I’ve been fortunate to receive so much positive feedback about my book. Mothers related and rejoiced, finding a voice for their eco-guilt and anxiety.
But there has been some criticism, primarily for my chapter on cloth diapering. I was quick to go for disposables, without even trying the other options. I was swayed by studies that said washing cloth could be just as environmentally impactful as disposables, knowing in my heart that was probably not entirely true, but figuring I would surely expend a lot of hot water trying to get those suckers clean. And for someone who rarely considers herself lazy, happy to walk an extra block to find a recycling bin, I admit that I just couldn’t deal with the idea of more things to wash and dry. Plus I am a massive germaphobe.
I tried to get a fair share of voices from across the diapering spectrum, quoting mothers who swear by the ease of cloth diapering despite my misgivings. But maybe the critics are right? Maybe I shouldn’t have made assumptions without trying cloth – or at least a “hybrid diaper” – for myself?
I originally figured that the “eco-friendly” diapers were a fair compromise, being made from non-chlorine bleached materials with fewer petro-chemicals and containing some naturally absorbent materials. They have been an easy option, serving us well for almost 20 months. But they still weren’t reusable or even biodegradable.
So I am compelled to do some hands-on investigation – starting with gDiapers, the very cute hybrid cloth/disposable diaper variety which I have actually promoted despite having never actually testing them myself.
gDiapers have two options – one with cloth inserts and ones with 100% biodegradable disposable inserts. Taking baby steps, I went with the disposable ones.
I was concerned that landfills were packed too tightly for the diapers to actually biograde properly – and depending on the state of my local landfill, that may be the case. But even when they can’t be composted, biodegradable products are still better for the planet because of the methods used to produce them. Plus I can still easily compost the pee diapers. And most people easilly flush the poop ones – I just can’t mess around with the plumbing in this old house anymore – this place can barely handle a tampon.
So far, changing the pee diapers has been a cinch. I’ve put an extra bin by the changing area for the wet diapers to collect them for the compost bin. The poop diapers are a bit trickier, as a bit of poo can get on to the plastic liners – the trick is to have a handful of pre-loaded diapers ready in a pinch.
We are still doing the disposables for pre-school, as we don’t feel it’s entirely fair to spring this new contraption on the staff just now. But every disposable diaper we avoid does make a difference! So we will be trying to use these at home as much as we can.
Personally, I feel like gDiapers might even be better than cloth diapers if they are done right. Wait, don’t yell at me, let me explain!
If you are using the Gs, you only need to wash about one cloth diaper per day, versus 5, 6,7, or 12 if you have a newborn. If you are you are composting the biogradable inserts, you essentially avoid any waste for the majority of changes!
The one downside is price. A case of liners is about the same price as a pack of Earth’s Best disposable diapers. But you need to buy about a half dozen cloth cover gPants per size (S,M,L) – that’s about $240 over the course of a diaper-hood. However, the good folks at gDiapers are big on coupons and bulk discounts, so if you are savvy, the cost of the cloth can be somewhat negated.
For instance, if you shop on Diapers.com, you’ll want to start your shopping from Ebates.com to get up to 5.5% cash back automatically. Then use coupon code STOBOOK to receive 30% cash back on diapers for three months plus 15% off everything else in your first order. You’ll also get free shipping and the Web site will make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.
Even with those savings, I fully admit that regular cloth is by far the cheapest way to go. But for those of us on the fence, this has been a great way to ease off the plastic.
It’s still a learning curve – after watching their online video on proper fitting, I realized I had been putting them on backwards (the “g” goes on the back). I only wish I had the guts to try them sooner!
*Disclosure: During the process of this trial, gDiapers sent me a couple of complimentary gPants. My reviews are entirely unbiased and not influenced by free product – though the extra duds are much appreciated.