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Erin

One thing that clicked for me at an eco-party I attended a few years ago was that it's really all about making decisions that are aligned with your values. One family may weigh all the pros and cons and choose cloth diapers, one family may choose disposable. The important thing, for me, is that I slowly but surely start to examine and change those habits of mine that don't line up with my values (environmental, family, etc.).

Thanks to the eco-party on Sunday I will now stop using a spray bottle to dispense cleaners - I never thought about that spray getting into your lungs - even if it is a "green" cleaner or one I've concocted on my own.

OK, I'll stop (Grandma's in town, I could blog all day long if I wanted - yahoo!). Thanks to those to took time away from their families to attend the party and I do hope you all came away with something useful!

Oh, and don't forget to go to www.oeconline.org and fill out the family pledge and get your free t-shirt!

rockstar mama

There's a lot of love around here for Michael Pollan. This article of his seems to go here quite nicely (plus he quotes Wendell Berry, who should really be rediscovered):

Why Bother? (ie, making these changes)
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/20/magazine/20wwln-lede-t.html?em&ex=1209009600&en=d8b491f9fb79f020&ei=5070

LTF

rockstar mama: I am so with you re Wendell Berry. He is the man.

Molomatic

I also really enjoyed the eco-party on Sunday! I am inspired to buy more goods from the bulk bins (including shampoo). I'm also going to have Energy Trust come do a free home review. There were a lot of good tips thrown out from the moms. I'm now thinking of hosting an eco-party for my friends/neighbors.

???

Isn't the jury still out on whether or not cloth diapers (given the production, cleaning products, etc.)are really all that much better than say Seventh Generation or others? I seem to remember reading an article at some point that said that they both have about the same impact--any other thoughts on this? Any interesting research to share?

???

p.s. in regard to the above comment--am truly interested, and am not at all trying to judge others for what kind of diapers they use or whether they use cloth or disposable..

Erin

From what I understand, it's better (uses less water, energy) if you wash them yourself than use a service. Also you need to buy organic cotton diapers or else you are dealing with all the pesticides used to grow cotton. The thing that got me to go with cloth was the fact that at the end of the day, no matter what factors you use, disposables are sitting in a landfill - with poop in them. Poop shouldn't really be in a landfill anyway. Cloth diapers can be used by more than one child, and have other lives besides diapers (burp rags, throw up clean-uppers - sorry there's been a lot of that in our house this spring, etc). Case in point, my neighbors just gleefully took a stack of them off my hands to use as primo rags.

That said, I am a firm believer that environmental factors aren't the only ones to consider. I used disposables at certain times and ages. For those who choose to use them all the time there are good options out there (non-chlorine bleach, etc.).

wondering

Isn't poop considered "biodegradable" since it's used as a fertilizer in many places/countries? Although it may likely take a long time for it to break down inside a diaper--here is some info. I found--http://environment.about.com/od/recycling/a/biodegradable.htm

LTF

Pdx Tribune did a comparison of cloth and disposable in a recent Sustainable insert that I appreciated - it really broke down the arguments, but for the life of me I can't locate a link.

Tony at Milagros

Since we sell cloth diapers at Milagros you could say that I am not entirely impartial but, for what it's worth, our choice to go with cloth came long before we considered opening a baby shop.

Ultimately, the choice between cloth and disposable is going to be personal. But, for the good of the order, here are the main reasons we went with cloth:

1) Waste Stream: The amount of landfill waste that results from diapering a child in disposables is 2 - 3 tons (yes, you read that right).

The reality with landfills - mostly airless and sunless - and the materials used in most disposable diapers - plastics, gel, and other elements that are not very biodegradable - is that these diapers will be around for many, many generations to come (more than seven!).

What about g-diapers and 7th Generation? These products have the advantage of not having plastic or bleach but if they go in the trash, they are are going to the same landfill and are going to outlive your child.

I think this is an especially important point for g-diaper users, if you are going to pay the extra expense, you really should be flushing them.

Clearly cloth diapers are reusable. We have used the same diaper covers for both children. We mostly used a service with Mila but what diapers we did buy are being used by Gael. And when we are done, these cloth diaper supplies will be used by more kids since we will either give them away or resell them.

Someday all our cloth diaper supplies could end up in a landfill, of course. However I can put every diaper, cover, and cloth diaper accessory we used for both kids in a single Rubbermaid Tote.

2) Potty Training: In general potty training occurs much earlier and is easier for children in cloth versus disposables. It is estimated that kids in cloth potty-train 12-18 months earlier than kids in disposables. Mila basically potty-trained herself, which was a great relief for me.

Disposable diapers absorb moisture very quickly. As a result, your child does not feel any wetness and the natural "signals" are lost. As disposable diapers have improved, the average age for potty training has extended.

The gut-check on this is that if you review diaper ads and products from 20 years ago versus today you see that ads with children aged 3 to 5 years is now a common occurrence. Also common potty training suggestions these days include "try switching to cloth diapers."

That said, PLEASE keep in mind that every child is unique. If your child is "older" when he/she trains, don't let it stress our you or your little one out. It's not a race.

3) Expense: The out of pocket cost of 6 dozen cloth diapers and 20 covers, which is all you will need for diapering from birth to potty training will be less than $500.

What about added water and energy cost for washing? This is hard to judge. Babies = a lot more laundry and energy use. So what is the incremental additional cost of using cloth diapers?

With Mila we used a diaper service most of the time - and yes, even disposables at night in the early months, with Gael we have only washed our own cloth diapers. The additional energy and water usage since the boy was born has been about $25 per month. If we attribute ALL of that additional expense to the use of cloth diapers (which clearly is a gross overestimation) and figure he is potty trained by age 2 1/2...that is another $750 in expenses or $1250 for the whole cloth diapering thing from birth to potty training. Again, this is definitely estimating on the high side.

How does that compare? If a disposable diaper expense averages $75 per month, I would save about $1,000 even before I realized any cost saving related to earlier potty training.

4) Cloth is Chemical-Free: This one is kind of personal. For instance, I prefer food labels that are easy to read.

The gel inside disposable diapers - including 7th Generation and g-diapers- is sodium polyacrylate. Most disposable diapers also have dioxin and plastics. Common off gas emissions from disposable diapers include tolune, xylene, ethylbenzene, styrene, and isopropylbenzene.

Basically I like the fact that cloth diapers contain....cotton....because it is easy to pronounce and remember.

So that's why we went the cloth route. Peace.

Misty

I also enjoyed the Eco-Party on Sunday. I learned a lot from it and have changed a lot of things at home including shopping at the Co-Op more often now, more bulk foods and keep more containers to use for those bulk foods. I also am looking at what I am buying more and using less packages!

Misty

I also enjoyed the Eco-Party on Sunday. I learned a lot from it and have changed a lot of things at home including shopping at the Co-Op more often now, more bulk foods and keep more containers to use for those bulk foods. I also am looking at what I am buying more and using less packages!

MayJoyner18

I took my first personal loans when I was a teenager and that aided my business very much. However, I need the secured loan over again.

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