Monday, November 22, 2010
1. Los Angeles County has voted to BAN PLASTIC BAGS!! This may be the happiest day of my life after the birth of my daughter and my wedding day. Plastic bags are one of the greatest contaminants to our wildlife and waterways. By July 2011 all grocery stores will require you bring your own bag or pay 10 cents for a paper bag. By 2012 they will be banned in all stores and only legal for restaurant take out.
2. As Thanksgiving comes closer consider buying as much locally as possible. Hit the Farmer's Markets (Sherman Oaks tomorrow from 4-8!) and if you decided to get a Turkey try to get a hormone-free kindly treated one at Whole Foods or a similar store. I also just read a very interesting article on food waste. Every day American's waste enough food to fill the Rose Bowl. The amount of fuel that goes in to producing the amount of food we WASTE is 70 times the amount that was leaked into the Gulf of Mexico this year during the BP spill. 70 TIMES!!! So make less and eat all of the leftovers!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS! BLOG YOU IN DECEMBER!
totally depressing environmental fact:
recently PETA released a video showing the treatment of Turkey's at factory farms. the videos included farm workers stomping on the animals and twisting their necks.
totally inspiring environmental tip:
the vegan diet is the most energy efficient diet on the planet. so eating less meat will result in far less greenhouse gases!
Thursday, October 28, 2010
|Just hangin' with some pumpkins|
Really, truly if we are looking to have an eco-friendly Halloween we really need to only be concerned with two things: Costumes and candy. (Holiday decorations in general will be dealt with in a future post).
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
|Phoebe bawling her eyes out because I sat her|
down on a hill and she fell on her face...
and even worse I took a picture of it
There. Now let's move on to all the things that make us feel guilty.
I can't tell you how many conversations I have had with my fellow parents that start with, "I feel so terrible, I..." Most recently a friend shared with me her struggles with breastfeeding. Although she went to amazing lengths to keep nursing her baby, but for medical reasons she had to switch to formula. She truly had no choice but still manages to be wracked with guilt. I feel guilty when I turn the television on around my daughter. For the most part she ignores it, but there are those mornings when she wakes at 6 AM and all I want is a little "Today Show" to keep me from falling asleep at the high chair. Somehow even though I have woken up with her, nursed her, changed her, snuggled her, played with her and given her home-made organic food, at the end of the day all I can think is how the background TV noises and images must be rotting her brain. How could I do that to my child?
And then there are the actual times we inadvertently put our child in danger. Like when I was cutting grapes for Phoebe and absent-mindedly handed her the grapes the the hand also yielding the sharp knife. Or the time I reached down to pick her up in her car seat and my heavy purse slipped off my shoulder and landed squarely on her face. Or the time on vacation when I strapped her in to her car seat, only to realize as we arrived at our next destination that I never secure the actual car seat to the car. I was heavy with guilt for days after that one.
Every so often I like to ask myself, "What would the world be like if everyone lived like I do?" I think this is a good barometer for your daily life. If everyone was like me there would be no plastic bags, an over-population of farm animals, and when a new line opened up in the grocery store every would say, "You were already ahead of me, you go first!" People would always use turn signals and compact car spaces would be taken up by only compact cars. We all might have type 2 diabetes from our sugar consumption and we would have higher-than-normal water bills because of our luxuriously long showers and incessant hand-washing. But if we encountered a piece of trash on our neighborhood walk we would pick it up and the earth would be spotless! And most importantly all of our children would be nurtured and loved.
The number one thing the Dali Lami will tell you to meditate on is compassion. But some how we don't include ourselves in our compassionate mindset. We are loving to our families, our children and the environment, but hard on ourselves. I recently read an article where a woman asked each member of her family, "How can I love you better?" What if you asked yourself the same question...
totally depressing environmental fact:
20% of preschoolers and 50% of all children are obese due to unhealthy food choices and sedentary lifestyles
NEW! In addition to our totally depressing environmental fact, I will include an Uplifting Little Tip on how you can do something positive!
uplifting little tip:
if you can't afford a water-saving toilet, just put a brick in the water tank to lessen consumption.
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Back when Phoebe was only a few weeks old I was desperate for sleep. I was reading everything I could on getting a baby to sleep longer or more often. At the time I was averaging four to five hours a night and would spend my waking hours wondering if someone could actually die from lack of sleep. I came across something, somewhere, and once I read it I had a complete paradigm shift. It basically boiled down to: What makes you think you deserve eight hours of sleep?
