It doesn’t matter how eco-friendly we try to be before having kids — something happens when we become parents that turns us all into plastic monsters. Between the most obvious offenders like diapers and toys to the piles of baby gear we’re all told we can’t live without, our homes quickly become packed with more plastic than we ever thought possible.
What’s so bad about plastic? Well, we’ve all heard about the dangers of Bisphenol A (BPA), which can be easily ingested or absorbed through skin contact. Once in the body, studies have shown that it can disrupt the endocrine system, impacting things like metabolism, sleep, growth and sexual function. And sure, the FDA banned BPA in baby bottles and feeding cups back in 2012, but you’ll still find the chemical everywhere from sippy cups to packaged foods and teething toys.
Polyvinyl chloride (aka PVC) is another common plastic that often contains lead and phthalates, which may be found in your kid’s bibs, inflatable swimming pools or raincoats. It’s been linked to cancer, birth defects and premature puberty. And that’s just scratching the plastic surface. Plastics are everywhere, and they’re not doing our kids — or us — any favors.
To break the plastic cycle, simply start with a little more self-awareness, and check out these 20 eco-friendly alternatives to some of the most common plastic products for kids.