Guest Blogger: Bryony Lewis, Founder of T & Belle.
THE ECO-FRIENDLY MUM – DOING IT FOR THE KIDS!
The sea has been part of my life in a huge way, I’ve been lucky enough to live close
to the beach for as long as I can remember. I’ve played in it, swam in it, dived in it,
sailed on it and sometimes just sat and watched the rhythmic crashing of the waves.
I watched the BBC’s ‘Drowning in Plastic’ documentary, I read articles, watched
videos and I really started to notice all the plastic packaging on our everyday
essentials and how much we were throwing away. It made me pretty sad. I promised
to do better, to do my bit, but then life happened, motherhood happened, and
motherhood is HARD!
At the beginning of 2019, as I was coming out of the haze of the first 6 months with a
I decided that instead of giving up chocolate or vowing to take up running
(I suspect neither of these would have lasted the first month), instead I would try to
reduce my plastic consumption. My aim is to make gradual changes in the hope that
this becomes a new way of life and not a short lived fad.
I wanted to start blogging to chart the ups and downs of our plastic reduction journey
with a baby and a toddler and to show that even if you are scatterbrained and
disorganised, you can change small simple things and still make a BIG difference.
There are lots of ways to reduce plastic use for your family in a way that doesn’t
impact the already huge mental load of being a parent (and actually can sometimes make life easier and save money – woohoo!).
Here are a few ways that I’ve reduced single use plastic in our house so far:
I loved the convenience of baby wipes, once I would use them for pretty much
anything. Even if you’re not sure about switching for nappy changes, even just using
flannels for food cleanup at home will save a huge amount of waste.
With two sticky
children and countless sticky surfaces to wipe, I found that using small light flannels
actually made life easier. They remove food much faster than wipes (who ever heard
of a child who wanted their face wiped) and as long as I clean kids then highchair
then floor, I can use the same cloth and chuck it straight in the washing machine to
go round with the next load.
Makeup Remover Wipes
Yes, more wipes! These were a staple in my bathroom for many years, and pretty
much my only beauty regime in the early months of motherhood with both children
(let’s face it, who has time for cleanse/tone/moisturise with a screaming newborn that
won’t be put down). A couple of months ago I swapped these for makeup remover
gel and lovely soft washable makeup remover cloths and I’d never go back now, the
cloths are so much more gentle on my skin and remove all my eyeliner and mascara
Reusable shopping bags
This one is a no brainer right? Well as long as your brain is functioning enough to
remember the bags! I’ve taken to stuffing the side pockets of my changing bag with
lightweight fabric tote bags which works about 95% of the time and means that I
usually have a bag for impromptu shopping as well.
This is where the vast majority of the plastic waste in our house comes from, we are
using our local grocer and butcher more, as well as trying to find time to bake or
cook from scratch (I’ve found that involving my toddler in cake baking actually turns it
into an entertainment activity, which is quite handy). I’m also starting to avoid things
like individually wrapped biscuits or multi-packs of tins which are wrapped in
completely pointless plastic. If I have leftovers to go into the fridge or freezer, I pop
them in a reusable pot, or use a washed out butter/margarine tub (I haven’t found a
good plastic free replacement for this yet). I’ve bought a lunchbox with little
compartments so that we don’t need to use cling film.
It has been hard to get into this new mindset, especially when I sometimes just don’t
have the time or energy to search around for plastic free alternatives, but
supermarkets are starting to listen to the public and are slowly beginning to
implement plastic reduction strategies, so I’m hopeful that it will soon get easier to
make the eco-friendly choice.
This is one of my favourites, as it helps reduce waste and can also save you huge
amounts of money. From jumperoos to Lego, we now buy all sorts of items through
Facebook marketplace and Gumtree rather than buying new. When we are finished
with them, they are often sold on again or passed on to friends with younger
The added bonus of this is that you can buy things pre-assembled, and thus avoid
trying to put them together as soon as they have been opened whilst listening to
screams of ‘but I want to play with it now’ directed at you repeatedly as you try to find
the correct sized screwdriver.
This has been a huge concern of mine for years, whilst I love gifting and really enjoy
searching for presents for people I know well, I have definitely been guilty of buying
gifts in a rush, or for someone I don’t know well that are probably hugely wasteful
and are contributing to the accumulation of ‘stuff’ in someone else’s house! My go to
gifts for children are now books (because no-one can ever have too many!), clothes
and experiences like days out, cinema tickets or annual passes. I often go for
experiences, treats and days out for adult gifts too. If I want to buy a physical
present, I am trying to shop small and buy from eco-friendly sustainable companies.
Next Steps… On my hit list for the next few months are: beeswax wraps, cloth
nappies (for some reason this terrifies me!) and sanitary products (I’m lucky enough
to still be period free at the moment thanks to breastfeeding my 9 month old, but I
plan on trying mooncups). I’ll be blogging my experiences with as much honesty as
When I started my company, T & Belle, my biggest focus was on how I could bring
my designs to life whilst trying to make as little impact on the planet as possible.
I searched for a printer for my greetings cards who would use 100% recycled card,
sourced plastic free packaging materials and made easy swaps like replacing
sellotape with paper tape. I have recently started producing my own designs on
organic cotton children’s t-shirts and my first design is a reminder of why I am doing
all this – to preserve our beautiful planet for the next generation.
I’d love for my children to enjoy everything that the sea has to offer as much as I have over the