Don’t be fooled, a tiny foot does not a tiny carbon footprint make. According to MotherJones.com, one American child generates as much CO2 as 106 Haitian kids.
And as we’ve all been striving to do our part for the environment– from solar panels to sorting the trash– the tiniest among us have been pretty much enjoying a free ride.
Meanwhile their disposable diapers are clogging up landfills from coast to coast. MotherJones.com estimates that a typical baby goes through 3,800 disposable diapers over the course of 2.5 years. And no one really knows how long it takes a disposable diaper to break down and decompose. Suffice to say, if you’re an adult who spent your babyhood swaddled in Pampers, those Pampers are still with us. And, according to most sources, will continue to be for hundreds, yes hundreds, of years.
What’s a baby to do?
A growing number are opting for cloth diapers. Or, at least, their parents are. We’ve been cloth diapering since our daughter came on the scene. And now her little brother has inherited her nappies, and one year into his diapering career I can’t imagine doing it any other way. The money I’ve saved combined with the sense of well being knowing that in the long run there will be 7,600 less disposables for Mother Earth to deal with more than makes up for the extra effort on our part. And that extra effort is minimal at best.
First off, these aren’t your mother’s Chinese prefolds. Modern cloth diapers are fitted, gusseted and come in a dizzying array of styles and permutations, most with snap or Velcro closures. There’s a bit of an up-front investment when you choose to go cloth. However when compared to the weekly or monthly cost of disposables, you almost always come out ahead. Especially if you’re cloth diapering multiple children.
And there are a lot of accessories out there to make the whole process less taxing and, to be honest, less icky. We have a spray nozzle attached to our toilet for easy cleaning. From there the diaper goes into a bin. On wash day we empty the bin into the machine. Two cycles later and some time to dry, they’re ready for another go. And I just love the fact that we’ll never run out of diapers. No need for a late-night CVS run in our house.
Still not convinced? Then join other Baristaville moms and dads on Saturday, April 23 at The Postpartum Place in Chatham for The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2011 as they attempt to set a Guinness World Record™ for the number of cloth diapers changed simultaneously. Starting at noon EST, babies’ bottoms from Australia to the USA, Canada to Chile will be wiped and diapered all in the spirit of awareness raising for cloth diapers and in recognition of Earth Day. All totaled there are 400 locations for the event with over 24 countries represented. I’m not sure what the standing record is, but just the same it’s a great way to network with the cloth diapering community. Cloth diapers will be on sale at the event, so even if you’re just flirting with the idea, it’s a great way to celebrate Earth Day while taking the first steps towards making the switch. Pre-registration is recommended.
The event is being co-sponsored by Green Bean Babies, a new online retailer based right here in Maplewood. Green Bean Babies aims to be a one-stop source for all things cloth diapering and was the brain child of new parents Mark and Heather Truscinski . Determined to cloth-diaper their son, Heather turned to the internet to research and shop and was at first daunted by what she found. “Finding the necessary information on types, styles, accessories and washing needs can be tremendously overwhelming,” she explained. “I spent too many hours to count scouring blogs, online stores and message boards trying to figure what was ‘best.’” Wanting to share the expertise they culled from all their research and experience, the Truscinskis launched Green Bean Babies in March.
The couple also offers one-on-one and group consultations which include samples of the various cloth diaper brands and styles out there. They are also currently searching for a retail location in the Baristaville area. The Truscinskis hope to expand cloth diapering’s reach by taking it beyond the internet and offering people an opportunity to touch and feel the product.
And like all things baby, the advice and insight of someone who’s been there before is often the most valuable.
So if you believe it’s time your little one started pulling his weight (all 8 lbs. 6 oz. of it) for the planet, then cloth diapers might be one significant step towards a better world for us all.