Green Parenting: An introduction to Cloth Diapering
It's tough to be Green. While technology like kitchen-top composters and solar-powered mobile phone chargers has made it easier than ever to facilitate a green household, our faster-paced society necessitates quick solutions for quick problems, and living green is often a laborious effort. In our household, we do what could be considered one of the most misunderstood of all green parenting actions - we cloth diaper.
When one thinks of cloth diapering, one may see old cartoon images of babes with swaddling cloth and massive safety pins on them. Older generations tell horror stories of scraping offending matter into the toilet, and hand washing diapers on washing boards, boiling, and hanging them on the line for what seemed like miles and miles of dingy squares in the midday sun. But, like everything else, “reusable” diapers have had a high tech makeover. New materials like polyurethane laminated fabric, originally created for the medical field, can be super heated to kill off any bacteria, but used over and over again as a waterproof barrier for the cloth inside. The inner fabric can run the gamut from plain folded cotton to brushed bamboo and microfleece, depending on the needs of the child. Even the liners themselves (the only part that actually comes in contact with the, shall we say, baby bio matter) can be washable or flushable depending on the needs of the parent. (Without going into the gory details, I will say if only liquid is present in the diaper I rewash the liner; if solid is present, I will flush the biodegradable and toilet system safe liner away). And on a purely aesthetic note, they are adorable. Who wouldn't want to be able to co-ordintate their child's outfit to their diaper?
I spoke with Laura from Fill-Your-Pants.com, an online retailer of many of the larger brands of cloth diapers, to get her perspective on the cloth diaper revolution.
Laura, why do you feel there is a resurgence in cloth nappies and diapering?
When we opened the virtual doors of FYP 3.5 years ago, I had seen a resurgence in cloth nappies in the USA where I had lived previously. I saw the huge and growing communities of cloth nappy using mums, and wanted to bring some of that enthusiasm for cloth to the UK. It doesn't take a scientist to realise that re-using a nappy instead of throwing it into landfill is the more environmentally sound option (despite the publication of notably flawed pieces of research over the years!) and parents often feel that sense of guilt as their bins groan under the strain of seemingly endless amounts of soiled nappies (and with most areas now only seeing fortnightly bin collections, these bins are most unpleasant!).Continued on the next page