I know I sound kinda preachy in this post, but this is something I feel strongly about. I hope to offer my research and thoughts as a resource for those interested and to hear additional ideas too as I am always interested in other approaches.
I got pregnant in March
. As with anything that finds its way into my microcosm, I became a dork in learning all things about pregnancy, my body and parenthood. There is a thread present in all my research: consumption. It is something we have to consider as procreators. What kind of world are we preparing for our new little primates? And, how can I be a thoughtful, conscientious and proactive mom?
After watching An Inconvenient Truth a while back, Andy and I made some decisions to cut back. One change we made was to keep our front porch light off at night. Andy said, I want my kid to have polar bears.
I have always been interested in and, according to many, overly concerned with, what I use and how I move about in my environment. I think recycling is a civic duty and people who don’t should be fined. Seriously, it is SO easy and if you took one trip to the land fill, you would be appalled with all the detergent bottles, aluminum cans and white paper that is wrongfully churned into a scar in the earth. We use cloth napkins in my house and only wash them once a week or so. I like running because it doesn’t require gear (save for shoes and a rockin’ sports bra) and driving somewhere. I grow my own food as much as I can. I say no to early every bag in favor of making two (gasp) trips to and from my car or carrying my own tote. And since July 7, 2007, have turned down 52 plastic bags. We never wrap any trash in plastic. Blah blah–I am hooked on treading lightly. And I am always thinking of new ways I could do more and be better. Maybe I am a bit obsessed but now I have a bug and there is a whole new importance to all of this.
Today, I talk specifically about how I am approaching this new world of energy use and garbage production, how it amplifies when having a kid and my thoughts on decreasing my contribution to the dump and energy use.
:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::Scary stuff about diapers
The average person goes through about 6000 diapers for one kid. Disposable diapers NEVER EVER decompose. Or 500 years some say. But still. Diapers by volume constitute 2% of all garbage from residential areas and are the third-largest source of solid waste. Eighteen billion diapers are thrown away per year according to the EPA. Because cornstarch and absorbent acrylic gels are added to disposables, they are un-recyclable.
Some argue that the production and cleaning of cloth diapers consume more energy and that diaper delivery trucks consume gas, therefore making a pro-disposable argument. I disagree: Cloth are reusable and if the user doesn’t care about stains, a mild detergent and a little water go a long way. And one delivery vehicle making the rounds to twenty houses versus twenty individual cars trekking to Costco and Target dissolves that arguement. And, without disposable diapers, I wonder how many fewer garbage trucks and landfill vehicles we would need.
We use cloth diapers with diaper covers. And those who claim that disposables are so much easier with a newborn I cry bullshit. We used cloth right away and like anything, such as having a kid, it just takes some getting your groove on. It is so easy and we found the covers we like so leaking isn’t an issue and if they leak, big freakin’ deal. We just hose her little hiney off in the sink.
And, for the inventors of the diaper genie
and those who use them, please consider what is worse: a trash can that is a bit smelly (breastfed poo hardly smells at all) only when you open the lid or your great grandkids not having a planet to live on? Perhaps that is hyper thing to say but I just cannot imagine how one could justify placing a plastic diaper in a plastic bag in another plastic bag. And tossing it all in a plastic trash can to be picked up by a huge, gas-guzzling truck and hauled to a canker in the earth.
And, I recently discovered we can be more efficient with the cloth diapers. Bug enjoys peeing when being changed, so we keep the dirty dipe in place and let her go on it while we ready the new so we don’t dirty another. This saves at least 10-15 diapers a week. Also, the covers we use
–and they are made in Canada) can be rinsed and dried if dirty. They rarely, if ever, need to be washed in a machine. And, wipes can be used so sparingly. Hey, we have to wash our hands anyway. I haven’t done it yet, but it is easy and way cheaper to make your own disposable wipes
I have been planning to make my own, reusable wipes and will let my declaration here serve as my accountability.
There are a lot of different methods for storing and saturating cloths, I will use a spray bottle filled with this:
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