Saturday, February 13, 2010

trying to be green-ish...

My brain is working ahead to a possible Earth day event our church may be hosting or co-hosting this spring, and I'm thinking about the ways our family is trying to get
When I was pregnant, I wanted to go VERY VERY green. We signed on for a cloth diaper service (with coin laundry, doing our own seemed like guaranteed failure) and I decided to go with glass bottles when I returned to school and J needed to be bottle fed.
We did the cloth diapers for 2 weeks, but then my illness set in and... well, that all fell by the wayside. As for the glass bottles. My mom reminded me how much they would weigh in my diaper-bag as I tried to commute with baby... and we opted for something a little different. (Which would've happened anyway with our life situation, and because J only liked the playtex wide nipples, which don't fit on glass bottles)
But... months later, after moving into our parsonage and settling back into our lives, we did take some steps to "re-green" our parenting, but we're taking it in baby steps. (pun definitely intended)

In my illness, we had turned to playtex drop in bottles. They were perfect because they were easy to put in, fill, use, and throw away. After life started to settle down, we made the very easy switch to playtex ventair. J could hold them easily, and the wide ones use the same nipples he was used to with the drop ins. In addition to cutting down that horrifically plastic-y trash, it cut our costs, which was nice, especially since formula already costs so much. Then, we began our move towards greener diapering. We bought a gdiaper set up with gcloth inserts. We bought 6 outer pants, 36 gcloth inserts, and 2 extra snap-in liners. We already had a diaper champ, which can be used for cloth diapers (though if you're starting from scratch it isn't the BEST option out there)
Our experience with them has been pretty good overall. The gcloth had to be washed and dried 6x before use to "break them in" but that wasn't a big deal at all- a mere weekend project. We initially had some problems with a faint ammonia smell remaining in the diapers... I can't handle that. I got on the University of Google, and learned that we could use baking soda in the wash and vinegar in the first rinse, then a clean water second rinse. This solved the ammonia problem BUT... you should NOT USE VINEGAR ON THE OUTER PANTS OR SNAP IN LINERS... especially not the liners. This has resulted in the liners not remaining waterproof. Bummer.
The good news: I can replace them all for only about 20 bucks.
I am learning that some detergents can actually make the ammonia smell worse, so at the suggestion of some of my more devoted cloth diaper friends, I'm considering a trial of Maggie's Soap Nuts. I'll let you know if we get brave enough to try cleaning our laundry with tree berries!
There are definitely times when we still opt of the traditional, very un-green disposable diapers. When we travel, disposables really are easier. We have purchased some travel size wetbags, and had reasonable success gdiapering away from home during our Christmas vacation. We still use disposables at night, though I might like to make this switch as a part of my Earth Day pledge. Finally, from time to time, *Stuff* happens... lots and lots of it. When J was cutting his molars and reverted to 5-6 nasty, sticky, stinky, poopy diapers a day, I was not interested in rinsing that many cloth inserts in the toilet. On top of that, I've screwed up those snap-in liners, so, the gdiapers are getting a break until we get new ones.

So what's my point? There are lots of ways to go green, and many shades of green parenting. If you are a parent, or a parent to be, take it one step at a time, do what you can to go green, and when that becomes natural, take the next step. Going green is just like any other lifestyle change, it only works if you do it in a way that you can sustain in your less than ideal real life.


  1. Thanks for the tip. I hadn't thought about the weight of the glass bottles - definitely an issue for me. We already have our gdiapers. (They are impossible cute and really freaked me out. "You mean we're gonna have something that fits in there?") Our plan right now is to use cloth at home and gDiaper disposables elsewhere. (It is amazing how quickly they degrade!) We have a washer& dryer in our condo, but I'm not really terribly excited about the whole washing diapers concept. How bad is it?

    BTW, everyone we know with kids says the diaper Genie II is the way to go...

  2. I am in awe of your greeness - with your busy lives it is inspiring!

  3. TInman,
    I think moving to the gdiaper disposables is a next step for us. I think perhaps we could use those at night and when we're "out and about." I'd like to get to where we don't buy the disposables anymore. I don't think washing them is bad at all, though we are still working out the kinks in our own system. I think you'll do better with it doing it right from the start, when everything is new anyway.
    I wish I had checked out the Genie II, I hated the original diaper genie, and the diaper champ boasted flexibility between cloth and disposables, which has been great. It is also really good at keeping odors inside. BUT... when you open it to do the laundry the ammonia smell will knock your socks off!

  4. Wes, Charlotte and Brennan,
    I find it very funny that you are inspired by our attempts at being green. You guys are among my role models with the cloth diapers and the organic and locally grown foods.... lol.