Oh Diaper Genie, Please Grant Me 3 Wishes!

My genie doesn't come from a lamp and he doesn't smell like incense!

My genie does not come from a lamp and certainly doesn't smell like incense!

When Punditdad was a rookie daddy he had illusions about using cloth diapers, dissolving diapers or whatever type of diapers make Al Gore giddy like a school girl.  But, like all things, man is tested by his own limitations and the great and powerful god of Pampers soon reared it’s ugly head and has taunted me ever since.

My “green” intention was to not add more poopy diapers to the worlds burgeoning landfills.  But the simplicity, convenience and ease of use for the disposables quickly dashed those hopes.  From day one, if you don’t have an easy alternative to the disposable, then you’re out of luck, because my friend, the poop never stops.  Chalk it up to laziness or my ineptitude about baby-care, but it was one thing I couldn’t get a “plan” together on.

I didn’t really notice the amount of our diaper consumption until moving behind the Orange Curtain.  Despite the rampant political fascism that exists here, the curbside recycling is incredible.  If our household didn’t have  20 pounds of poopy diapers every week, our trash would amount to a small kitchen bag! Literally, our curbside would be an enormous amount of recyclables and a very small amount of actual trash.

But our trash is a like a smelly, pre-teen bully who doesn’t wear deodorant,  he jeers and laughs knowing that I took the easy way out. I could have bought the cloth diapers and done god knows what to my washing machine.  Something using a lot bleach. Word from my elders is that in the “old days” diligent moms used to soak the dirty cloth diapers in the toilet to let them “soak out”.  My god what a process.

To put it bluntly, everything I put in the Bean’s mouth, goes into a landfill rather than the Orange Curtain’s fantastic new sewage-to-drinking water project discussed here (aside: the professors at the water district are taking raw sewage, using some sort of amethyst-type sorcery and spells and turning it into good drinking water.  Of course, people who live like the people who live behind the Orange Curtain don’t drink water that several days previous was raw HUMAN sewage so the District is forced to pipe it to a lake miles away, let it sit for a year and then pipe it back to the faucet.  Yes, they put the SUPER CLEAN water into a water basin to mingle with the old regular water. Then after awhile they pump it back.  This is entirely psychological for the benefit of those living in the OC).

What is the impact of disposable diapers? Here are some facts I’ve completely cut and pasted from another site:

  • Eighty percent of the diapering in this nation are done with disposables. That comes to 18 BILLION diapers a year. Each one has an outer layer of waterproof polypropylene and an inner layer of fluff made from wood pulp plus super-slurper sodium polyacrylate that can hold a hundred times its weight in water.
  • Those 18 billion diapers add up to 82,000 tons of plastic a year and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp — 250,000 trees. After a few hours of active service these materials are trucked away, primarily to landfills, where they sit, neatly wrapped packages of excrement, entombed undegraded for several hundred years.

There is some debate amongst those who parse this sort of thing about whether the total amount of energy expended by disposable diapers is greater than cloth diapers. Disposables use 10 times more resources (measured by weight and including fuels) than cloth diapers and produce 50 times more solid waste. But disposables use only half as much energy and two-thirds as much water. Cloth diapers save landfills but load washing machines and sewage systems (by putting sewage where it belongs).

Either way, I feel the same middle class self-loathing that comes with knowing enough about the environment and the process to know you’re hurting it.  Maybe I can rationalize it by praying that the Bean, who is so well protected from diaper rash (we’ve had none), UTI, blood infection and E. Coli that she will grow up finding ways to heal her father’s harmful ways? Pray she finds a way to use diapers to fuel cars or heat our homes? One can only hope.

4 Responses

  1. We tried those cotton diapers for a few weeks and that was before he started eating solids. No thanks.

    I’ll take blood over shit on my hands any day.


  2. Dude. GDiapers. Go now. You can thank me later.

    PS: Thanks for stopping by my site, and double thanks for calling me nice names and making me blush. Now, GDIAPERS.

  3. OH hell no on cloth diapers! As parents, we are just doing what we can to make it through the day – I draw the line at many things – and if it’s not convenient – then who has time for it. Disposable diapers – here I come again with #2. There is no shame or guilt chez moi.
    And pundit dad, because you know and love my husband, you should know that he claims he “hates” the environment and “litters to create jobs”
    Take that up with him. I never said it.
    KT out.

  4. talk to me about cloth diapers…we use them and LOVE them. And I supposedly work for a living ;-), sorry, outside the home. Oh and better yet… we dont have a dryer, and we still use them. And we hang them to dry, in one of the wettest cities in the world. But what do I know, nothing about climate, that is for sure…and Gdiapers suck.

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