Hold on. But...I do! I'm...so sleepy....(tears, tears and more tears)...(dry the tears)...(think about it)...
That statement truly changed me. We, and by "We" maybe I mean "People living in 2010" or maybe I mean "Americans" believe we have the right to certain things. Like I have the right for my Internet connection to be fast or I have the right to not have my Trader Joe's stop selling that one product I love. But the truth is these are all conveniences. And once we get out of the mind set that we deserve our lives to as easy as possible, the easier it becomes to deal with life's annoyances.
[Side note: I was watching the movie "Summer Place" on Friday. It was made in the 50's and a woman in the film keeps referring to her toilet as "my convenience." I love it!!]
While shopping at one of my favorite stores, Green and Greener (http://store.green-and-greener.com/servlet/StoreFront), the owner told me about Fresh Kills Landfill. I had never heard of it. But apparently it is the largest man made structure that can be seen from outer space. So I guess we have to make a choice; either keep filling the landfills, or wake your sleeping baby because you needed a salty snack.
totally depressing environmental fact:
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
For those of you who know me, you know there is no way I can afford a Mercedes. And that is fine with me. I could care less what kind of car I drive. I chose my car for the gas mileage and airbags, not because I thought people would envy me cruising past them on the highway in my sweet Scion XA. But this commercial wasn't about status symbols, it was about safety. And there is nothing that will make you feel worse about your parenting than thinking you can't afford to keep your child safe. It occurred to me yesterday when I was speaking to some other mothers about convertible car seats. These range in price with the safest being the most expensive. So, if you can't afford the safest one, does that mean you don't care about the safety of your child?
What a terrible decision for a parent to have to make.
So I wanted to share with you an essay I wrote for Momversations while I was pregnant. It has nothing to do with being green, but if you are in a similar financial situation you may be able to relate...
by Rebecca Sage Allen
Thursday, September 16, 2010
So, let's talk about Earth-friendly traveling, shall we?
I've said it before that convenience is the enemy of eco-consciousness. But so is stress. When preparing for our August trip to Michigan, thinking about the two flights there, the two flights back, the car trips in between, etc. I thought my brain might implode by adding cloth diapers into that equation. Plus, the last time we flew with Phoebe she was four-months-old and 100% breast-feeding, so everything was easy peasy. How does one bring home made, organic baby food on vacation? And toys? And books? Aye-yi-yi! Well, here is how.
First of all, if you don't have an awesome mother-in-law and sister-in-law, go out and grab some. I know I am ruining every modern cliche but I absolutely love my in-laws. They did everything they could to make this trip as easy as possible on us. Regardless of how you feel about the people you are visiting, lean on them to help you get thru this. If they can provide pack-n-plays, strollers, etc, let them. If they don't have any baby accoutrement or you are vacationing alone, there are plenty of websites that rent baby equipment so you don't have to bring your or buy it new. Just put in the the town you are visiting and baby rental into a google search and it should pop up!
If you are feeding your baby homemade food this is a bit tough. My Mother-in-law bought us a little food blender intended to make one-serving smoothies and it worked perfectly! The first day of our trip we went grocery shopping, bought a bunch of organic veggies, steamed them, blended them and stored them. I have this little contraption called "Zoli" that I love. It is little food or formula bowls that all screw together that you can serve from. I'll put a link below. We brought our own multi-grain baby cereal since it is super light and travels well. Along with a few spoons and a few empty bottles we were all set!
If you are a cloth diaper family I cannot say enough good things about the diposable gDiapers for travel. You can flush the inserts or just throw them away. I hate to say it, but I think cloth diapers on the road are nearly impossible. Or just, truly the greatest, stinkiest pain. If you go the gDiaper route, bring lots of back up covers and liners.
Our trip happened to take us to a fairly remote part of the country. The one grocery store (actually called "The Mercentile") didn't have much of a selection. So we brought a few jars of organic store-bought baby food to get us thru. Also, half way thru the trip we ran out of gDiapers. I had to buy...I can't believe I am even writing this...huggies. It truly broke my heart. So if you happen to be on an adventure far from civilization and don't feel like bringing the entire nursery with you, consider having a box shipped with your supplies. Either do it yourself or order straight off of Diapers.com, Amazon or whatever your favorite baby website is. With baggage fees being what they are you probably won't spend any additional money on the shipping. Can we take a moment to discuss the scam of baggage fees? The price of gas has gone down airlines, stop making us pay because you are running your business into the ground.
