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Sunday, 8 January 2012

Environmental not-thought-it-throughs...

I would like to think that I am environmentally aware - I do try and not use / am tight. I recycle, and keep rotten food in the house until it's putrid and stinking as I can't be bothered to put my wellies on to go through the mud to the compost bin and Huw won't let me go in my slippers any more. I am, however, very aware of plastic hippies and stupid contradictions where environmental consumption is concerned, and today I think I saw the best yet.

Before I had children I thought I'd be the kind of parent who spurns all the modern trappings of babies - I'd not bother with nappies, I'd bind my child in rags and let Nature take its course. However, after a few times of being covered in orange slime, I decided to sod it and get some nappies. I started with the compostable ones, but soon found them very expensive - and if you dig about in the undergrowth in my garden, you'll still find odd-shaped balls with fossilised turds in them. Eventually I did what every other parent does and bought shed loads of whatever was cheapest, and piles and piles of wipes. My contribution to environmentalism is to change nappies as infrequently as possible - I expect them to be at least banging around their knees before I'll fetch a new one. With wipes, I use every square inch and reckon to get at least four down-to-knees nappy changes with each one.

Therefore I was delighted to mock a pack of wipes that had a "Help us wipe out waste" logo on the front - "The irony," I laughed, as I tossed my take-out coffee cup into the bin, "trying to be environmental with a product that is an unecessary luxury anyway!" Their idea to cut waste? To save the packet that the wipes were in, print out a postage label from the internet, put the old wipes package into an envelope, post the envelope to a new depot hundreds of miles away so that it could be recyled and turned into (and this is my favourite bit) baby chic items.

Although they may have held a workshop and found out that this actually stands up, I think it could possibly go in the haven't really thought it through basket. If a manufacturer wants to reduce the waste in their product, make it bio-degradable or don't make it at all - print us a leaflet on a doc leaf about how to best wash your baby's backside in a puddle instead.

I can imagine the computers and printers around the world being cranked up, paper jams, printer cartridges running out, jiffy bags being the only things to hand, rolls of sellotape being used to stick the labels on, parcels being driven all over town - all of which are racking up loads of environmental bad-things. Then when the new (heated) depot finally receives the parcels, it would then use loads more energy to turn them into baby chic things.

I have decided to right the wrongs. I have turned my wipes packets into shoes. I shall wear them until I feel that I have made up for all the jiffy bags, sellotape, road miles, print toner and heated depots.

If you wish to support my stand, please send my baby a handful of doc leaves from your back garden to save her from becoming socially unacceptable.

Many thanks.