Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day 2009: You, too, can do this

Happy Earth Day everyone! It seems like everyone in bloggerville has a favorite holiday where they do something fun on their blog. So I claim Earth Day.

Last year, I wrote how every year we try to do something better for the environment. One year we stopped using papertowels. This coming year we are investing in a CSA so our produce will come from a local, organic farm. The goal is to make our change a habit, so we continue to live more sustainable existence.

It occurred to me that I never wrote much about our 2008-09 Earth Day resolution: to use cloth diapers.
To be honest, I was afraid I would do the first load of poopy diapers and fail miserably at keeping the resolution.
And then we found the holy grail of cloth diapering your kid: the bumGenius 3.0.

Of all the products and brands in Missy’s life (and there are a lot), one of my hands down favorites is her bumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers.

The bumGenius is truly genius. It makes cloth diapering a cinch. Show a BG to your mom and watch a wave of jealousy roll across her face. You can practically see the thought-balloon over her head: why didn’t they have these when I had my kids?

I joke about being a hippie. I have a hippie streak in me that runs a mile deep. But you do not have to even be marginally hippie to cloth diaper your kid. Especially not if you use BG diapies.

My goal is not to pontificate. By gosh, if you have a diaper brand or system that works for you, by all means, keep at it. Life is complicated enough. But if you are reading this and have even an inkling that you’d like to try cloth diapering, then consider the BGs.

You can visit the BG website to check out all the product attributes, so I won’t bore you with details. The things I really love about them include:

(1) We are not clogging up a landfill with diapers.
(2) There are no chemicals near my daughter’s body (I don’t actually know what is in the diaper lining of disposables that becomes a gel-like substance when babies pee on it. That’s because manufacturers don’t have to list the contents. But I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if it is non-chemical).
(3) BGs are super easy to clean. You literally toss them in your washer. 2 cycles of wash and they come out white as snow. I shake out the solid poop in the toilet, but Missy was almost 8 months old before I had to start doing this. As a side note, before I had a kid, I super-skeeved out on all the poop stuff. With your own baby, however, it is kind of like scooping your own dog’s poop. It doesn’t bum you out too much.
(4) There is very little smell from the diaper pail because we "do the diapies" (as we call our diapie washing exploits) every other day. Which sounds like a lot, but the practice has become rote.

Doing the diapies adds approximately 6 loads to laundry duty per week because you wash the BGs once on cold and then again on hot. Trust me. 4-6 additional loads of laundry in the scope of how much your laundry will increase is nothin’.

Some may point out that it takes more energy to wash diapers over and over as opposed to simply throwing away disposables but that argument fails to point out how much energy it takes to produce & ship three years worth of disposable diapers per kid. Our 20 BGs were made once. And shipped once. Because they adjust to sizes from 8-35 lbs., we’ll use these until Missy is potty trained. Or if we have another kid. Or we’ll re-sell them. The going rate for used BG 3.0s in Portland is 50% of what we paid for them.

We started out using a diaper service with our own set of diaper wraps. And this was a super way to get on the cloth diaper train. But then the service raised its rates and Missy outgrew the wraps, which cost nearly as much as each BG. All of a sudden being a hippie wasn’t so cost-effective. You can be sure Cowboy did the math.

The BGs have only 2 drawbacks. First, they are spendy. We invested $350 in our set of 20 diapies but we consider it a capital investment. Depreciated over the cost of 2-3 years (not to mention kid #2 should we be that lucky), it is a pittance of what disposables would run.

Another side note, a trendy thing in Portland is to hold a baby shower where every guest brings a small gift + one BG diaper to help the parents-to-be complete their diaper stash.

Second, most cute baby pants, especially constructed ones such as jeans or corduroys, do not work well with cloth diapers in general because the rise on the pants are too short to fit over the baby’s bubble butt. So we do the cute one-piece rompers instead. A small sacrifice in my book.

Anyway, I hope that this post convinced at least one person to try cloth diapering. There is so much information and a plethora of products out there that it is daunting to figure out. I did a lot of groundwork to arrive at the BGs as a solution. Just thought I’d pass on the good word.

What have you done this year to minimize your impact on the environment? Please post your cool ideas in my comments section. I'd love to hear what everyone is up to.

Or you can just call me a flippin' hippie. It will make me laugh.


Sushilover said...

Thanks so much for posting about the diapers! You've caught my attention and I'm definitely looking into these suckers that you talk about. Not sure how do-able it is with twins (it already seems I'm doing a load of laundry every minute) but I definitely am interested enough to look into it!

Oh and also, awhile back you had a question about a song playing on my blog, the artist and title are
"I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. I love it too. Music is something that has made me laugh and cry all through my losses and pregnancy with the twins and I love posting songs that reflect my feelings of the post. There is a player at the very bottom of my blog that should list what song is playing and what songs are coming up if you are ever interested in knowing what one is. :) Glad you enjoyed my pick!

Malloryn said...

Thanks, this is a very helpful post! I learned a lot about BGs and will seriously consider them when we have a match someday :)

~ Accountant with a hippie side too

Wordgirl said...


This is definitely the post I needed!

Thank you -- and Happy Earth Day Ms. Planner...



K @ ourboxofrain said...

We too love our BGs -- and love that not only is our daycare provider fine with using them but she's been talking them up to the other parents! I'll admit, I love our Blueberries even more, but they're too spendy to justify owning more than 2 of.

Oh, and since Harry is long-ish (taking after his father in that regard), we just go up size in pants. Gymboree is a big fail cut-wise, but most other brands fit okay even with the bubble butt.

Dancer said...

We're using disposables. The monkey is in daycare and they won't cloth diaper....anyway, I wanted to tell you that $350 is a great investment. That would've gotten us about 6-7 months of disposable diapers....and Monkey will be wearing diapers longer than 6-7 months for sure.

Fertilized said...

You flippin Hippie!

We use BG 3.0 as well. I have one Dream Ease that I think I am liking a lil more BUT told they do not hold up well.

Thalia said...

They sound great, I wonder if we can get them in the UK.

Btw, most things are 'chemical' when it comes down to it - organic strawberries, vitamin C tablets, aspirin, the earth underneath your fingernails when you've been gardening, your breastmilk. So it's not really the right criticism to level at the nappies. Plenty of other ones, but not that precise one.

L said...

I second (or third?) the BGs. They are awesome and now I dread traveling because we have to use disposables.

I have never had a "blow out" with a cloth diaper and got them all the time before we switched to cloth.


Lori said...

You're a braver mom than I.

Happy birthday, Ms Planner!

Lorza said...

That is awesome about this type of cloth diapers! Do you use a plastic diaper cover too? I am a little confused.

Happy earth day!!!

here from LFCA!

Carrie said...

Flippin' hippie!

Lovely to hear from you. I wouldn't expect anything less of you.
And I agree about the disposible nappies, the gel stuff must be avery artificial substance. Hadn't really thought about it before.

stickybun07 said...

I second Lori--you're a braver mom than I! But that's why I admire you. :-)

Jeff9 said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at www.bathroomsprayers.com they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review: http://jonathanandandrea.blogspot.com/2009/04/spray-it-or-scrub-it.html

Fiddle1 said...

Wish I had done the math. The initial cost of bum genius one size scared me away and I went with prefolds and wraps. Chipmunk is 4 months and I'll have to size up sometime this month. If I'd bought the one-size from the beginning it'd probably been the same. The prefolds and wraps are less bulky, though, and she can wear anything. Plus, I'm not sure I would want to stuff them and take the inserts out each time. Oh - and line drying helps mother earth also (and stains)!