And, speaking of taking advantage of the customer. Do you know when you have a baby you can bring bottled water with you on a flight? I claimed it was for "formula" even though I was breastfeeding. It was somewhat hilarious though, as the security guy pulled my two giant Smart Waters from my bag and asked, "How long IS your flight?" He actually confiscated one because he thought my water usage was "excessive." We're really out there fighting terrorism people.
Whatever choices you make to ease the burden of travel, just think twice before you make "excuses." With a little planning you don't have to be any more destructive to the planet than you are on a daily basis.
Oh, so you want to know what song I was listening to, sailing across the English Channel, heart shattered in pieces? Not a chance! I'm in my thirties now, I don't have let myself be embarrassed.
totally depressing environmental fact:
Monday, September 13, 2010
And just something to think about... it is estimated that plastics take roughly 1000 years to break down in a landfill, but just 10-20 years when exposed to air and sunlight. It's clear we need to rethink how we dispose of the trash we have disposed of. You know, when you throw it away and the truck comes and makes it "magically disappear."
totally depressing environmental fact:
plastic is petroleum based, and it’s estimated we use 1.6 million barrels of oil every year, just making plastic bottled water.
Friday, September 10, 2010
|My new favorite piece of litter. Found on a hike in Griffith Park.|
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I'm thinking about all this right now, because it turns out that this town I am visiting DOES have a recycling program. And they've had one for years! The problem is, not everybody knows about it. And the bigger problem is, you have to bring it in yourself. This is of little issue to my sister-in-law, who lives in Montana and has to drive even their regular trash in. But to people on vacation, I'm sure this seems like the hassle of all hassles. Because not only do you have to drive it somewhere, but you have to separate it as well. But what am I going to do, walk around town reminding people that after they sleep in, take a swim in the lake and enjoy a leisurely stroll down the beach they should go back to their vacation cottages and spend some quality time separating their #1 from their #2 plastics, loading it into their cars and driving it into town?
I saw this woman in the "Today" show that started a movement by putting post-it notes on public bathroom mirrors that said things like, "You are beautiful!" And while the story made me want to gag, I also recognize that it was brilliant, because it became infectious, and people started posting positive affirmations everywhere. It is beautiful because it is subtle and anonymous, but pervasive, and exactly the kind of thing the green movement needs. I realize that anyone who reads this blog is probably just as passionate about the environment as I am and I need to find a way to reach the people who are apathetic about recycling, pollution or conservation, but I am at a loss...
are post-it notes terrible for the environment?
totally depressing environmental fact:
|On a pristine beach on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a small valley in the sand collects bottle caps and plastic wrappers, and yes, way off in the distance, a plastic tampon applicator.|
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Saturday, August 7, 2010
|Pictured: A photo my friend Deanne sent me. Not sure who this baby is, but she seems pretty happy!|
- Of course, the most Earth-friendly foods are the ones you make yourself. It is not nearly as time-consuming as I thought, but if you can't do this Earth's Best is organic and Gerber has an organic line of solids. Tasty Baby and Plum Organics are also great brands
- I heavily relied on the book “Super Foods,” by Ruth Yaron. It is a really fantastic resource. The cheapest place to get it is Amazon.com
- Making the food as soupy as possible was a huge help
- Mixing the food with breast milk or formula was imperative
- People will give you mixed opinions about giving your baby water. Make up your own mind, but after Phoebe started eating food we gave her a sippy cup with water that she could drink from whenever she got the urge. Some experts will tell you the more water they drink the less they will want breast milk or formula. My pediatrician disagrees with this and I have not experienced that problem. Read my last blog entry for some green H2O solutions
- If you are anti-dairy there have been a few scary reports that soy has damaging effects on babies and children. When I consulted with my pediatrician she said that no study has been conclusive and in her opinion if soy was an issue for babies then all of Asia would be suffering the problems
- I occasionally give Phoebe formula. I had been giving her a soy-based one until I realized that the first ingredient on soy-based formulas is CORN SYRUP SOLIDS! Disgusting. My friend Kim helped me do some research and she found a brand called “Baby’s Only” that makes an organic soy formula with rice syrup in stead of corn syrup
- Many books that teach you how to make baby food will tell you to freeze it in ice cube trays. I would just make sure they are BPA free. I have a few containers specially made to freeze baby food in that I love from “Beaba”(thank you Karen!) and “Baby Cubes” that are BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free. I dare you to pronounce that last one.
