A bowl of water, confirmed


Green living is–never mind what anyone says–often more complicated than the alternative. The temptation always looms to opt for convenience at the expense of the planet. Sometimes, a short break from one’s eco-habits is just the ticket for renewing that willingness to do things the hard way.

I’ve written here before about using cloth diapers. There’s another component to diapering that’s sort of a mini-version of the cloth vs. disposable choice every parent must make. Namely, what do you use to clean off that cute little tush?

Baby wipe containers: a little-known component of landfill fodder.

I know of three choices: disposable wipes, wipes made at home using paper towels, and plain old washcloths. That last is what we’ve been using, and it’s not exactly convenient. There’s no room in our bathroom (or anywhere near it) for a changing table, so we trot back and forth across the house with a big stainless-steel bowl of water, usually holding our daughter with the other arm. Then we deposit daughter and bowl on the bed–close enough to each other that an adult can reach both, but far enough away that she can’t grab the edge of the bowl.

By comparison–especially in the middle of the night–disposable wipes are an absolute joy to use. And use them I did, for a recent period of six days, while I was out of town and the bowl/washcloth system would have been truly impractical. Oh, the ease! And oh, the waste!

In less than a week, I used an entire box of wipes. Yes, they’re the "eco," chlorine-free brand. But they come in a large, nonrecyclable plastic container. I was shocked to realize that, if we used wipes all the time, we’d be contributing one of these boxes (plus a basketful of wipes) to the landfill, every week. My commitment to the bowl of water, and our reusable washcloths, is refreshed.

Anyone had a similar experience, where indulging yourself for a while sent you back to greenness?