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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

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Forget Saving Earth

When I was planning for my first baby I never considered cloth diapers. When people asked I thought they were slightly crazy in fact. I had even read an article all about how, because cloth diapers take energy and water to wash, they actually weren't environmentally friendly. And that they didn't save you money unless you used them on two children or more. I don't know where this article came from, but it needs to be banished from the planet.

At some point I became curious about cloth despite this article. Maybe it was a group I belong to online, or seeing moms in my local momma's group use cloth. I can't remember. Life with a baby is so busy often the details become blurred and forgotten. Any-who, I started doing some research. All of the reasons to switch to cloth are pretty standard: saves you money, environmentally friendly, cute... yada yada. Boring. I had my own reason. I was getting really tired of taking the disposable diaper trash out.

I'll need to back up at this point and give you a little more information about myself. You see I live in the woods. Bear country to be exact. In fact I saw one just yesterday. Did you know that bears love trash with diapers in it? Yeah, me neither. Oops. Since we get many woodland visitors we have to store our trash in the chicken coop (we do not currently have chickens. Their demise is a different story). The coop is about 25 yards from the house. We don't have trash service out here, so it piles up till we get sick of it, or need an excuse to get out. Then we (read: my husband) haul it all to the truck and head to the dump, where we have to pay to dump it.

So in the summer those diapers were stinky. My husband can tell you all about it I'm sure. He is the one in charge of loading the garbage.

The garbage doesn't smell in winter of course. No then it is just freezing. Literally. We have entire months when the thermometer doesn't get above 32. I've seen it -20 on our deck. That is negative twenty. Yeah. Just to take out the garbage I would have to 1) pull on snow boots 2) find and put on my down coat 3) trudge through the house to collect the trash (in my boots, spreading muddy snow everywhere 4) pull on thick unwieldy gloves 5) try to tie garbage bags in gloved hands. The gloves of course are to keep your hand from freezing to the latch on the coop. That hurts.

It was only November and I was already procrastinating taking out the sposies. I knew by January I would have a weeks worth of smelly diapers in the baby's room. My fear of extra laundry began to be far outweighed by my dislike of freezing metal latches and icy pathways.

Throwing an extra load in the washer began to look better and better. And I began to fall in love with cloth. All of those cute prints, you just can't beat it. Of course, I told my husband all the usual things that we cloth diaper junkies do. That we would save money. He wouldn't need to deal with dirty diaper trash. Better for baby and the environment. No runs to the store to get more. That's a big deal- we live at least ninety minutes from any box store, the only places to get cheap disposables.

Honestly, the environment is great and all. And I am so happy to be doing a small part in protecting it. But at the end of the day I would rather stay inside with my washing machine and ever growing stash of cloth diapers then to go outside and enjoy the sub freezing environment in person.

Bio: I am a stay at home mom of my brilliant and beautiful 1 year old daughter, and a loving wife to my devoted and hard working husband. Before my life as a mom in the woods I got my background in childhood education and psychology, and worked at a play based preschool for three years.

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Jill said...

amen, amen! we only live in the country in the midwest so no bears, but coyotes, foxes, and dogs that no one ever seems to keep tied up go through and destroy our trash. Not to mention the crows. they like tampon applicators, too. ugh. nothing is safe and I was 100% thrilled to be using cloth when we moved from town out to the boonies. We still have trash pickup once a week but if it snows then the trucks don't run. I have a 'take it up the hill' thing -- it's a steep hill. All in all, I'm glad for baskets of clean fluff, not bags and bags of stinky sposies!

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I was not at all worried about the environment (ignorance is bliss). I choose cloth for my third son simply because I had no clue how I was going to afford $20+ a week on diapers. After doing the math I discovered that I could save a fortune! I scrounged up the money to get started and now I am saving $20+ a week for less than an hour of my time. They paid for themselves in about 6 months. The doctor called me a trend setter and others admire me for saving the environment. (I am no longer ignorant and am happy to do my part.) I guess being broke is trendsetting. Works for me! :)

Dairygal said...

We live in the high desert. No trash pick-up. Lots of skunks (do you know how much skunks love trash?) Racoons, coyotes, and our own dog. It's not pretty if the trash gets left outside very long. Plus we burn our trash, a big no-no earth, i know, but spoozies don't burn. At all. I mean they melt a little, but the poop is still there for the skunks and racoons, and etc. Yeah, that's the real reason we switched. I don't like skunks or racoons, or our dog chewing on dirty diapers.