- Look for Farmer's Market's in your area and purchase your food there. Everyone knows that buying local is better for the environment, but you also support your local economy, meet the people growing your food, and give your kids the chance to see all of these delicious foods beautifully displayed! www.localharvest.org can show you where to get locally grown produce in your area, and www.farmersmarket.com can give you a directory of farmer's markets near your home
- If you can afford it, make sure your baby's fruits and vegetables are organic. There was one sentence in "Super Baby Foods" that had a profound effect on me: "Pesticides kill living things." I went totally organic after reading that. If you are on a tight budget, here is a list of the "dirty dozen" foods that are best to be organic:
|12 Most Contaminated|
totally depressing environmental fact:
a mercer island, WA
Monday, August 2, 2010
My Achilles heel of conservation is water use. I love water. More specifically, I love long hot showers. I think submerging yourself in water is the cheapest form of therapy around. There is nothing better than closing the doors and standing in the middle of the rushing of warm water after a you've had a long hard day, an illness, or just been dumped.
The first week of being a mother I took an indulgent two showers a day. It seemed to be the only time I could get any peace and quiet; to be totally alone. Also, after 30 hours of labor and non-stop nursing it felt like liquid Vicodin. I think there is something hereditary about my love of water. We grew up spending all summer at the Jersey shore (No jokes, please. And yes, my bangs were gigantic). My dad, mom, brother and I would swim from the moment we woke up until the whole beach cleared out. When my grandfather came home from the WWII, after surviving months at a concentration camp and POW camp, the first thing he wanted to do was go swimming in the Atlantic, to heal him. Water is truly precious to me. I should do more to protect it!
Here is a list of small things you can do to conserve water, or learn more about its quality:
1. It's always best to use a little baby bathtub or your kitchen sink to wash the wee ones. Filling a shallow bath will waste more water.
2. If you can't afford a gray water system for your entire house, or you live in an apartment like I do, you can create your own gray water system. If you shower, place an empty watering can in your shower to collect excess water to water your plants or yard with. If you bathe, you can scoop up your used water (don't be grossed out, plants like soap! Especially if you are using plant-based shampoos and soaps.), and if you are using a baby bathtub, drain it directly into the watering can.
3. Showers always take less water than baths.
4. Turn off the water when you are shaving.
5. Do not, DO NOT water your sidewalks. I'm sure none of you do this, but I am always completely baffled when I see this happening.
6. Don't water your yard at peak sun hours.
7. Use a water filtration system instead of bottled water.
8. You can now recycle Brita filters! You can deposit them at participating Whole Foods http://www.brita.com/support/filter-recycling/ . None in LA participate in the program yet, but you can send them in. Just follow the instructions on this website: http://www.preserveproducts.com/recycling/mail.html
9. If you are worried about the quality of your drinking water you can take a closer look at your community's water at the following two websites:
epa.gov/safewater/ccr/ and ewg.org/tap-water
10. A good dishwasher saves more water than hand-washing.
11. Make sure all of your cleaners are gentle on the environment. The best way to protect our water is to monitor what we put into it. Never dump any pills down the drain as they will get into the water system.
totally depressing environmental fact:
as if the oil leak wasn't depressing enough, there is a "garbage patch" floating in the atlantic ocean twice the size of texas, primarily composed of plastics, and a "dead zone" in the gulf of mexico the size of massachusetts where no life exists, due to the run off of farm fertilizers.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I had the pleasure of attending two baby showers in the last two weeks. I was really excited to celebrate two more lovely little girls coming into the world. And while I had a blast at both, you know what was going thru my mind as each expectant mother unwrapped another fantastic gift? Look at all this trash we are making!!
All the food was made by friends and family, so there were no huge plastic trays involved. Our friend Kim made the most delicious vegan scones and cupcakes (Shown in the photo above. She is an insanely good vegan baker. Go to her website and have your mind blown, www.cestlavegan.com). We used dishes...yes DISHES and real cups. We bought a few biodegradable, recycled plates and some silverware made of corn. But for the most part we just took home the dishes and washed them.
