Monday, July 30, 2012

Green economy? Let's start at the beginning -- with diapers

I took the day off today. As I sit in the den, blogging away, Long Suffering Spouse is in the next room making baby things, blankets and bibs and such.

Now, as you might understand, I haven't been in the market for baby stuff for, oh, 16 years or so.

And, gosh, things have changed.

Younger Daughter is going to go with cloth diapers, just as we did with all our kids. (We weren't zealots. We used paper on occasion -- when traveling, not that we did that often, or when visiting someone else's house. But, by using mostly cloth diapers with our five kids, we must have spared the local landfills from tens of thousands -- maybe a hundred thousand -- paper diapers. Looking back, I think we had days where we must have changed diapers a hundred thousand times.)

There weren't that many cloth diaper users in our time; there appear to be far fewer now.

We used cloth diapers with pins. (Children learn to fear you when you've got pins.)

Pins haven't actually been banned yet (although New York is probably considering it) but they seem to be in great disfavor.

Velcro is in vogue these days as the fastening mode -- but, having changed my share of diapers back in the day, I can't see why. Trying to be delicate here... there's a strong chance that the Velcro fasteners will get, um, icky, on occasion.

And, in our day, when we needed to get a new pair or new size of plastic pants, there were plenty to be had at the grocery.

But not anymore.

Younger Daughter and Long Suffering Spouse have found some browsing online -- but they're pretty darned expensive, I'm told.

People talk a lot these days about climate change and green economies and conservation and all that good stuff -- but they clog landfills with "paper" diapers, which (of course) aren't made of paper at all.

According to this EPA website, "biodegradable diapers" will decompose in a year -- but your standard "disposable" diapers will take 450 years to finally break down. (You'll quickly find other sites online that say that paper diapers will never fully decompose because of the plastic coating.)

If anyone were serious about greening the economy, wouldn't diapers be a good place to start?


Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

well it's funny you talk about this today, as i was surfing (with my fingers of course) i read just today that the paper diapers are MORE green. something to do with electricity, water, bleach, soap, stuff like that, but then i didn't believe it for a moment. plus i hung them outside almost always. never used paper for any of my kids but then they are OLD! ha ha

smiles, bee

The Curmudgeon said...

Where did you read that? I'd love to see what that claim is based on and who made it.

Anonymous said...

Ha my baby is 40 and I know I used cloth diapers.. Its funny thinking back because these paints (Artex) that you used on cloth was very popular at the time. My friends ordered me a bunch of diapers from them that came stamped and then threw an artex party where we all painted the cute little pictures that were stamped on the back of the diapers. I also used those big pins and rubber pants. I haven't seen rubber pants or those pins for many years now.

Mother of Chaos said...

We used Mother-Ease cloth diapers for all four of our kids, and then passed the set on to the friend-n-family circuit. I believe they have now seen at LEAST seven children from newborn to potty-trained, and are STILL going strong! They have snap closures, too, so...yeah. No "blech" to deal with.

They ARE expensive as !!OUCH!! out the gate, sure, but over time they more than paid for themselves.