I raise my own little plastic-free family on a budget. On a small, single-parent income family budget! So I got to thinking that I could probably suggest some good ways to make plastic-free living a reality without breaking the bank, which could be of use to you and your family.
I have to constantly balance my ethics with my bank balance, so I have a couple of tips that I hope will help you to reduce your plastics footprint, without being unaffordable and unreachable.
I want to avoid as many types and varieties of plastics as possible, because we can't guarantee that any plastics, and the chemicals that they leach, are safe for our children.
So, plastic reduction is a must to me, so I regularly look to alternatives and hacks to support my personal war on plastics!
Top tips for raising a plastic-free family on a budget
1) Frugal, zero-waste living - Going plastic-free has made me quite thrifty! And this thriftiness will go with me no matter how much money I have in future years, I'm sure of it. A key part of this is reusing key products, rather than buying disposable equivalents, which more often than not contain or completely made from plastic. Raising a family can come with a lot of waste, and a lot of plastic waste, so reusable are essential and ultimately work out a great deal cheaper, than disposable (plastic laden) alternatives.
When I was breastfeeding, I couldn't be without reusable breast pads, for instance - depending on your flow, you can get through so many of them a day, especially in the early days of feeding. They are a must! I had some shop-bought plastic-free breast pads and I also made some of my own using cotton on my sewing machine to bolster my supply!
2) Budget permitting splurges! - If you make savings by using reusables instead of plastic-laden disposables, then you might save a small amount to justify a splurge on certain plastic-free baby and family products. My personal splurges are glass bottled milk from the milkman, and some key products which we use every day...
Our stainless steel water bottle is potentially more expensive than plastic equivalents, but it's been used everywhere from my hospital bag giving birth to my son, through to his changing bag (when you're feeding and NEEEED a drink!) and to now, is being used by my 3 year old son at nursery. Put that together with the reassurance that every mouthful doesn't contain micro plastics and unknown potentially toxic chemicals, then, well... it's a total bargain.
I was also really keen to give my son some key toys which are really hard to find plastic alternatives for, and bought him the natural rubber dinosaurs and plastic-free farmyard animals. These little plastic-free creatures have been everywhere with him since he was under 1 years old onwards, and have all the best qualities of plastic (wipeable, light, durable) as well as being ultimately biodegradable, and completely non-toxic and safe for him, particularly in those mouthing days when he was tiny when everything was explored with his mouth. I would really recommend that when you find a plastic-free alternative which is really hard to come by, even if it is slightly more pricey than it's plastic version, then just go for it - you'll kick yourself if you don't!
3) Find your go-to places for plastic-free alternatives - You'll begin to find your favourite places to shop with, that give you good value for money, high-quality products, and good customer service. Hopefully Plastic Free Baby will be this place for some of you!! I have spent a lot of time looking for alternatives myself, and I hope that I've curated some of the best for you, to save time and therefore money too. There are a good amount of plastic free shops now, and almost all are independents, so they are worth supporting if you find a really great product. Look for good offers and deals, too!
If you sign up to the Plastic Free Baby newsletter (on the homepage), I'll send regular offers and deals. These are a great way to save money.
Have you got any plastic-free living tips when on a budget?
Thanks for reading,