In her article, 50 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Diane Solomon cuts to the chase by simplifying ways EACH OF US can help cool down our earth. I say "our earth" because until we take personal responsibility we won't truly make change.
Solomon's states, "The basics of reducing our individual carbon footprints are to do what Henry David Thoreau said: 'Simplify, simplify.' We couldn't agree more, so we added a bit of our own knowledge about cloth diapers to some of her suggestions to show how easily these ideas can be assimilated into a cloth diapering system.
- GO SOLAR. Most of us don't have the funds to convert our home to sustain itself with solar electricity, but we can reduce our electricity consumption. This is VERY easy with cloth diapers as they love to be put out on a line to dry. Determine you'll take the extra time to hang dry your cloth diapers and cloth diaper covers and you'll find your time balance out from not having to spend the additional time soaking and scrubbing out stains. The sun loves to eat away at all your diaper stains, naturally sanitizing and deodorizing them while they swing in the breeze. So, not only do you reduce your electricity usage, but get clean, fresh-smelling cloth diapers to pamper your baby's bum. And honestly, there is just something therapeutic about hanging and removing cloth diapers from a clothesline.
- HUG A TREE. Or rather, don't support the products that cut them down in the first place. Remember, disposable diapers are made up of paper pulp in their absorbent core. Yes, we could plant a tree for every disposable diaper, but we're cutting much faster than our trees can grow and depleting far more than we're replenishing. Use cloth diapers, reduce tree cuttage. It is that simple.
- USE LESS PAPER. Same as above, but let's take it one step further. Consider using cloth baby wipes. Not only are they softer on your baby's bum, but if you use terry wipes, the loops in the fabric "grab" baby's messes instead of smearing it like the paper wipes do. You don't throw them away - you toss them in a wash and then, once again, you can hang them on the line to dry.
- NO TRASH BAGS. With disposable diapers you need a place to store all that paper and plastic, and guess where that place tends to be? Yep, in another plastic trash bag. Reduce plastic trash bag consumption by using cloth diapers you don't HAVE to throw away. If you own a Diaper Genie, then you are adding even more trash bags to the mix. We've a good deal to say about the most useless, yet costly, nursery item you can buy.
- USE THE SUN TO DRY YOUR CLOTHES. Yep, we mentioned this up there in the suggestion about going solar. You can dry your clothes, towels (make sure it isn't a HOT day or they'll get a bit crunchy), and cloth diapers on the line. The sun works as a great bleaching agent, which is great for diapers, but if you're drying darks, make sure to keep them out of direct sunlight.
- GO SECONDHAND. Ever heard of anyone re-using a disposable diaper? Exactly. And yet Diaper Service quality Prefold Diapers and cloth diaper covers can be used over and over again, even through subsequent children. THAT is basically the same as compounded interest ... the savings grow with each child.
- DON'T DUMP. It is estimated that one child will use over 1 ton of disposable diapers in their diapering years. If you are using disposables, your trash significantly increases. Reduce your garbage by switching to cloth diapers. Less visits by garbage trucks equals less gasoline and oil burned. This cloth diaper stuff just looks better and better for reducing carbon footprints, doesn't it?
- REDUCE PACKAGING AND PLASTICS. Disposable diapers are paper wrapped in plastic, wrapped in more plastic and given to you in a plastic bag after you purchase them from your local store. Cloth diapers reduce packaging and plastics. No plastic wraps, no plastic bags, no plastic. Go cloth and reduce packaging and plastics.
- DON'T BE A SLAVE TO CONVENIENCE. The #1 reason parents use disposable diapers is convenience. Wrapping it up and throwing it away is just easy. Oh come on, we all know that the things that are worth the most in life are things we work toward getting or doing. Do the right thing, don't use disposable diapers because they are more convenient. And besides, with today's cloth diapers, that really isn't as valid an argument anymore. Try pocket diapers or All In Ones, making sure to be efficient when washing and drying, and you'll not only reduce your carbon footprint, but maybe you'll be leading your children by example.
So many good suggestions and so many are conducive with the switch from disposable diapers to cloth diaper. THINK GREEN and you'll think cloth, it's that simple. For more information on how you can reduce your carbon footprint, or to even find out what exactly a carbon footprint is, visit Zero Carbon Footprint