Friday, April 22, 2011

Cute little cloth butts

Not that I'm stalking our baby registries to see if any new gifts have been bought off them yet or anything, but I happened to notice our first BumGenius cloth diaper has been purchased! Fist pump! And on Earth Day too... how fitting. Thank you whoever that was!! So on Earth Day, it might be appropriate to address those that have told me cloth diapering is crazy and I should just go with disposables, and say why we're going to do it.

1) Babies in cloth diapers are super cute. Witness:

Granted, all black babies are especially adorable, but still, how cute is this picture? They come in a gazillion colors too which is more fun to me than picking out which Disney character you want on your printed Pampers. I love them all.

2) Cloth diapers save you a jillion dollars over the diapered life of your baby. This is a biggie for us, and a huge motivator to do it. Cloth diapers are an immediate investment because they are not cheap, but it's estimated that you spend roughly $300-600 on one-size adjustable all-in-one cloth diapers that will last through your baby's diaper years (PLUS can be re-used with future children!) while disposables are estimated to cost roughly $2500 per baby over the same period. That ain't chump change.

3) While laundry will certainly increase in the McMillan household with all these cloth diapers to clean, they're at least saving us a bunch of trips to the store to pick up more diapers because we ran out AGAIN. I also don't see the laundry thing being much of an issue. At most it'll add another 2-3 loads of laundry a week for us, but starting the washer in the morning and running the double rinse cycle takes about 25 minutes (2 actual minutes of my time), and then we'll be drying them mostly out in the Southern California sun on the clothesline (sunlight helps to naturally bleach out poop stains). I can't wait to see this in my backyard:

Photo: pierrotsomepeople on Flickr

4) I guess the jury is still out on this one, but disposable diapers are made with some pretty serious chemicals like dioxin, TBT, and sodium polyacrylate which helps to make them so dang absorbent. Chemicals touching my baby scare me. Organic cotton sounds way better, unfounded or not

5) I'm 42% crunchy granola hippie and so these facts* weigh heavily on me:

  • Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste.  In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.
  • The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.
  • Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.
  • The instructions on a disposable diaper package advise that all fecal matter should be deposited in the toilet before discarding, yet less than one half of one percent of all waste from single-use diapers goes into the sewage system.
  • Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill. (Liv's note: Um... where do the other 8% go?? Ew.)
*These came from the Real Diaper Association website.

I'm also not convinced that disposables are THAT much easier than cloth diapers. I'm not talking about using the prefolds with diaper pins like our momma's had to use, I'm talking about pre-stuffed, adjustable with snaps, all in one diapers that go on and off just like a disposable diaper does. No need to fold them just so and fiddle with opening and closing pins, they just slip under the butt and snap into place in the same amount of time a disposable diaper change takes. Walking the dirty #2 diaper over to the toilet to spray the poop off before tossing the diaper in the laundry bin admittedly takes longer than tossing straight into the trash (even though according to the fourth bullet point above, you're supposed to do this with disposables too!!) but I don't see that as a big deal, especially when weighed against all the positives. 

And the best part? Jeff is totally on board and willing to help see it through. I *may* have promised him a Be@rbrick with all the money we'll be saving...

Happy Earth Day!


ET said...

Good for you both. I applaud you and Jeff for making a wise choice--both for our planet and for your pocketbook. And yes, I am sure she will look VERY cute in those cloth diapers, just like you and Jan did.

Happy Earth Day to both of you. It was GREAT to visit last weekend, and I can't wait to see pictures from Jeff's new studio when he has it all furnished and all his wonderful pieces moved in.

Good luck with the move, Jeff.

Dre said...

I second the applause. I never knew most of those facts about diapers.Definitely makes you think. I was in cloth diapers and so were my brother and sister. when i was a nanny last year, the little girl wore G-diapers. have you heard of those? a flushable insert type thing that goes inside a plastic liner that snaps to a fabric cover. 3 pieces to it.