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Plastic Free Living and Why It’s Important to Babies and Toddlers

July is ‘Plastic Free Month’ a key initiative of the Plastic Free Foundation that works hard to create a world free of plastic waste. Aqua Wipes are proudly biodegradable and compostable baby wipes that are plastic free. In the build-up to Plastic Free July, Aqua Wipes asked parents if they know what microplastics are. From 1,012 responses, 89.6% of parents said no.

What are microplastics?

Microplastics are extremely small pieces of plastic debris, dust like particles that measure less than five millimetres across. They are the result of fragments from larger pieces of plastic that have eroded, dust particles from materials containing plastic, erosion of materials during the laundry cycle and some are purpose-made, for example in the cosmetics industry. According to specialists, it’s the chemicals added to the plastics in the production process that present a serious health risk. Three of those chemicals that many people will have heard of are BPA, phthalates and flame retardants.

Why do we need plastic free wipes?

90% of the 11 billion wet wipes used in the UK each year contain some form of plastic which, when broken down, turn into microplastics. These are ingested by wildlife and enter the food chain and our water supply. In May 2022, microplastics were found for the first time in fresh Antarctic snow. Microplastics are frequently found in deep oceans, animals, shellfish and salt.

What is the danger of microplastics?

Scientists continue to research the danger microplastics cause to our health but it is widely considered that microplastics can contribute to cell damage, disrupt hormones, be an underlying cause of reproductive issues, cancers and obesity.

It is believed that a baby’s immature immune system and organs are more at risk from ingesting microplastics. To compound the issue, babies have been found to have 200 times more microplastics in their small bodies and scientists have found 20 times more microplastics in baby poo than in adult poo. This is because babies inhale twice as much air for their size, crawl in microplastic dust and chew clothes and toys that contain polyester and synthetic materials made with plastic.

We are committed to continually share information about microplastics, explaining the potential dangers of microplastics to our children and sharing ways in which we can reduce the microplastics in our homes, and importantly in our baby’s nursery.

Did you know 90 percent of wipes in the UK contain plastics. Aqua Wipes are proudly plastic free and is supporting Plastic Free July.

How to reduce microplastics in your child’s nursery

Nursery items are a contributing factor to microplastic waste in the nursery. From dust particles to toys that break down when chewed, our young children are at an ever present danger from ingesting plastic.

There are a great many ethical businesses working hard to provide parents with more choice and solutions to reduce the amount of plastic in the home. Search out plastic free comforters, play mats and bedding such as sleeping bags and blankets from Pure Earth Collection. Wooden toys are not only ‘traditional’ but the right solution when made with sustainably sourced wood. Look for toddler beds made from wood, not MDF, chipboard or veneer.

There is an ever-growing selection of gorgeous, natural and organic materials to choose from for your baby’s nursery. And of course, start by choosing biodegradable non-plastic nappies, or organic cotton or bamboo washable nappies that leave a much smaller footprint on the planet than the traditional nappies that are heavily packed with plastic.

Sources: Pure Earth Collection; My Baba website citing:

  1. Occurrence of Polyethylene Terephthalate and Polycarbonate Microplastics in Infant and Adult Feces. Junjie Zhang, Lei Wang, Leonardo Trasande, and Kurunthachalam Kannan.
  2. A Review of Human Exposure to Microplastics and Insights Into Microplastics as Obesogens. Kurunthachalam Kannan and Krishnamoorthi Vimalkumar.How to reduce microplastics in your child’s nursery.