Spotlight on…Kim Barnetson

Childminder in Colchester

Kim Barnetson
Kim Barnetson

HOW DO YOU PURSUE AN ENVIRONMENTALLY CONSCIOUS ETHOS IN YOUR SETTING?

I try where possible to buy plastic-free products – we buy our fruit, veg and meat locally and without packaging. I try to source secondhand resources, and I refill containers. The children have bamboo toothbrushes and we buy plastic-free toilet rolls. But reducing plastic is just a part of my drive to be more eco-friendly. For example, I don’t have a car; we walk or use public transport. I use reusable nappies and wipes.

WHY HAVE YOU CUT DOWN ON PLASTIC?

I want the children I care for to inherit a better world, and I think part of that is modelling environmental awareness by reducing plastic waste and litter. On a wider scale, it is important to help slow climate change.

DO YOU AIM TO GO ENTIRELY PLASTIC-FREE?

I would love to, but it’s not always possible or practical. For example, I am gluten-intolerant and my bread comes in a sealed plastic bag. Until manufacturers start to change, it can be very difficult to eliminate plastic. It’s doable if you have the time, money and inclination, but most practitioners have enough going on already.

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR CUTTING PLASTIC USE?

Do it one little bit at a time. For example, I changed to reusable wipes three years ago, then this year introduced reusable nappies. When I buy something I think, ‘is there a plastic-free alternative?’ – like having milk delivered in glass bottles.

HOW HAVE THE CHILDREN RESPONDED?

The children understand that different waste products go in different bins. The younger ones sometimes ask why, and this leads to conversations about reusing and recycling. I find older children are already aware; for example, two children used plastic bottles to make bird feeders and wrote on them ‘reuse plastic as much as you can’. So I think they are getting the message!

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