The most recent change in our house -- Cloth Diapers!
I've been using disposable diapers for about 44 months of my parenting journey with two kids and it wasn't until about a month ago that I just had this feeling that I needed to switch over. So why now?
First, I'd always told myself a 'story' that using cloth diapers was too hard. That it was too time consuming. And for a solo parent with a full schedule of work and play, I didn't think it would fit with our lifestyle. But with the disposable diapers for my second son, I was occasionally noticing these little white granules left on my son's skin from the diaper and I began to wonder what exactly were in the diapers. And being that I'm very conscious of the synthetics and toxic chemicals all around us every day, and a believer that we all need to be eliminating these toxins, it was only natural that I look at this more seriously.
Also, since having my second son, I have been ultra present to how much waste we were producing in disposable diapers alone, as I was constantly taking out trashcans of overflowing non-biodegradable waste. And not only was it a nuisance, it was filling up our outdoor trash can more quickly then necessary. When I began to look into cloth diapers, I learned that about 2-4% of our landfills in the US are filled with disposable diapers. Whoa!
Twenty billion diapers are thrown away every year in the US, about 6,500 diapers per child. AND it takes 500 years to decompose and contains petroleum, plastics, perfumes, wood pulp, and dioxins*. In my journey over the last few years in removing synthetics out of our home and reducing overall exposure to harmful chemicals, it seems only natural that we would make this change. In fact, now that we are into the routine of using and cleaning our own diapers now, I SO wish I'd made this switch years ago for my first born!
So what's new?
· I'm not taking out the diaper-filled garbage as often. Yay!
· The cloth diapers are super easy to use and clean up really well. I wasn't expecting that.
· I'm doing a lot more laundry and spending more time folding (I prefer to have the diapers folded and ready to go). Can this count as my quiet "me" time after the kids are in bed...?
· I have more space in the diaper changing areas because I don't have the rows of disposable diapers. I'm all for minimizing stuff!
· The upfront cost is higher than I expected but will save me in the long run. And less trips to Costco!
· Some pants don't fit my babe anymore because there's not enough room for the slightly larger diaper. That's okay with me. It's a small trade off.
· I have more peace of mind about what is on my baby's skin. Priceless.
· We have all kinds of pretty diaper colors. Not important, but it makes the Designer in me smile.
With cloth diapers, I've added about three extra loads of laundry each week. But it's easy; throw the soiled diapers in the wash along with the wet bag they are stored in, add just a Tbsp of my one-and-only laundry soap, Thieves, set to 'sanitize' and press start. Young Living's Thieves Laundry Soap is a plant-based detergent that I use for washing everyone's laundry in our house, so it was a no-brainer to use it for the diapers too.
Thieves Laundry Soap has a light and fresh scent, and most importantly, it's free of synthetic perfumes, dyes, formaldehyde, phosphates, sulfates, petrochemicals, and optical brighteners. For my littles' skin and for mine, it's imperative that our clothes are washed not with products full of synthetic perfumes and toxic chemicals, but with a clean product safe for our bodies. And Thieves Laundry Soap is just that. With our skin being our biggest organ, it takes less then a minute for those toxins left on our clothes to reach the rest of our internal organs, and from there cause damage to our bodies.
While I love the convenience of disposable diapers, and I wasn't looking to add more to my plate, the health benefits and environmental of cloth diapers outweigh those of disposable diapers for me. This was definitely the right decision for my family. My pocketbook, the environment, and my little one is benefiting from the change!
What I haven't experience yet is traveling using the cloth diapers. For those of you who use cloth diapers, what are your tips during vacations or long weekend get-aways? Laundry at your destination, or do you switch back to disposable for convenience and ease?
What else could we each be doing to reduce waste in our landfills?
*Stats from grovia.com