Monday, June 01, 2009

Sustainable Baby & His Eco-chic Cheeks

Butt cheeks, that is.
Sometimes you have to ask yourself just what kind of eco-friendly you are being. Eco-green or eco-cheap? Well, sometimes you're being eco-green, and that's my favorite.
What does this all have to do with Snapdragon's bottom? Well, I've had a few epiphanies. That might be an overstatement, but nonetheless I've had some thoughts.
Baby wipes are A) expensive over time B) a waste of raw materials C)expensive to transport, and D) yet another avenue for human waste (and I do mean poo) to wind up in landfills where it doesn't belong. Clearly cloth wipes are the solution. Reusable to the nth power, and without all the questionable chemicals on that unscented wipe you can still smell from two feet away.
But, ewwww you say? Its no more grosstastic than wioing down your baby's newest abstract mustard art creation with a thin sheet of porous papertowelesque fibers, is it? If you're already using cloth diapers (fluffies is what we call 'em in our household) then you're already rinsing and washing, so these are actually easier. No more hunting for a trashcan near the grocery store enterance, wipes in hand after Mt. Babybutt's latest carseat explosion or peeling them out of the fluffies to throw away when you get home.
But greening baby butt wiping isn't so easy. We are easily seduced by the convenience we've been trained to believe disposable wipes are. So if you're having a hard time making the switch, here's a greener and cheaper way to do disposable while weaning yourself to cloth:

When you pull that wipe out of the container, rip it in half and put half of it back.

I'm not saying don't use the other half if you need to, by all means be clean about it. We don't want any rashes on any soft & sweet little bottoms, but make yourself use that first half til it is good and fully used. Then use the second half if your LO's bottom, legs, feet or any other part still needs it, heck use another half if you need to, but just remember to rip it in half and use them like you're serious about it. You'll be surprised how many fewer wipes you're suddenly using.

But if you're ready to take the risk and switch to cloth, you've still got options.

Eco-green: Buy some nice WHAM-made (not mega-corp commercial, while yes they're more efficient, I think the planet is also benefitted by supporting the WHAMs of the world who aren't commuting 2 hrs a day each direction too) cloth wipes. They're so pretty you'd never think of throwing them away, althiugh it might be tough to wipe that runny goo with some of the absolutely gorgeous fabrics that these wonderful ladies use to make their wipes, in the end you can wipe with a light green kind of pride.

Eco-cheap: Make your own wipes. Its pretty straightforward. They're typically two layers of a pourous and grabby material (flannel and terrycloth are pretty popular) about 7 or 8 inches square, surged or zigzagged copiously around the outer edges, or trimmed neatly with piping or bias tape. My mom is keen on sewing them inside out, right sides together, and turning them, pressing them, then topstitching. Viola! You have your own cloth wipes and didn't have to have them trucked to you.

Cheap-Eco-GreenER: make your own wipes out of t-shirts you stained and won't rewear or flannel pjs that you wore til they grew holes. Instead of sending the worn out yet wipelike materialed clothes to the big closet in the sky, give them a new lease on life as infant... er, bathroom attendants. You'll not even feel bad about botching your stitches on these. They're nearly free, prevent old clothes from hitting the landfill, and reduce future waste. Awesome.

Cheap-Eco-GreenEST: here's where the epiphany comes into play. Disposable wipes are just one layer of paper or quasi-cloth. Not too. Double your homemade wipe stash by making them one layer whenever doing so wouldn't bee too ridiculously flimsy. One layer of flannel is probably plenty. You don't double your washcloth to clean your bottom, why not turn that ratty towel into wipes that don't need to be doubled either? Waaaay greener. Just be sure to finish the edge if its a material that's given to fraying.

But what about the wetness of the wipes. Honestly, most of the time you could probably get by with just some water, but the interwebz are full of homemade wipe solution recipes.
So green it up a little already. Your baby's bottom will than you, becaise let's face it, would you rather get scrubbed with cotton or a damp paper towel?

2 reflections:

Upstatemomof3 said...

We use the umpteen million baby washcloths we were given when my daughter was born. They were free and they work and no waste. I use just water. I had a solution I was using but in the end just water seems to work better.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

I have to say using cloth diaper wipes introduced me to the bigger world of household cloth - kitchen cloth, etc. Having used cloth so long, it's hard to imagine going back to paper wipes for anything!