bump.
Our daughter is due in early April and we definitely feel that it’s our responsibility to make sustainable choices as we become parents. We watched David Attenborough’s new film, A Life On Our Planet, on Netflix recently and I started to really panic about the sort of state we’ll be leaving the Earth in for future generations.
So, here are five ways I’m preparing for the arrival of our baby with sustainability in mind…
- As the editor of Absolutely Mama magazine, I spend a lot of time searching for new children’s clothing brands to feature and I always like to support independents as much as possible. Many of the smaller brands are more conscious about their social and environmental footprint now. I’ve only just started collecting a few pieces for our baby and so far I’ve shopped with Brighton-based brand Organic Zoo, Konges Sløjd and on the high street I’ve bought some organic cotton baby bodies from ARKET.
- I would love to have everything new for our baby, but there are certain items that I know she’ll only use for a few months. My sister gave birth to a baby girl last year and luckily we have very similar taste. She is planning to lend me her Charlie Crane Levo Rocker, Liewood Activity Arch, and Liewood Baby Nest (she’s also saved lots of my niece’s little outfits). It seems irresponsible for me to buy things like this new when I can borrow them and then pass them back to her for her next little one.
- Where I can’t borrow from my sister, I’m looking for eco-friendly options. Most people just think about organic clothing, bedding and bathtime products, but you can make greener choices when it comes to other equipment too now.
I’ve chosen the Jamie Eco in black from Jem + Bea (pictured) because it’s made using regenerated nylon – created from disused fishing nets and ‘ghost nets’ lost at sea.
We’ll also be looking at nursery furniture that can extend as our daughter grows so it has a longer lifecycle.
- My husband eats meat, but at home he eats mostly plant-based with me because it’s easier. We’d always wondered what we’d do when it came to raising our family, but recently it’s become more apparent that one of the most effective things we can do to stop climate change is to eat less meat. Keeping this in mind, we’re planning to raise our daughter how I was raised. My family ate veggie at home, but from a very early age I knew I could choose if I wanted to eat meat when we were out, or I was at school – my parents never put any pressure on me. I have a great book called Little Veggie Eats by Rachel Boyett for meal inspiration when our daughter starts weaning.
- I’ve read that newborn babies use 320 nappies in a month! This is absolutely terrifying to me. We’re planning to sign up to Kit and Kin’s subscription service. Their nappies are made from chlorine-free fluff pulp harvested from sustainably managed forests and the front panels, tapes, anti-leak barriers and packaging are all made from an oxo-biodegradable material. Having a baby definitely throws up challenges when it comes to living sustainably, but we plan to make as many mindful choices as we can.