Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Diaper mountain

The math is sobering - and a bit stomach-churning.

To start with, there are 300 units in our apartment development. Perhaps 250 are occupied by families with at least one child still in diapers (yes, we're a young lot).

Sonny, who's hit the seven-week mark, gets through between five and eight sets of diapers a day. If we take six as an average for diaper-users, that means (250 X 6 =) 1,500 soiled nappies are discarded, every day, at just our tiny condo community. Give it a mere month, and we'd have our very own mountain (30 X 1,500 = 45,000) of these partially non-biodegradable bundles which, over 400 years on, will likely still be clogging some landfill.

On recovering from these back-of-the-envelope calculations, and after an Internet sweep that further promoted at least trying cloth nappies, we decided to take the plunge. Well, more like dip our toe in. We had earlier bought a stack of reusable diapers, but never gotten round to using them (except as makeshift blankets and swaddle cloths). So we resolved to use at least one a day.

And it was yesterday morning, in fact, that Mum first folded and refolded the square piece of cloth, popped in the liner, then wrapped the result around Sonny's midriff like a zhong zi (glutinous rice dumpling). It looked amusing and lasted an hour before it had to be speedily changed, already damp and with the colour changing alarmingly.

We know, we know: There are higher-tech, more absorbent reusable diapers on the market. But for now, we'll try to stick with what we have, and see how things go. Thoughts from anyone with 'nappy testimony', it must be said, would be especially welcome. We're not expecting to realise any financial savings from our cautious approach. But, hey, every little blow for the environment - and every dent in that diaper mountain - ought to help, right?


fraemone said...

read ingrid bauer's diaper free. i took ryan off diapers in the day (barring trips outside) by the time he was three months. saved me a bunch of $$ i believe. besides, i think it's just totally gross to have to sit in your own poop/pee. it gets confusing for the kid cos in the 1st months of his life, you teach him it's okay to go in his pants, then all of a sudden when he's older, you train him that it's wrong and he has to go to the potty. makes more sense to me to just put him on potty from start. (but mostly, it's just cheaper!!)

Cloudsters said...

That Bauer book: Consider it read. Cheers, Fraemone.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the number of wipes we go through everyday too! Jeanne taught me a good wipe-saving strategy - just wash their butts directly over the sink - cleaner and u save on wipes too!

Cloudsters said...

Thanks for the tip, though this sink-'n'-clean-'em strategy would seem to require plenty of arm strength and balancing skills.