This guest blog post was written by Tamla Verban from Bubakin Babes.
Someone once asked me why it was that I was passionate about cloth nappies. First and foremost I hate waste. And when it comes to babies there is a lot of it and not the nicest type either. It wasn’t a hard decision for us, it saved us a lot of money long term, and it definitely felt a whole lot better than a bin full of stinking, chemical filled disposables.
It could have been that the absorption gels they use aren’t legalised in women’s sanitary products or it could have been also that it takes this absolute mountain of nappies 500 YEARS TO BREAK DOWN.
We have a serious problem with plastic now and my heart breaks a little more each time I think of the world we have borrowed essentially from our children and their children, is now something they will have to spend lifetimes to rectify. When micro-particles of plastic start turning up in sea salt in various places in the world, I stop buying it. One more natural thing I can’t put into my children’s bodies.
“Not only are plastics pervasive in our society in terms of daily use, but they are pervasive in the environment. Plastics are ubiquitous, in the air, water, the seafood we eat, the beer we drink, the salt we use – plastics are just everywhere.” Researchers think the plastic in sea salt comes from microfibres and single-use plastics such as water bottles (Food Poisoning Bulletin https://foodpoisoningbulletin.com/2018/studies-sea-salt-contaminated-with-plastic/).
And please don’t even get me started on the decline of many forms of sea life for the same reason.
We can tell the difference between a jelly fish and a plastic bag, but a turtle cannot.
Vast areas of ocean all over the world have now been declared ‘dead zones’ simply because so much of our plastic litter has eliminated any chance of life being sustainable in those areas.
Scarily enough, check out some of the statistics from http://oceancrusaders.org/plastic-crusades/plastic-statistics/
- Australia alone uses 6.9 billion plastic bags a year of which 3.6 billion are plastic shopping bags.
- If you tied 6.9 billion plastic bags together end on end they would travel around the world 42.5 times.
- Australians dump 36,700 tonnes of plastic bags into our landfill every year. That equates to 4,000 bags a minute or 230,000 per hour
- Only 10% of Australians take their plastic bags for recycling
- It costs the Australian government in excess of $4 million to clean up plastic bag litter each year.
- If each Australian family used 1 less plastic bag each week that would be 253 million bags less a year.
- Less than 1% of plastic bags in Australia are reused.
- If you imagine a piece of plastic 1m wide. As a conservative guestimate, a length of this plastic 40km long is produced each day and this is for one brand of toilet paper packaging. For bread you can triple the length (120km long)
So it’s no surprise that I’m just as passionate about reusable bags.
The humble wet bag to be precise. These wonderful bags have a million and one uses that you might not even realise. And essentially you can just throw them in the wash and use them again! Queensland is now starting to follow suit with some of the other states in Australia by placing a ban on single use shopping bags and committing to the beginning of cutting down on food packaging. But a wet bag is quite possibly one of the easiest changes you can make to help in this reduction. Plus they come in all sorts of lovely prints that beat carting around all that scrunchy waste. No more bottom falling out of your shopping bag here!
So just what can this humble reusable wet bag be used for? Here are just a few:
- Dirty Nappy Bag, soiled nappies in, all in the wash EASY!
- Organisation Bags– Mamas with twin babies or just as a ‘throw and go’ bag. Perfect in and out of the main nappy bag to keep things organised.
- Dad Bag-yes you read that right. We have it on good authority that Dad’s taking the little ones out pack these and swing it over a shoulder to take with them.
- Pram Bag– for anything to bottles, storage or as a rubbish bag (out and about, in the car, anywhere that children and mess exist!)
- Swim Bag– perfect for putting wet swimmers in, goggles and caps for swimming lessons
- Beach bag– no sand on this baby….
- Shopping/produce bag. Meat bag! No more leaky meat at the supermarket
- Hospital bag– if you haven’t seen our jam packed Birth Bags for the mama to be, this is where all your dirty laundries, wipes, nappies go in without soiling your clean stuff!
- Laundry bag– perfect for travel to keep your dirty laundry separated from the cleans in your suitcase.
- Nappy bail– I have used wet bags on occasions hung on the change table and used these as my pail before throwing it all in the wash.
- Travel bag/busy bag– fill it with all the entertainment items or snack goods for trips away with littles.
- Overnight bag– great way to organise essentials for the baby sitter
- Daycare bag– for dirty clothing or little accidents.
- Sports bag/gym bag– perfect for kit for the gym or keeping spare clothing items dry for exercise.
- Ice pack– ice inside a mini bag, perfect for icing injuries.
- Breast pump storage– keep everything all together and wet parts contained when pumping out and about.
- Mama bag– hiding treats (only dirty socks in here right?!) or even mama cloth for privacy
- Car rubbish bag, anything rubbish bag, out while camping bag…the uses are endless!
- Toilet training. Perfect to have on hand for those little accidents.
- Makeup/toiletries bag
- Anything storage bag.Keeps things together. We use it for toy sets around the house.
- Library bag.Handles are great for little people to be able to pack and carry their own books.
- And lastly, sick bag. Yes, gross but true. The humble wet bag is not too bad at holding even this!
Whilst we think plastics are essentially cheap and sometimes free, really there is payment in everything. And it all cost in the long run. Our love affair with single use plastics has reached an all-time high which is only just starting to show some of the disastrous effects on the environment and on our bodies.