June 26, 2011

Why I'm Using Cloth Diapers- specifically, the gDiaper

gCloths (still needing to be washed!) on left & gPants on right
My gDiapers have finally arrived in the mail! After thinking and dreaming about using these hybrid, cloth diapers for over a year now [yes, before I even knew I would be pregnant so soon], I finally get to hold them in my hand!! I never even considered using cloth diapers until I took a Sustainability course at MSU. I did an entire research project on the gDiaper products and fell in love with the idea of using a safer, more earth-friendly product. I plan to write several posts related to my gDiaper experience. I have no doubt that it will be a positive one, but I will be sure to give an accurate account of my experiences, good and bad. Until a few days ago, I've only talked to one other person who uses cloth diapers. Everyone else absolutely despises the idea and complains to me saying I will change my mind... [Seriously people? I am highly dedicated & even more motivated by people who say I will fail. Just a quick FYI.] Anyways, I want to tell you why I am so addicted to these diapers without ever having used them yet.

Cloth Reduces Ecological Footprint
To begin, cloth diapers are much, MUCH more sustainable than disposable diapers. If you don't know anything about disposable diapers know this concept. Disposables produce too much garbage. One child alone can go through up to 8,000 diapers. This produces around 1 ton of garbage per child. In 2004, the United States alone sold between 18-24 billion disposable diapers which all ended up in landfills. Only 18 billion diapers alone use 82,000 tons of plastic a year and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp -- 250,000 trees. It takes one disposable diaper 500 years to decompose! It has been said that diapers are the 3rd largest consumer waste product in our landfills... The statistics go on forever. [I have not forgot about the whole debate on filling up landfills vs laundering energy expenses... but I will not go into much detail. I have a energy efficient washer and plan to use an eco-friendly detergent. I personally believe cloth is STILL better for the environment than disposables.]

So, with that being said, my main driver to using cloth is to reduce my ecological footprint. gDiapers are not created with plastic, which is non-renewable. gRefills [the disposable option of the gDiaper] are 100% biodegradable and take 50-150 days to fully compost. COOL HUH? When I have my own house with a yard and a place to create a compost... that is what I will be doing. Another important reason I plan to use gDiapers is that the company is constantly working towards becoming more and more sustainable. Their focus is to become Cradle to Cradle certified [Good book. Read Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things]. Currently only their gRefills, the disposable option of gDiapers, are certified. This certification means to take into account all the costs of a product's lifetime. This includes the raw materials needed to create the product, how it affects the consumer, and how it is disposed of and returned back to Earth. It takes into account both human and environmental health concerns.

Cloth is Less Toxic
Disposable diapers are created with harmful chemicals and gels that are needed for the extra absorbency. They contain Dioxin, which is a highly toxic by-product of the bleaching process. Sodium Polyacrylate is the gel that makes the disposable diapers super absorbent. Just an FYI, this gel was banned from being used to create tampons in 1985 due to the increased risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. I still don't understand why disposable diaper companies are allowed to use this in an essential BABY product. Blows my mind. Also in these diapers there is the biocide, Tributylin, which is used in killing and preventing the growth of bacteria. The World Health Organization ranked this chemical as one of the most toxic substances in consumer products today. CRAZY.

There is a pitfall to using cloth too. If you are using cotton cloth diapers, you have to careful with where and how the cotton was grown. Cotton uses A LOT of pesticides to maintain and you don't want those on your baby. However, this is difficult to overcome because most of our clothing is made with cotton. It's almost a lose-lose situation unless you use only organic cotton, which is a good goal to have. I know gDiapers are made with a combination of cotton and hemp. [I am pretty sure they are organic. Anyone know for sure?] If you don't buy organic hemp, hemp alone does not require many pesticides to grow well.

Cloth is More Comfortable 
Cloth diapers are much more comfortable for babies to wear! Don't believe me? How about you wear a disposable diaper for a week straight and let me know how you like the diaper rash and itchy plastic between your legs. Next wear a cloth diaper, or a gDiaper for a week. It's made of cloth... it's softer.

Cheaper- More $$$ For the Fun Things in Life!
While gDiapers are not the cheapest method of cloth diapering, they are definitely more affordable than using disposable diapers. At one point I calculated out all the savings we will have using gDiapers and it's AMAZING. We will save around $1000 in diapering costs for one child. We plan on having 2 children total [though you never know what will happen]. But the awesome thing is that we won't have to buy diapers for our second child because we have already purchased them for the first! So really we are saving between $2500-$3000.

Cloth Helps Potty Train Toddlers Faster
Cloth diapers allow children to potty train faster because the child will be able to feel the wetness and bowel movements better. If they are more aware of their icky diaper, they will become more uncomfortable, which gives them incentive to potty train faster. This may sound a bit cruel but regardless on whether you use cloth or disposable diapers, babies do not like sitting around in a messy diaper... It's gross.

While each child varies in the time it takes to be fully potty trained, cloth diapers can help a child potty train up to 6 months earlier! This factor alone gives me motivation to use cloth diapers! Why volunteer to change diapers for more months than you have to???? Silly parents.

gDiapers are Cute
These diapers are just so fricken' adorable! I plan on having my baby girl wear these with only a little shirt on this summer. No one will ever know she doesn't have bottoms on because it will look like a complete outfit.

I purchased the green and orange gDiapers because they come in a 6-pack, which makes them cheaper and gender neutral [in case our 2nd child is a boy]. But gDiapers come in many different colors and prints if you don't like those colors. I MIGHT end up buying a cute purple one just for the fun of it... but for now I am content with the ones I have and can't wait to use them!

Keep checking in for more updates with my gDiaper experience. For now, all I can say is that I really like the idea of them and they seem like a very convenient introduction to cloth diapering. I will post more on this subject once my baby is born and she begins wearing them!

3 Weeks & 2 Days Until My Due Date! ♥

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Thanks for reading!
xx Monica xx

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