I've been doing a bunch of green parenting talks of late. Generally I go through my top 10 how-to-live-green list, adapting and tweaking it slightly depending on my audience. I obviously love to talk to a big group, but when I get a small one, it enables me to do Q&A as I go through my list, rather than waiting until the end of my spiel. Answering questions as I go along means everyone (mostly) gets answered. It also teaches me a lot about what's on the collective mind. And these days, apparently, it's diapers.
My answer is usually some version of what I've written about diapers here (The Case for Disposable Diapers, Parts I and II) and in The Complete Organic Pregnancy -- that conventional disposables aren't a green option, and that it's a toss up between "green" disposables and cloth diapers (so says the NRDC), unless you're washing said cloth at home and line drying them.
I haven't actually written about diapers in a while, and I have some new(er) information I've been mentioning at my talks that I'd like to share here.
First up, Hain Celestial has purchased TenderCare/Tushies, one of the "green" disposable options on the market. This happened a while back (in 2007) but I just recently saw their new packaging on the TenderCares at my local health food store. I've heard some rumors that the new versions aren't as good as the old. Has anyone out there who liked the old version (I know some people felt they were leaky and bulky but we really liked the Tushies and they worked for us) tested the new version? My daughter has been out of diapers for over a year now so I am on the lookout for people who have tried them. Let me know in comments or email me?
Next up, I had a chance to sample the Nature Babycare diapers as they're selling them at the new Green Depot flagship store not too far from where we live. I have written about them before but haven't pulled them out of a (biodegradable) bag in a while, and they look and feel a lot differently than I remember - i.e. they've been redone or too many years of sleep deprivation have wrecked my memory. Or both. They are nice, flexible and thin and worked beautifully for my newborn test subject but less well (i.e. not overnight) for a two-year-old who pees copiously in her sleep. What they're made of is also good for newborns. From their website: "Nature babycare diapers are 100% chlorine-free and keep oil-based plastics away from babies delicate skin. Our absorbent pulp is from sustainably harvested Scandinavian forests and the unique design of our ultra-thin absorbent core creates a more comfortable fit for your baby while providing enhanced leak protection."
Finally, the most innovative thing I've heard of in the diaper arena of late is Bambino Mio. It's a hybrid cloth and disposable. You get diaper covers (polyurethane coated polycotton) like you would with cloth diapers, and cloth diapers (100 percent cotton but not organic cotton) and this may be all you use. But they also come with flushable liners that go on top of the cloth which you can use all of the time, just when you're on the go, or overnight, or what have you. Most cloth diapers deal with the need for a disposable by using one when they have to. With a hybrid, you're not tossing out entire diapers, you're flushing liners. And these flushable liners don't require that you stir them around in the toilet bowl with a swirl stick before flushing them, as gDiapers do. They come in various packs, including a $500 set that is meant to take you from infancy to potty training. They're European, so have already been tested by that market. If you're interested you can check out lengthy British reviews of them here. Buy them stateside at Giggle. Ali Wing, Giggle founder/CEO, recently began offering the hybrids and can't say enough about them. Bambino Mio also sells an antibacterial cleanser to put in with a wash load of their diapers that doesn't list its ingredients other than: "100% biodegradable and chlorine-free oxygen-based bleaching agent." It also says it "doesn't contain any enzymes, synthetic perfumes." Wing will soon have a cost comparison up on the Giggle site that will compare the Bambino Mios to other diaper options. Bottom line is that they'll be cheaper than disposables across the board.
Pretty interesting, no?
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.