Six tips to becoming more eco-aware with your back-to-school shop
As we approach the new school and nursery year, UAE-born brand Eggs & Soldiers is encouraging and assisting parents in becoming more eco-aware with their back-to-school purchases.
So, where does the increasingly eco-conscious family begin? The company’s founder and mum-of-four Sofi Chabowski, has compiled a list of tips and suggestions for simple, sustainable lifestyle swaps for all the family.
Go plastic-free for the grocery shop
Say no to plastic bags! There are lots of natural fibre options that can be tightly packed into handbag-friendly pouches or kept in the car. Don’t use the small plastic bags supermarkets offer for fruit and vegetables. Either go bag-free for foods like bananas, oranges and avocado that are protected by their own robust skin, or re-use your own small cotton, mesh or silicone food bags.
A lunch to save the planet
Plastic containers are usually made from petrochemicals; lots of pollution and toxic discharge is released into the environment during their production, and the majority of plastic cannot be recycled, meaning it ends up in landfill. So, don’t use it to hold your child’s lunch! Stainless steel is a robust and chemical-free alternative, and ‘bento’ style boxes with sections for different foods mean there’s no need for any additional wrapping or waste. Cloth wraps or ‘pockets’ are also great for single sandwiches and snacks.
Cloth nappies and wipes for babies
Babies and toddlers will be sent to nursery complete with a kit for up to 10 nappy changes a day. Most disposable nappies and wipes are not biodegradable, and will take up to 500 years to break down in landfill. The reason we don’t know a precise length of time is because the first ones ever made still haven’t broken down, and when you are talking about 8,000 per baby – from birth to potty trained – that’s A LOT adding to the problem every day.
Reusable cloth nappies, made of natural, chemical-free fibres, are the eco-friendly alternative. You’ll need around 20 per family (as they can be used for more than one child), and they will break down completely when you‘re finally done with them.
Children should wear sunscreen to school or nursery every single day, so you need to be sure you are happy with everything that’s in it. Mineral-based sunscreens are the best option for younger skin particularly, and research suggests that sunscreens containing zinc oxide are the only products that really protect skin from sun damage. There are some fantastic clear and lightweight options on the market, however, and this is one family necessity where paying a little more is unquestionably worthwhile.
Bulk buy foods in larger containers
Surplus packaging is everywhere in Dubai, but we can avoid it! Bulk buy supplies and foods in larger containers, then portion them yourself into reusable pots and bags to send in to school. Child-sized pots and pouches are marketed for their convenience, but it’s just as easy (and cheaper!) to pack your own waste-free snacks into reusable, chemical- free containers. Keep leftovers in the fridge covered with cotton wraps – so you’ll never use cling film again!
Single-use plastic water bottles are a huge problem for the environment, and it’s so easy to swap them for a reusable bottle or flask. Both glass and stainless steel are 100% recyclable, durable and non-toxic – while only seven of the 30 types of plastic are recyclable – and they won’t absorb the chemicals, odours or tastes that plastic will.
Want to learn more about eco-friendly sustainable swaps? Visit The Eggs & Soldiers store, located on the Ground Floor of Times Square Centre, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai between 10am and 10pm, 7 days a week. Information and products can also be viewed and purchased online at eggsnsoldiers.com with delivery available throughout the Middle East.
If you enjoyed this article, you may be interested in reading about our top tips to ensure your child is ready for the new academic year.