Are cloth diapers the most eco-friendly choice, or are there disposable options that make the cut?
Andrea, London, Ont.
Disposable diapers are landfill magnets — in some cities diapers and other disposables (razors, plastic wrap, paper coffee cups) are estimated to make up about eight per cent of total household waste. Disposable diapers are also made from plastic, with chlorine-bleached stuffing and added fragrance chemicals. The good news is that cloth diapers aren’t what they were 30 years ago.
Today they’re stylish, eco-friendly (some are even manufactured with wind power), 100 per cent organic cotton, and you can find brands made in Canada — definitely a worthy choice. There’s no need to buy new cloth diapers either. Source them from thrift or secondhand stores — they’re washable, after all. Surf online for “green” mommy websites, which host a plethora of tips, advice and product reviews by real moms. Word on the street is a diaper service makes a perfect baby shower gift and can be a cost-competitive option to disposables.
Another option, teetering between disposable and reusable, is the gDiaper. Like a cloth diaper, it has a reusable gPant that you line with a biodegradable or compostable gRefill — you can only compost the wet ones not the solid ones. These refills are free of elemental chlorine and perfumes. The company also makes a reusable cloth insert. The gRefill is actually one of the first consumer packaged goods with “Cradle to Cradle” certification. That means everything that goes into making the biodegradable and flushable gRefill breaks down in 50 to 150 days.
Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.