Challengicious Monday: Green Your Diapers

>> Monday, February 22, 2010

Mondays are challengicious at The Conscious Shopper. Here's your next trash-related challenge:

Green Your Diapers

To complete this challenge, you can...


  • Switch to eco-friendly diapers. Look for chlorine-free and fragrance-free, and avoid sodium polyacrylate if you can. (Sodium polyacrylate is the chemical in the super-absorbent gel-like balls found inside modern disposable diapers, and some studies indicate that it causes infertility in boys. The jury is still out on this, so make your best judgement.)
  • Use cloth diapers at home. If your daycare service won't accept cloth or if you just can't handle cloth on the go, be a part time cloth user - use cloth at home and disposables everywhere else. You'll still save money and reduce your waste line.
  • Use cloth diapers full time. Modern cloth diapers are completely different from cloth of the past. You may be surprised how easy and convenient it is to use cloth.
The cloth vs. disposable debate is one of those unavoidable and unanswerable green questions. Like paper vs. plastic, it depends on whom you ask. There are certainly acceptable green options for disposable diapers, and if you're absolutely opposed to cloth diapering (you don't have a washer/dryer in your home, you live in a high-drought area, you have a germophobia), I'm not going to look down on you for choosing disposables. In my opinion, the important thing is that you've made a conscious choice.

And yet...I also think cloth diapers are the best choice for a Conscious Shopper because they save so much money. Later this week, I'll break down the cloth diapering money savings for you.

I know that this challenge is targeted at a very few of you readers. For those of you who haven't had kids yet, I hope you'll at least give cloth diapers a second look. And for those of you who are beyond this stage of life, use this week to take a look back at past challenges and reassess how you've been doing.

I've been using cloth diapers since First Son was just past two and Second son was approaching a year. Unfortunately, we've never figured out the nighttime cloth situation. I know other people are able to do it, but my boys have gotten crazy bad rashes from soaking in wet cloth all night.

So with Second Son and Third Son, we've done full time cloth until they started sleeping through the night, and then we switched to cloth during the day and disposable at night. My challenge this week is to give cloth at night one more try. But even if it doesn't work, I'm hoping to be diaper free within the next six months. (Fingers crossed for an easy potty training.)

For more specific information about greening your diapers, check out I Need...Diapers.

Will you take the challenge?

You have hereby been challenged to go green in a year without going broke! Check out the last challenge, or view the whole list of Challengicious Mondays.

Like what you see? Sign up for my RSS feed, follow me on Twitter, and join my "Go Green without Going Broke" group on Facebook! You can also find me over at The Green Phone Booth.


zee February 22, 2010 at 7:50 AM  

I don't have kids, but I always hang out with a very good friend who has a baby girl and I'd like to pass this on to her. :) She's recently been complaining about baby expenses and asking how she can save and I've always told her that going green is definitely the way to go! And, green cloth diapers are cute too! My friend will definitely take this challenge!

Wonder-ful February 22, 2010 at 10:10 AM  

I don't have kids, however....

As a caregiver for an elderly relative, I see "Green Your Diapers" and think "Where are the green Depends???"

I'm going to have to do some digging and attempt to find a greener alternative to Depends and bed pads.

Even when you think you're past the diapers... there's those darn disposable underpants!

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 22, 2010 at 10:41 AM  

@Wonder-ful - I thought of you while I was writing this (I remembered you saying somewhere that you take care of your grandmother). I haven't seen any green grownup diapers but I'm sure someone's thought of it. I'll look around...

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 22, 2010 at 10:42 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
cpcable February 22, 2010 at 11:15 AM  

I don't have children yet, but am hoping to in the near future and cloth all the time is the choice I'm going to try to make. For those wanting to go "beyond-marathon-runner" they might want to consider trying Elimination diapers at all! It's something I've only just begun reading about, but I'm very interested and will probably give it a try when I do have kids.

Wonder-ful February 22, 2010 at 4:34 PM  

I think I've been looking forward to this challenge more than the ones that directly affect me simply because of all the disposables we go through.

So far all I've found are cloth with waterproof underwear over them. I's still looking for something simple that we can do in small spaces in a jiffy. If it can be done and is absorbant, I'm in.

Lina February 22, 2010 at 9:10 PM  

Hi - Just a rah-rah for anyone taking on this challenge. We've used Fuzzi Bunz for all 3 of our kids now and have gotten so used to them that we even take them on trips with us (mostly because we tend to only go visit family and friends with washing machines :). I just wanted to echo your cost savings point. We have a 4 year old, a 3 year old (both now out of diapers) and a 6 month old and we haven't bought any diapers, cloth or disposable, since 2005.

Leigh February 23, 2010 at 10:03 AM  

We love using cloth. The BumGenius 3.0 seem to work okay for us at night.

Erin aka Conscious Shopper February 23, 2010 at 10:23 AM  

@Leigh - Our diapers worked fine at night until the boys started sleeping through the night. Then the 12 hour stretch was just too much for their little bodies. I tried adding more soakers to the pocket diapers, adding raw silk liners, using two prefolds inside of a wrap...nothing helped. It was so bad with Eli that I had to take him to the doctor. He also had bad eczema - I think my kids just have sensitive skin.

Leigh March 1, 2010 at 10:45 AM  

Yeah, I can see that if he would actually sleep all night (Please please please make that come soon), the BG might not cut it.

One thing we haven't mentioned is how CUTE cloth diapers are! In the warm weather, they don't have to wear anything else and they still look adorable. Much cuter than Elmo covered disposables.

Jessica April 22, 2011 at 10:29 AM  

I know this is a very old post but sells adult cloth diapers, called something like Cloth-EZ for Life or Snap-EZ for Life.

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