Eco-Diapering: A contradiction in terms?


I have two boys under the age of 3 and I can tell you that whether I want to deal with it or not, poop is literally often on my mind, or hair, or hands, or clothes… When in it comes to babies, it seems creating “waste” is the majority of what they do. How do we as parents (and adult consumers) make conscientious choices about our children’s poop?

When I was pregnant with my first, Pierce, I read a lot about the whole cloth versus disposable debate. The conclusion that I drew was that cloth is the better choice. 

But the debate did make me pause and encouraged me to look at other alternatives. And boy, are there alternatives. You’ve got your standard disposable numbers, all-in-ones (AIO’s to those in the know), cloth diapers (organic or just un-bleached) with plastic waterproof covers, felted wool covers, waterproof fabric covers with Velcro, with snaps and so on.  And don’t forget: Diaper pails, diaper pail deodorizers and the almighty “Diaper Service.” Whew.

Then I came across what seemed to be the holy grail of diaper-dom: the g-Diaper. What they are, in essence, is a combination of disposable, cloth and the AIOs. The inside liners are flushable or if they are just wet they are compostable. The whole package stays on your baby with Velcro tabs. You can also substitute regular cloth diapers for the flushable liners.

Awesome, mostly. g-Diapers don’t come cheap. Plus, after the first post-partum rainstorm, our compost pile looked like the remnants of a gnome slumber party (the liners kept absorbing water until puffy, bloated and saturated). The flushing went fine until we hosted a big family gathering for a few days with lots of Indian food (We’re still not sure if the blockage had more to do with the Indian food than the g-diapers). So, now we skip the liners and opt for cloth inserts.

Except when we’re on a trip, we now use cloth diapers pretty much exclusively. We have a simple method for laundering them at home and a system for keeping things as stink-free as possible (baking soda). All of the research paid off because we found a way to be the least wasteful with our kids’ “waste.”

Then again, there’s always Elimination Communication

Do you use cloth diapers for your little ones?