July 16, 2017 4 min read
Feeding children is an adventure that can have you jumping for joy (they ate the broccoli!!), or crying with frustration (they won’t eat the broccoli!!!). As parents, we go to extraordinary lengths to ensure our children are eating nutritious food. Our mealtime worries include additives, preservatives, refined sugar, hormones – the list goes on. One thing you might not have thought to worry about however, is the harmful effects that can come from what we SERVE our children’s lovingly prepared meals on.
Whether you’re in the trenches of baby-led-weaning, trying to persuade your toddler that their dinner belongs in their bellies and not down their pants, or cleaning bolognese from the ceiling – you know this to be true: mealtimes are messy. Plates are thrown, cups are dropped, food is spattered all over you, your children, your carpet and the dog. This is where plastic tableware comes in. Easy to clean, hard to break, bright and attractive to little ones. Sounds good right?
Unfortunately, despite its convenience, plastic is harmful in every way imaginable.
Here are 5 reasons you should ditch plastic tableware in favour of more sustainable products:
Plastics contain a plethora of highly dangerous chemicals and toxins. Despite the almost worldwide removal of known harmful chemicals such as DEHP and BPA, scientists are continually finding that replacement chemicals are equally as harmful – disrupting endocrine systems and interfering with healthy bodily function.
The millions of tonnes of plastic dumped in landfill worldwide each year results in these harmful chemicals leaching into the groundwater and polluting our rivers, streams and waterways. Plastic consumption is not slowing down, in the last 10 years we have produced more plastic than in the last century.
Every piece of plastic that has ever been made is STILL in existence today. It can never be entirely broken down, only made into smaller and smaller pieces. Plankton, the smallest creatures in the ocean continually ingest tonnes of these ‘micro plastics’. The plankton are then in turn ingested by larger animals, resulting in harmful toxins from plastics slowly work up the food chain.
Plastic pollution is at such a critical level, that even babies are born pre-polluted.
Plastic is slowly choking our oceans – according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, by 2050, the oceans will contain more plastic than fish by weight. The largest floating garbage island in the world (yes, sadly there is more than one), is twice the size of Texas. Here, plastic pieces already outnumber marine life 6 to 1.
Scary, right? So what can you do to reduce your children’s exposure to plastics? Stop buying plastic, and start buying from companies that produce tableware from sustainable, non-toxic, earth-friendly materials such as bamboo or stainless steel. Here are 5 of the best children’s mealtime products that are sustainable, BPA-free and non-toxic.
Bobo & Boo are an Australian based company that sell beautifully crafted bamboo dinnerware that is entirely plastic-free. Bamboo is naturally non-toxic and biodegradable, it is one of the fastest growing plants in the world, requires very little water, and is naturally resilient (resulting in less pesticides and a cleaner, greener planet). Their range includes bowls, plates, cups and cutlery and ticks all the boxes when buying for children: dishwasher safe, beautiful colours, toxin-free.
Klean Kanteen are a ‘family owned company on a mission’. They produce stainless steel, BPA free alternatives to plastic bottles and food storage. Their children’s range provides a stainless-steel alternative to reusable plastic bottles from baby bottles all the way up to children’s sport bottles. Durable, safe and better for your health and the environment – thumbs up all around!
Planetbox are your go-to for sturdy, well designed, non-toxic lunchboxes. Gone are the days of using smelly old tupperware that leaches chemicals and odours into your food (why does my sandwich taste like last week’s soup?!).Your little ones will love discovering what’s in each little compartment that day! Visit their website to check out their stainless steel, customisable lunchbox range, stay for the handy ‘meal ideas’ section.
Enjoy popsicles sustainably with these awesome little molds that create beautiful paddle-style popsicles. They’re made from stainless steel, which means no plastic leaching into your healthy homemade treats! Also available: bamboo sticks! My favourite thing about these though has got to be the way they’re designed so that you can refill them one at a time = endless frozen treats!
These handy little guys are made with the highest quality food-grade 18/8 stainless steel. They are free of all toxins, BPA and phthalates – so no nasties leaching into your condiments. Perfect for packing hummus, peanut butter, salad dressing – the options are endless! What’s more – these are built to last. Ciao, grotty old tupperware!
Bethen is a mother of two, blogger of food and founder of ‘Ethical Index’ – a social enterprise sharing ethical and sustainable brands around the world. She spends her days enjoying the Sunshine Coast of Australia with her family, experimenting with plant-based food, and trying to live sustainably.