Monday, June 21, 2010

Decisions, Decisions - Diaper Discussion

So on our quest to be a little 'greener', Adam and I have been doing some things around the house to start us on the mission - we are recycling (and not buying plastic water bottles), we have started composting, Adam is planning to set up our new rain barrel this week and has also started a garden with some basic veggies.  We are, by no means, going above and steps, I think.

So, one of the big questions we are faced when looking ahead at bringing our first baby into our lives is this - disposable or reusable?

Yes, I'm referring to diapers.  I had always just had it in my head that I would be using disposable diapers on a baby.  Easy, convenient, easily accessible...enough said, right?  If you do even five minutes of research online, you can find so many "bad" things regarding disposable diapers.  Not only the thousands of tons of plastic and hundreds of thousands of trees that are necessary just to produce the diapers in the US alone each year, but the toxic chemicals used to manufacture them and the effects on our landfills by having roughly 18 billion diapers added each year, in JUST the US!  That's 18 billion plastic/paper garbage filled with human waste - possibly going straight back into the ground water supply.

Rethinking reusables, yet?

With another five minutes of online research, you can see some very positive aspects of reusable diapers.  OMG...ADORABLE!  You can buy adorable patterns and about every color you can imagine.  Also, they are absolutely cheaper than disposables - many brands have adjustable features on the diapers, so you can use the same diapers throughout the baby's life until potty training time.  Even with the cost of extra loads of laundry, water to clean and detergent, you are still going to be saving hundreds, if not THOUSANDS of dollars per baby (and possibly more if you plan on using them for more than one kid).  This does require a somewhat large investment up front, but then you're just about done buying diapers!  Then there's the environmental motivation for using reusable.  Seems like a good amount of pros, right

I don't know anyone close to me that has used reusable diapers, so I'm going at this somewhat blind.  I do have two main concerns: 
1)  Convenience - if we are out and about and the baby needs a diaper change, do I really want to bundle up a dirty liner and carry it around until we get home to wash it?
2)  Laundry - do I really want to be washing those dirty liners in the washer where we do the rest of our laundry?  We don't have a sink/tub to rinse things in the laundry room so how is this accomplished?

I know anyone that has in their mind the "old cloth diapers" would be screaming 'NO!' at this point.  But the varieties of reusables that are available are nothing like those flat cloth diapers that you had to fold just right and pin together with a safety pin.  If you know someone that has used reusables, I'd love to hear about it!!  Until then, I guess we will continue to research and try to make the best decision for us!

Interested in reading up on reusable?  Check out this article:  Why Use Cloth Diapers?

Example of today's reusable - Bum Genius brand

How cute are these?  Another example - Thirsties brand

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