Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It's not easy being green

So, I just have 8 minutes until I have to pick up the kids, from preschool but I have a question for you cloth diapering mommies out there. Through various means (i.e., my friend Raegan, my mom, dc urban moms) I have amassed quite an array of cloth diapers, all of them with cutesie names, usually involving some play on the word "bum." So, for not too much of an investment, I have quite a collection of diapering options to try out on my official cloth diaper tester, Teddy. Right now Teddy is wearing a Bum Genius (an all-in-one diaper that adjusts to fit a newborn to a toddler) and it is HUGE on him. Poor guy looks like his legs are about 2 inches long. He is all crotch at the moment. Earlier today I tried a Lite Wrap with an old school Gerber pre-fold and it worked pretty well, albeit slightly messy to change. It did leak a bit, forcing me to change his onesie. Anyway, blah, blah, blah, you don't want to hear about me changing diapers and now I have 2 minutes until I have to pick up the kids.

I'll cut to the chase. Here is my question: How green is cloth diapering really?

This article makes me really confused. Read it for yourself, but basically there was a big study and it said that cloth diapering is just as bad for the environment as disposable diapering. Hard to believe, but they did do a study and everything, so maybe it's true. Here's a quote from the article in case you're not in a link-clicking mood...

"To reduce the impact of cloth nappies on climate change parents would have to hang wet nappies out to dry all year round, keep them for years for use on younger children, and make sure the water in their washing machines does not exceed 60C."

(Sigh...just when I was getting all excited about cloth nappies.)
How about these G Diapers? These are the ones that are a cloth/disposable hybrid. Sort of the Prius of the diaper world. The thing with these is you use a reusable (super cute) cover and a flushable insert. In theory, there's no washing anything yucky and no filling up landfills. Win win! They are too cute and they sell them at Whole Foods, a place that makes me feel environmentally superior right when I walk in the door. Do you think these are the greenest diapers of all? They are not the cheapest, but seem to be comparable to disposable diapers.

Anyone have any thoughts on the subject? Let me know!

Gotta go for now!

Hi, I'm back. I had to revisit this topic. I have washed the few diapers I used today about a zillion times and I still doubt they're actually clean. In fact I think I'll be running the washing machine again with a big vat of bleach and nothing else. I'm more than a little grossed out by the yellow baby poo in my washing machine. Who knew being green would involve so much yellow? Sorry, that was so lame.

Also, Teddy, while wearing various configurations of cloth diapers, did not have a decent nap all afternoon. He kept falling asleep in the sling and then I would put him down and he'd sleep for about 15 minutes and then he would wake up again. I kept having to check his diaper every time to see if he was wet and it was a huge pain. Once I finally put a disposable diaper on him he went to sleep and has been asleep now for a few hours. Coincidence? Hmmmmm.....

Help! I want to do the best thing for the environment, my pocketbook, the washing machine and my baby. What's the answer?


Raegan Brown said...

Ahhh memroies. I hear you on the green thing. My biggest reason for forging on with the cloth was the promise that my child would potty train sooner. As far as greenness, I think it is a wash (no pun intended!)

IMO, you seriously need to look into a diaper service. The one I used worked out to be virtually the same price-wise as disposables and would probably save money in the long run on water and electric bills. My service claimed that they were not a bigger strain on the environment than paper. Their industrial machines are probably more efficient at cleaning than yours and therefore 'greener' water-wise. Plus there is your sanity to consider, and you can't put a price on that!

And baby stuff totally stains, doesn't it? As an even greener alternative, our service offered a discount for using non-bleached diapers. They were just as clean but just not bleached. I never took them up on that, though. My own baby stains are one thing, but I want delivered diapers showing up snow white!

Never got to try the G Diapers b/c we're on septic. NOT going to chance that!

Our Lovely Life said...

Hi Elizabeth! I just had to chime in here, because I love cloth diapers. I used them on TJ for most of his diapering years and have used them on and off with Natalie. I think the key is to find the perfect diaper for you and Teddy. There are so many out there and I have tried many. But my all time favorites are Fuzzy Bunz(which are a little on the pricey side) and just plain old prefolds and covers. BUT, Gerber prefolds are not the ones you want. You need to go online and get some highter quality ones. Or you could do what the previous poster suggested and go with a diaper service. There is only one in the area. I used them for a little while with TJ. If you want to talk more, call me! Or we can talk at church, because I could seriously go on and on and my comment would take you an hour to read!!

Amy said...

I used Fuzzi Bunz and Bum Genius on Asher and Ainsley. I'm wondering what kind of washer you have because once we moved to NC and were the proud owners of a front-load washer (which didn't allow me to do a soak cycle on my diapers), I gave up on cloth diapers. The poo didn't come off easily without a good soak.

I've heard to not bleach the covers because it'll break down the waterproofness. And, as for being green...I did it more for cost than the environment.

I went by Babies r us last week and saw they are now carrying a full line of G diapers...so that's convenient.

All the best!

Anonymous said...

Hello! I thought I'd weigh in on my limited cloth diaper experience so far. I've tried G Diapers and while they're okay, the inserts are expensive and the poop gets on the plastic part so much that I have to change them nearly every time. I too have not been able to get the yellow stain off my cloth/plastic diapers. If you have any tips on that, I'm interested.
We've just started a trial run with a cloth diaper service. It's the second week and I think it's less messy than the G diapers. You just put the cloth inserts in the provided bin and they pick up and deliver dirty and clean ones to your porch. It's about the same cost as disposable diapers and I don't have to try to get the stains off myself. Also, I like the pants they provide although I'm having trouble getting the stains off those too. But I've found that the cloth work well inside the Bum Genius diaper as well so I use the ones I already bought for that.
As for the effect on the environment, I got confused too about how good cloth diapers really are....but I can't see that disposable diapers in a landfill for eons are better than using a lot of water and energy. I guess its the lesser of two evils.
Hope things are well!