In lieu of balloons or a lot of decorations, we did the old, "clothesline of baby clothes" and potted flowers that all the guests got to bring home with them. I had a fantastic time, surrounded by whom I consider to be the coolest ladies on the face of the planet. And went home feeling so good about my friends, my new baby, and the low-impact our shower had. So why am I sitting around these other showers, devoting half of my brain to obsessing over the trash bags full of paper, plates and forks that will never biodegrade, and the other half of my brain jealous of how cute everything looks?!
So often I feel like this is a dilemma we are faced with when trying to be good to lady earth: Should it be cute, or conscious? I could wrap this gift in the most adorable paper with baby bunnies on it, surround it in a beautiful bow with matching baby bunnies, and place the entire thing in a gift bag with baby bunnies on it, gently cushioned by mounds of tissue paper...covered in baby bunnies. Or I could stick it on the gift table and cover it with my sweater.
The theme of this blog has always been compromise. So here are some ideas to make your parties adorably green!
Always save and re-use gift bags and tissue paper. Wrapping baby gifts in baby blankets turned out to be adorable and you can do it with towels, scarves, etc. I make a homemade reusable wrapping paper out of fabric. Basically, it's just fabric wrapping paper with ribbons attached. Use it forever! Try a reusable shopping bag or left over wall-paper, magazines, newspapers, maps etc. I had a friend once wrap a gift in old headshots. There are "wrap bags" you can use over and over (www.reuseit.com). You can purchase biodegradable seed paper at www.realgoods.com. Your paper will make flowers bloom!
In some cities you can recycle your gift wrap, but the tape must be removed as it is petroleum-based, and basically terrible for the environment.
I'm just going to say it. Let's do some dishes people. Really, let's get zen about it. Use it as a time to meditate and reflect on how great the party was. Or think of it as a way to burn off the calories that you ate. But if you can't be convinced to get dish-pan hands, here are some great disposable products:
Nature Friendly, Solo, Eco Products, Preserve and EATware all make plates, cups and silverware that are either biodegradable, recycled, compostable, or made of sugar.
I'm going to say it again. Let's do some wash people. Cover the tables in REAL tablecloths, and use cloth napkins. This is where I think cute meets conscious head-on. Nothing is lovelier than real tablecloths and napkins. But if you don't want to take the time to get the chocolate out of your great-aunt's lace tablecloth, here are some options:
Seventh Generation, Marcel, and CVS Earth Essentials have either unbleached or recycled disposable paper napkins.
If you can really only manage to do the bare minimum, try this:
Recycle all those plastic cups and plates you are using.
Make sure left-overs go home with people or are put in the fridge so they don't spoil.
Put your used wrapping paper out with the recycling.
And please, please, please, just say no to balloons and those vinyl tablecloths. There is really no redeeming green quality to them.
And let's not forget the power of a great wig...
totally depressing environmental fact:
Plastic cutlery is non-biodegradable, can leach toxic chemicals, and is ubiquitous all over the world. Worldcentric.org estimates 40 billion plastic utensils are used every year in just the United States. The vast majority of these are thrown out after just one use.
Monday, July 26, 2010
I had to fill you all in on the great cloth diaper strides we have made as of late! The big change is that Phoebe no longer wants her diaper changed every two seconds when she is in cloth. I don't know if she has just gotten used to it, or is a little bit older, but there is no difference right now in the number of changes I make with cloth and disposable diapers.
I thought the Snappi was great? I was crazy! I got some Bumkins diaper covers and they are BLOWING MY MIND! You just put the cloth into the cover and attach it like a regular paper diaper. Easiest thing ever. Reuse them until they get messy, then wash them with the diapers. I ordered some additional Bumkins that are coming today (there is a great package on sale at drugstore.com), but my friend Jenna uses "Thirsties" and loves them as well.
I also ordered "wet bag." This is to use in place of plastic bags. It is a leak-proof cloth bag to put all your dirties in, then just toss it in the wash.
I have been using the gDiaper cloth inserts. They are great because the don't have to be folded and are as soft as...well...a baby's bottom. I would like them to be a little more absorbent, but according to a review I read, after six washes they plump up and start doing much better.
