Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Not Easy Being Green (3) - Diapering Dilemma

This is quite possibly the biggest debate in the realm of green parenting: Cloth or Single-Use Diapers? And it's not easy. Are cloth diapers really that much greener, once you factor in all the washing and chemicals used to keep them clean? Do you really want to put enough plastic, sewage, and chemicals into the landfill to take you to the moon and back? For my money, the reality is that using single-use diapers is equivalent to this scene from Mad Men (they won't allow it to be embedded). No one today would dream of leaving that much trash at a picnic site, and if they did, they would be roundly criticized. And yet, the alternatives for diapering are so time consuming (and messy), right?

There is a learning curve, but the use of the hybrid diaper has been the best thing since, well, since the last time we were diapering a child. We use gDiapers. They look like this:

There is a cloth outer pant, and inside plastic liner, and a cloth or compostable soaker. We've opted for the disposable inserts, as they can be composted, or simply flushed. Even if they do wind up in the landfill - let's face it, we will be out and about and not always able to get to a potty - they will biodegrade leaving no plastic or chemicals in the earth. We do find we have a fair amount of laundry with them, but as anyone who has ever lived with a baby can attest, that comes with the territory, with or without cloth diapers.

As I said, this has been an easy decision for us. They are convenient enough for us to use regularly and simple enough to launder that it doesn't take more time than doing the regular wash (you can even put the plastic liner in the washer). I'd recommend this hybrid system to anyone wanting to get away from the single-use system. It's brilliant.

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