April 20, 2008

New York Times Been Bery Bery Good To G

From the NY Times Magazine Green Issue on the intractable environmental questions of the cloth vs. disposable diaper debate:

Apparently the only way between the two sides is to do without (which means teaching babies to use a toilet) or adopt some middle-way product like gDiapers, which combine cloth and flushable elements.

gDiapers flushable diapers [gdiapers.com]
Previously: gDiapers now nytDiapers


There is no question of cloth vs. disposable diapers where the environment is concerned. I would love to discover that this question was first posed by some disposable diaper PR flack.

Disposable diapers are still affecting the environment negatively hundreds (thousands?) of years after their use as toxic soup in our landfills, then our ground water. I don't know about biodegradable diapers -- would have to look at what they turn into.

But really, reusable diapers aren't a big deal; they just seem that way to the uninitiated.

There's also the economic side. The diapers I bought 4 years ago are going onto my my second child now, and when we're done, we'll be selling them for at least a third of what we paid for them.

The same could be said in choosing glass bottles and stainless steel sippy cups. There's virtually no aftermarket for plastic bottles, but durable, sanitarily washed glass and plastic can easily be resold.

[it's amazing to see how equivocal the statements they get from environmental groups are, though. And frankly, the "it doesn't matter; the damage was already done when you decided to have a kid" argument at the end is a lame punt. But I didn't think there were any actual, biodegradable diapers. I'd love to be wrong. -ed.]

er, typo on that last sentence. Glass and stainless steel can be resold. Your primary market for plastic would be Craigslist because reuse baby boutiques won't touch plastic bottles.

Absolutely, AJ. I've also yet to see an unbiased view that factors in the impact of the manufacturing and transportation of each package of disposable diapers. My cloth diapers were assembled once and shipped once, whereas each package of disposables requires another "cycle" of manufacturing. It's disgusting how many parenting magazines (the only exception being "Motherhood") publish article after article in favor of disposables, citing the water wasted by washing cloth diapers. Some people are just looking for an excuse not to try cloth, and these articles help them justify it. Editors do their readers a disservice by not providing articles that portray positive experiences with cloth diapers.

gdiapers biodegrade just fine; pee diapers compost pretty nicely, actually (but that's just the insides). there's also nature babycare - apparently made with maize film and tree pulp, come in fully compostable packaging. i've been eyeing them on diapers.com but we seem to be doing fine with Gs and bumgenius, so no point really.
i like, though, that teaching babies to use the toilet is a joke. if i wasn't afraid of looking like a wackadoo or actually losing my sanity while propping my kid up on the toilet i'd give EC a try.

So, wait. Are you saying I shouldn't be saving all my previously-used disposable diapers for the next kid??

(Of course I am joking -- we're not having another kid...)

(... oh, and we use gDiapers)

[we keep ours in the storage unit, boxed and sorted by size. -ed.]

Big Daddy

So three years in and we at g are making the boys that run landfills sweat! Not really but we're trying. Thanks for the mention. Hope all is well with you.


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