The result is in the past twelve days we have only used TWO disposable diapers!! Once when I ran out of clean cloth, and once at a baby shower when I was desperate. And do you know what it costs me to use cloth diapers per week (after the initial purchase of the diapers)? $2.25. That is compared to the $23.00 I was spending per week on Seventh Generation or Earth's Best. By the way, Earth's Best never got back to me with the questions I asked them about their diapers and wipes.
Speaking of wipes, you can buy reusable cloth ones on amazon.com.
Feel free to write to me with any questions or thoughts so we can get all moms and dads on board with the cloth. According to my gDiapers packaging 500 million diapers a day are put into landfills. That's you depressing environmental fact!
Here are some more great links provided by friends and readers:
Monday, July 19, 2010
When you have a baby, time is at a premium. So why am I wasting so much time coming up with ridiculous titles for my blog posts? I spent about twenty minutes brainstorming terrible ideas like, "Hand-Me-Downs Across America," and "Don't Hand Me Down...Bruce!" and of course, the gem I went with. It is very unlike me to make a GNR reference. If I keep up these terrible titles I may be able to land a job at the New York Post. Burn, New York Post!! I digress...let's get down to business.
Like any good Art School Alum, I love to shop at thrift stores. But I remember a few years ago seeing a rack of baby clothes at a Goodwill and thinking, "I would never buy my baby used clothes." I don't know what it was that turned me off so much. Maybe it was the fact that strangers have worn them, or that they were not crisp and clean and new. Maybe I felt like it would make my baby seem "poor." But after just six months of raising Phoebe my thinking is completely different. When you are having a baby, especially a first baby, and especially a girl, people love to give you clothes. I am just as guilty! I will pass by all of the truly needed items on someone's baby registry to grab a pair of newborn jeans or baby Chuck Taylors. Phoebe has a wardrobe that would put Carrie Bradshaw to shame. And while I love it, it is a full-time job keeping up with it. I want to make sure everything gets on her at some point. But even with my diligence she has outfits that she has worn a total of ONE time. When people say, "They grow up so fast!" they mean, "Literally, they grow up...really fast. Like one day she fits in a onesie and the next day she doesn't." So I'm over it! And while some of my favorite outfits have been the deliciously adorable ones that friend's and family have given us from Janie and Jack and Gap Kids, I am totally okay putting her in my cousin's sons pants or my neighbor's kids jumper. And yes, even the occasional $.99 t-shirt from Salvation Army. Because aren't thrift store clothes just hand-me-downs from strangers?
Here are some great bonuses to consider with hand-me-downs, craiglist and garage sale purchases, second-hand and consignment shops:
Lack of packaging
Package accounts for something like 30% of all waste. (I'll get the real facts on that). So when by using used clothes or hand-me-downs you eliminate the production waste, the gas it takes to get to get the clothes to the store, all the packaging that surrounds it when it gets to the retailer and the additional packaging (tissue paper, box, tags) to get it to your home.
If we've learned anything Kathy Lee Gifford it's that most clothes come with a human price tag. There is a great new campaign called "Free to Work" that will tell you what companies are not using forced child labor in their manufacturing. www.free2work.org. Get ready to be depressed about all the products you use that are NOT listed on their website. When you get used clothes, even if they were produced under poor conditions, you are not making them re-produce even more clothing.
Most Goodwill stores, Salvation Army stores, and other thrifts stores where the proceeds go to a charity or not-for-profit are tax free, and you can write off your purchases as donations! Take that, IRS!
Always wash baby clothes thoroughly.
Wash any toys or furniture items with appropriate warm soapy, water.
ALWAYS check to see if items have been recalled. You can go to www.cpsc.gov, the Consumer Product Safety Commission or even do a general google search.
When buying something off craigslist or at a garage sale, ask if the household has had any pets in case you are allergy sensitive or are wary of fleas.
My whole adult life I have asked myself the question, "Am I a conservationist, or am I just cheap?" Truth is, I am both. Luckily they can go hand-in-hand. So by doing this I reduce packaging, manufacturing, trash, and child labor, and in the meantime if I happen to save myself 80% on Phoebe's clothes, her crib, and her stroller, then I get to save the money for more important things like pre-school, college, and cloth diapers. That's right! I did it! I managed to take an article about hand-me-downs and drop in some more cloth diaper propaganda!! My pro-cloth-diaper agenda will be the "Where's Waldo?" of my blog.
