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Sunday, July 27, 2014

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The Great Cloth Diaper Debate i.e. Paper Products, Anyone?

The great cloth diaper debate. We have all had it. Why do you do that? Doesn’t it cost a lot upfront? I don’t think I coud keep up with the extra laundry. That’s so gross! You have poo in your washer! You are using up water to clean them. You are going to spend money on detergent and extra water and electricity anyways! I have always given the same answers…less waste, pre-rinse, sposies use water during their production and effect water quality in landfills, detergent/water/electricity is still cheaper…blah. I just don’t understand why it is so hard for people to accept! Recently I had an experience with another disposable product that I feel almost everyone can relate to.

Following my daughters first birthday party, we had tons of paper and plastic products left over. I decided to give myself a break from the dishes for a few days and use these up. Every single time I reached for those paper plates I cringed. Such a waste! It reminded me of my diapers. And then, flash! I had the perfect response to those naysayers.

Most people use “washable” plates. There is an upfront investment to these. Sure, that pack of paper plates is so much cheaper at first, but after months of buying paper, you’re spending more! Most people acknowledge the sense of this, even after washing dishes…night, after night, after night.

Of all the chores in my house, I find dishes to be the most disgusting. I hate cleaning off old food and reaching into dirty dishwater. Since most people do not throw leftover food into the sink or dishwasher, plates need to be pre-rinsed to remove solids. Remind you of anything? Everyday, people pre-rinse the solids from the plate, and then either wash them by hand or throw them in the dishwasher. They typically use some form of utensil for scraping or wear gloves to keep their hands clean.

Did I mention that in order to wash dishes, you use water? And typically hot water, which requires electricity*. And if you have a dishwasher, that’s even more electricity used. And you need dish soap.

Some people do use paper products consistently, but most people do not. Most people have washable dishwear. They clean off the solids (ugh *shivers*) without have to touch the gross stuff. They either wash them by hand using water and soap, or put them in the dishwasher…with water and soap. Hot water and dishwashers use electricity*. And why? Because paper plates cost more over time.

Because paper plates are wasteful. Because paper plates are not as “nice” or “pretty”. Because paper plates do not hold or contain foods as well. Because overall, even though paper plates are more “convenient”, we want the “real thing” in our life!

If people buy washable dishwear without hardly a consideration, why is cloth diapering so hard to accept? Spread the word, friends. And make cloth mainstream!

*I do acknowledge that certain heating systems do not require electricity

Bio: Carrie Long - Wife and mother of two beautiful girls and one angel. Occasional speech language pathologist and animal rescue enthusiast.

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1 comment:

Jessica said...

Right on. I had a friend we were staying with for a short while and she didn't understand why I reached for real plates over paper. "You must like doing dishes" no, not at all actually, especially hand washing (which they didn't have a dishwasher and I was doing most of the dishes, and we don't have a dishwasher since we got our place either). I just do what I have to and find using paper plates for every possible meal to be incredibly wasteful and expensive. They were really struggling with finances and still she would rather go out and spend some money on paper plates that would be better used elsewhere. It was a frequent thing too. I don't keep paper plates around. I wouldn't mind for when we have guests and such but just don't care enough to make sure we have them