I Got Green: CafeMoms Reduce Household Waste

baby, diaper

Photo by Heart_Mommy

All week long, CafeMoms have been sharing their green efforts in 2008 and green aspirations for 2009. It's great to hear from moms who have embraced different eco-friendly options.

Today I chat with CafeMoms momtoamo, aydens_mom620, and KayMMIV—all three of whom have made efforts toward reducing household waste, including using cloth diapers.

Maybe this one's for you, maybe another one fits your family better. What's important is not that every family takes on every alternative but that every family considers some greener alternatives. It's all the small stuff combined that counts.


Cafe Sheri: momtoamo, for your family of five, you dispose of, at most, two bags of trash a month. How do you do it? 

momtoamo: We compost everything we can. We also use cloth diapers and do not buy a lot of packaged things.

Cafe Sheri: At some point, did you make a conscious effort to reduce the amount of household waste? If so, what made you decide to make this change? 

momtoamo: When I had kids, I realized it was not all about me anymore. Everything from there has just been falling into place as I educate myself.

Cafe Sheri: What is the hardest thing to cut back on? 

momtoamo: Buying stuff just because.

Cafe Sheri: Now aydens_mom620 and KayMMIV, you both use cloth diapers too. aydens_mom620, you have two young boys. When did you switch to cloth diapers? What made you decide to make this change?

aydens_mom620: I switched to cloth in March of 2008. Ayden, my oldest, was having bad rashes, and we were getting tight on money. I was looking for things to help us save!

Cafe Sheri: KayMMIV, you switched to cloth diapers when your son was a year old. What made you decide to change?

KayMMIV: I am big on eco-friendly, but I am also big on budget-friendly. This option was both and all the cloth diaper moms I talked to said it wasn't nearly as hard or unsanitary as so many think.

Cafe Sheri: So was switching to cloth diapers easier or harder than you originally thought? 

aydens_mom620: It was a lot easier. I was worried about the poo. It amazes me how easy the new diapers are with the snaps and aplix fasteners. And the microfleece makes clean up a breeze!

KayMMIV: EASIER!!! Oh my gosh, I could not believe how much easier it was than I thought. I even made a post a bit after I switched about it (So—I actually like cloth diapering better), and that was before I got into the easier kinds. I was just using prefolds and Gerber vinyl pants then.

Cafe Sheri: What kind of cloth diapers do you use now?

aydens_mom620: I have Haute Pockets, which I originally bought myself, FuzziBunz that someone gave me, and I now make my own One-Size Pockets, which I must say I LOVE!! 

KayMMIV: I have used a few different kinds. My favorite kinds to use are fitteds and covers. We are now using a mix of all-in-ones and fitteds and covers.

Cafe Sheri: How do you wash them?

aydens_mom620: I wash every other day, two cold rinses, HOT wash with 1/4 of all Free Clear, and two rinses. Then I dry on LOW or hang my pockets to dry outside. I would suggest using a laundry soap that works well for you. Just because it's on the "good" list or isn't doesn't mean it won't work for your family. I have used 5-star soaps and had more issues than with the all Free Clear, which isn't one of the "better" ones on the list.

KayMMIV: I wash them just like anything else. I add extra washing soda to the loads of all-in-ones (aios) to help keep from getting buildup in them—since aios with all the layers are prone to buildup. I haven't even noticed extra laundry from them since they are added to existing loads.

Cafe Sheri: And what about, you know, the poo?

aydens_mom620: If your baby is EBF (extended breastfeeding), then you just toss the diaper in the wash; the poop is water soluble. If you feed your baby any solids, then yes, you need to put the poop in the toilet before washing. You can just use tissue and remove the poop that way. It is really easy to clean off. The microfleece on the diapers makes the poop just peel off! Cleaning the poop was my biggest fear with switching, but it's no big deal now.

KayMMIV: The way we deal with poop is if it's solid and not stuck to the diaper, then we put it in the trash or toilet (depending on what's handy and how soon trash is getting taken out, lol). We just hold the diaper open over toilet/trash. If it's stuck to the diaper or not solid, we just wash it. I will normally wash loads with poopy diapers with warm water instead of hot so it doesn't set a stain into the diaper. I also normally add borax and extra washing soda to these loads and double rinse. This method has worked well for us. Since there are multiple disinfectants in this process of washing them (dryer heat or sunshine, borax, essential oils, washing soda), we don't have to worry that the diapers aren't disinfected. So for us also, this isn't really a hard or dirty job at all.

Cafe Sheri: Do you take different precautions when you're traveling or away from home?

aydens_mom620: I make sure to bring a wet bag and my Ziploc container of cloth wipes. To me, there is no difference in changing a baby in public wearing cloth. It's a great chance to let others know how awesome the new diapers are!

KayMMIV: I am a stockpiler, and I had already stockpiled lots of disposable diapers of every size when Tris was born. Tris was a size 3 when we switched to cloth diapering, and we just use disposables from the stockpile when we go out and about.

Cafe Sheri: What greener living effort do you all want to take on in 2009?

momtoamo: I want to start making more of my own food: breads and canned goods.

aydens_mom620: I want to get more recycling done and to get my compost set up. As a family of four, we need to cut down on our trash!

KayMMIV: We are talking about this summer/spring getting some chicks and doing a setup for them in our backyard. It would be nice to eventually have our own eggs and not worry about rising prices as much. We live kinda in the country though. Our next door neighbors have a pot bellied pig. ;-)

Thanks for the tips, momtoamo, aydens_mom620, and KayMMIV. This is great information for moms interested in making the switch to cloth diapers.

+++ What about you? How do you try to reduce household waste at your place?

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