REMEMBER, RECYCLING IS MORE THAN JUST BREAKING DOWN AN PRODUCT AT THE END OF IT'S LIFE, IT IS GETTING AS MUCH LIFE OUT OF A PRODUCT AS YOU CAN.
totally depressing environmental fact:
banning child labor and educating all children would raise the world's total income by 22%, or $4.3 trillion dollars over 20 years.
-International Labor Organizaion
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Disposing Of The Paper Diaper
One of the biggest problems with trash in general is that we time-capsule it in thick plastic bags. Any of you who know me know that my enemy #1 is the plastic bag. I have nothing good to say about any plastic bag; grocery, trash, ziplock or otherwise. So when it came to disposing of our diapers I knew we would have to get creative. Our diaper pail is a tiny little metal trash can. I like keeping it small and simple so I am aware of how much trash I am making. Periodically we dump the diapers from the wee trash can into our kitchen trash can. We use these phenomenal trash bags from CVS "Earth Essentials" brand that are biodegradable. I am not going to pretend that these never rip and the hardiest thing ever, but if you put your priorities in order I am pretty sure that saving the earth will come in above cleaning up the occasional kitchen spill.
When we are out and about I try to throw our dirty diapers sans bag into any available trash can, but if you have to travel with it there are biodegradable diaper sacks. We use "Keep Me Tidy Clean and Green Diaper Sacks" from Classy Kid Inc. Longer name, please. They claim the bags break down into tiny pieces that eventually convert back to Earth when exposed to the natural process. The packaging is also made from EVA (more on EVA vs. PVC in an upcoming post). You can get them at Babies R Us or www.classy-kid.com. And they're cheap!
A totally easy commitment I have been able to make is to reusable wipes. Early on, when I was using regular disposable ones I turned to my mom during a particularly messy diaper change and said, "Oh my God, what did you guys use for wipes when we were kids?" Her answer was, "Washcloths." This almost made me faint. I couldn't imagine anything more horrible! But I started reading about families that made their own cloth wipes and solution at home and decided to give it a try. And it turns out I love it! Our friends Boyd and Anne loaded us up with great hand-me-downs from their daughter Wenonah and among them was a huge pile of what I though were little square burp cloths. But after reading the cloth wipe articles I decided that this was their intention. I still haven't asked them about it. If either of you are reading this...let me know! If you don't have a Boyd and Anne in your life, then just make a trip to a craft or fabric store and buy a yard of fabric you think would be absorbent, soft on baby's bum, and easily cleaned. Then just make some homemade solution (recipe below) and either squirt the wipes with it and wash baby, or I make a big bottle of it, fold all the wipes into the wipe warmer, and saturate them. This way these soft little wipes are kept warm and moist. After using them, just toss them in the bin with your dirty diapers and wash all together. I'm not a saint. I still keep the disposable ones around for travel and what my friend Karen has named "poo-splosions."
-2 TBSP baby wash
-2 TBSP olive or grapeseed oil
-2 CUPS water
Can we take a second to give huge props to our mother's, our grandmothers, and every other parent in our lineage that didn't have any options and wrapped our bums in sheepskins and banana leaves? Thanks!
CLOTH DIAPERS- THE FINAL WORD
The bottom line is that cloth diapers are the best choice for the planet, and your baby's skin, but require extra work for you. But here is the biggest bonus to choosing cloth...YOUR BABY WILL POTTY TRAIN MUCH, MUCH FASTER! That's right! When you make a baby too comfortable in a paper diaper they have no reason to want to use a toilet. And the more they get used to them, the less fussy they are about wanting them changed so frequently.
This blog has been so good for me. It is making me do more research to get good answers and re-commit to cloth. I contacted Seventh Generation and Earth's Best with two questions: Can the packaging for the diapers and wipes be recycled, and Can the diapers be composted? Here is the depressing answers I got from Seventh Generation (Still have not heard back from Earth's Best):
Just like most disposable diaper designs in the marketplace, Seventh Generation diapers are not biodegradable, nor can they be composted. Many of the materials used are synthetic, and do not biodegrade.
Most diapers end up in a landfill where they will not biodegrade, even if they were designed to do so.
The tubs for the baby wipes can recycled, they are a number 5. The refill wipes packaging is not recyclable, we are working to make this recyclable.
These can't be composted, our R&D team is looking into new ways to package our products in packaging that will have the smallest impact possible. We hope to have some new packaging available soon.