Dont assume composting is the real poop on the diaper dilemma

Rating: NNNNN Q: After long discussions with my husband, we decided that cleaning reusable diapers isnt something we want to undertake..


Rating: NNNNN

Q: After long discussions with my husband, we decided that cleaning reusable diapers isnt something we want to undertake. Are gDiapers a worthwhile option?

A: The closest thing I have to a child is a very coddled cat that, luckily, uses the litter box. But I do empathize with the green guilt load new parents have to deal with when deciding which way to go on the bum wrap issue.

Truthfully, cloth-pushing parents arent necessarily holier than thou if theyre running their washer (full of hot, bleach-heavy water) and dryer (one of the most energy-intensive appliances) day and night.

Only air-drying parents come out clean especially if they use sustainable materials and wash them with green soaps.

Clogging landfills with plastic-laden disposable diapers can really gnaw at planet-hugging moms and dads. Even if your municipality accepts your diapers in a door-to-door composting program (like the T-dots green bin), it doesnt mean you aint landfill-clogging.

Though the diapers poopy cellulose pulp goes into the composter, the plastic is shipped to Michigans glorious dumps, where it will take a good 500 years to break down.

And health-store-brand disposables like Seventh Generations might not be bleached with elemental chlorine that creates ulta-bioaccumulating dioxins at the factory level (a very good thing for fatty tissues everywhere), but otherwise theyre made with the exact same petroleum-based plastic as other diapers.

Enter gDiapers. Theyre the bum- wrap for breeders who want their babes to be well-dressed and light treaders in one mini-step.

Theyre basically a flushable diaper system with an adorable reusable outer pant and an inner lining made of wood pulp from farmed trees. (No old-growth trees are axed, the company tells us, but trees are chopped to make the cellulose.)

Like Seventh Generation, theyre free of nasty bleaches, perfumes and dyes.

A little controversy has bubbled to the surface in alt circles over gDiapers and Seventh Generations use of super-absorbant polymers (SAPs).

SAPs were associated with toxic shock syndrome in tampon users in the 80s, but, seriously, babies wont suffer from toxic shock from having a little of this stuff near their bums, and there is no evidence that sodium polyacrylate (the SAP used in diapers) is dangerous to kids when absorbed through the skin.

Still, some parents will tell you it gives their babies rashes. Others say it helps keep skin dry and rash-free.

The good green news is that you can actually put pee-soaked gDiaper liners in your backyard compost bin, and they should degrade within 150 days.

Never put liners soiled with number two back there, though Torontos industrial composters can handle them. If you live outside city limits, youre I have to say it shit out of luck.

Thats when dDiapers flushable feature comes into play. If you have a powerful toilet, you might be able to get by with one flush, which would put you on a par with cloth diaper users who shake their babys business into the loo before they wash them.

But gDiaper actually says youre likely to have to flush twice to get them down. Youll have to do your own calculating to compare how much water your toilet uses per flush and the amount of water your washer would need to do a load of dirty diapers.

If youve got an old washer and an old toilet, you might be neck-and-neck again.

Ultra-wise cloth lovers will kick your ass if theyve got one of those cheap, portable mini washing machines that do a 5-pound diaper load using 90 per cent less water and very little power. (See Wonder Wash washing machines online for details.)

I ran the idea of flushing gDiapers by the citys waste manager, and let me tell you, he was not pleased. Hed rather not see anything that doesnt come out of our bodies go down there, since the city just scoops it all out and sends it to landfill.

Even the poop. No kidding.

So theyre not dirt-free, but are gDiapers a greener compromise for parents whod rather bypass cloth and dont want to support the corporate landfill-cloggers? No doubt about it. For Torontonians who can green-bin the liners, even better.

Got a question? Send your green queries to ecoholic@nowtoronto.com

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