She is the queen of green. The empress of eco-friendly. The regent of recycling. She is the mother of...well, that's what she is. A mother. And it is her mission to raise her child in as clean and healthy a world as possible. She works hard to secure the future of the planet for future generations. She buys organic and tries hard to keep her home chemical free. As I have delved into the realm of these green goddesses, I have marveled at their economy and sense of sisterhood in sharing ideas and resources. With the help of a new green friend, Buffy Snider, one of the wonder moms, I am delighted to pass on this tip on raising your children with an eye on the environment.
The seemingly most daunting challenge a new mommy faces when trying to mix in some green with all that pink and blue is addressing the diaper issue. Disposable diapers are an absolute eco-no-no. No one knows for sure how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250 to 500 years. Over 92% of all single use diapers end up in a landfill. Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills (newspapers and food/beverage containers take top prize). In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up approximately 50% of household waste. Finally, more than 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstock, and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for ONE baby EACH YEAR. As the negative press for disposable diapers grows to include health issues as well as environmental issues, mothers are looking for alternative products.
There are some interesting options out there. gDiapers offer a cute little cotton outer pant into which you insert a flushable liner. If you can't flush the liner they can also be recycled or composted. Interestingly, disposable diapers generally instruct parents to dispose of fecal waste in the toilet before throwing out the diaper. Now, fess up. I would wager that virtually no one does this. That means you are contributing to the over five million tons of untreated human waste in our landfills, turning them into a breeding ground for disease that could potentially contaminate our groundwater. The concept behind gDiapers is that it puts baby waste where it belongs, in the toilet!
An amazing number of moms are returning to the use of cloth diapers. Buffy, who is an avid supporter of cloth diapers, was quick to point out that these are not our grandmothers' cloth diapers. I think a lot of women believe cloth diapers to be nasty, leaky, and inconvenient. The truth is modern cloth diapers are as easy to use as disposable diapers, cheaper, durable, and MUCH friendlier to the environment. And I can attest to the fact, having seen pics of Buffy's adorable little boy decked out in his camouflage patterned cloth nappy, that they definitely have a high cute factor!
The average single baby household spends about $1,700 to $1,800 a year on disposable diapers and their accouterments. A household that uses cloth diapers will usually invest about $200 to $400 in a stash of diapers which will last not only the 2.5 years one child will wear them and can be used for each consecutive child too. Even factoring in laundering expenses the cost of cloth diapers is around $500 per year for one baby.
There are several different types of cloth diapers: contoured, fitted, pocket, all-in-one. With the exception of the all-in-one cloth diaper, nappies are generally covered with fitted pants made of everything from vinyl to bamboo to hemp. This is where your little one can really make a style statement. You can find every kind of panty pattern for your burgeoning fashionista. For additional information on cloth diapers visit www.natural-forces.com/essays/whycloth.htm.
In exploring the various diaper options out there, I kept coming across a mysterious anagram. WAHM. In time I came to learn the WAHMs, also known as work-at-home moms, provide a huge support system for going green. They buy, sell, and trade cloth diapers, make and sell natural cleaning products, candles, homespun yarns, clothing, and much, much more. It is a network that promotes moms pursuing their passion and creating a satisfying, lucrative business while staying in the home and spending more time with their families.
To check out an abundance of these fantastic businesses run by WAHMs visit www.hyenacart.com. Not only will you find some amazing earth-friendly buys, you just might discover the business inspiration for which you were seeking.
I can't tell you how it thrills and motivates me to meet these women who care deeply not only for their children, but for their planet. Kermit's momma would be so proud of how these tadpoles are being raised. It is by this example that we create a generation where wastefulness becomes the exception, not the rule.
< Assorted reusable diapers are available at
Scents of Hilton Head, Village at Wexford, HHI.