Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cloth Diapers and the Environment

This seems to be one of the most controversial subjects on cloth diapering. There is almost always someone that likes to point out the amount of energy and water it takes to wash cloth diapers. However, many of those people don't think about how the disposable diapers ended up at their house:
  • The fuel that it took to cut down the trees that make the wood pulp that goes in the diapers. (Over 250,000 trees are used annually for disposable diapers.)
  • The transportation & fuel costs to ship materials to the manufacturing plants and to ship the finished products around the world.
  • The amount of water it takes to manufacture the disposable diapers.
  • And the list goes on...

Many naysayers are quick to point out a study done a few years ago. This study stated there really wasn't a difference between the environmental impact of cloth diapers and disposable diapers. However, that study was severely flawed. First, they used the extremely low number of 4.16 average diaper changes per child and their study only accounted for the diapers being used up to 2.5 years. Many families will sell their cloth diapers or use them for other children, getting even more use out of them. For even more reasons this study was flawed, read the RDA's response.   

This comparison chart by AppleCheeks really helps illustrate the actual impact of disposable and cloth diapers.

There are ways to reduce the impact of cloth diapers even further according to the RDA:
  • Use Energy Star rated machines.
  • Wash diapers at 140 degrees.
  • Air dry.
  • Use washable wipes and liners.
  • Use low-impact detergent.
  • Use organic products.
  • Reuse diapers for the next child, then give them away or sell them to another family.

So, which one would you rather use?


Monday, April 16, 2012

The Basics of Cloth Diapering

It's Real Diaper Week! People around the world are celebrating cloth diapers starting today and ending on the 21st with The Great Cloth Diaper Change! We'll be posting about different cloth diaper related topics throughout the week to help spread the cloth love.

I thought we'd kick the week off by going back to the basics of cloth diapering. Especially since I almost always hear, "I'm so overwhelmed!" by new cloth diaper users.

Types of Cloth Diapers

Simplex OS AIO
All-in-Ones (AIO)

The outer shell, insert, and inside lining are all sewn together. These are very simple to use and are good for people that might be intimidated by cloth diapers. Some AIOs feature pockets so the user can add extra inserts for more absorbency.

GroVia Hybrid Shell

All-in-Twos (AI2) or Hybrid Diapers

These are basically a cross between an AIO and a Pocket Diaper. Usually an AI2 consists of a waterproof outer shell and an absorbent insert that snaps or lays in the shell. The shell can be reused by snapping or laying in a new insert when the other insert become soiled.

Charlie Banana Pocket Diaper

Pocket Diapers

Pocket Diapers feature a pocket in the back or front of the diaper between the waterproof outer shell and inner lining. This pocket allows the user to stuff the diaper with an absorbent insert. Pocket diapers are so popular because they allow the user to customize the amount of absorbency by adding additional inserts.
        EcoPosh Recycled Organic Fitted

        Fitted Diapers

        These diapers are not waterproof and require a cover. Although, many babies are able to use fitteds for 1-2 hours without leaks. These diapers come in a variety of styles with some featuring snap-in inserts or pockets.

        Sweet Pea Prefolds

        These are the traditional diapers that many people are familiar with. Flats are large square pieces of fabric, usually on layer of birdseye. Prefolds are made of multiple layers of fabric with extra layers sewn in the center. These diapers are the most economical choice and require some type of fastener like a Snappi or diaper pins and a diaper cover.

        Blueberry Coveralls
        Diaper Covers

        Diaper covers are made with a variety of materials.
        • PUL diaper covers are made of the same type of material used as the waterproof layer in Pockets, AIOs and Hybrid Diapers.
        • Fleece and wool diaper covers provide a breathable cover option that is water resistant.
        PUL and Fleece covers can be washed with your regular diaper laundry while Wool covers need to be hand washed and lanolized.

        Sized vs One Sized (OS) Cloth Diapers
        • Sized diapers usually come in X Small (Newborn), Small, Medium and Large sizes with a few brands also offering X Large or larger sizes. These diapers have less bulk than OS diapers, but you will need to purchase larger sizes as your child grows.
        • One Sized (OS) Cloth Diapers usually fit from 10lbs to 35lbs. OS diapers are usually adjusted by snaps on the front of the diaper or by adjustable leg elastics. These diapers are bulkier on smaller babies than sized diapers, but are more economical as you usually do not have to buy larger sizes.

        Getting Started
        Depending on your baby's age, we recommend at least the following diaper changes per day:
        • Up to 8 weeks: 12-14 diapers per day
        • 8 weeks - 3 months: 10-12 diapers per day
        • 3 months - 6 months: 8-10 diapers per day
        • 6 months - 1 year: 6-8 diapers per day
        • Over 1 year: 5-7 diapers per day
        So, to wash diapers every 2-3 days, you would need at least:
        • Up to 8 weeks: 26-40 diapers
        • 8 weeks - 3 months: 22-36 diapers
        • 3 months - 6 months: 18-30 diapers
        • 6 months - 1 year: 15 - 24 diapers
        • Over 1 year: 12-21 diapers
        If you're using prefolds, flats or fitteds you will also need one cover for every 2-4 diapers.

        Accessories you may need:
        Because it can be so overwhelming when making the decision to use cloth diapers, we offer trial packages that allow you to try a variety of diapers and return the ones you don't like. This is a great way to step into cloth diapering without making a big commitment.


        Monday, April 9, 2012

        Win a Year Supply of Lulu's Detergent!!

        As many of you know, we love Lulu's in the Fluff at our house! We use it for everything from washing our diapers to cleaning our carpets. Lulu's is:
        * Dye-free
        * Filler-free
        * Enzyme-free
        * Phosphate-free
        * Free of optical brighteners
        * Perfect for cloth diapers
        * Great for sensitive skin
        * Easy-rinsing (resists build-up)
        * Excellent with microfiber
        * Approved for military use
        * HE compatible

        So, I'm pretty excited about this giveaway sponsored by Lulu's in the Fluff! How fantastic would it be to win a full year's supply of Lulu's Detergent!

        It's really easy to enter. Just visit the Giveaway link over at Lulu's Glamour Wash website. Then simply fill out the form and tell them your favorite Lulu's retailer *cough* Country Drawers *cough,cough*.

        If your chosen as a winner, you will recieve 6 full size bags of Lulu's Glamour Wash, enough for a whole year! The approximate retail value of this prize is over $80. Entries will be accepted until April 30, 2012.

        To help celebrate this fabulous prize, we're offering 10% off Lulu's at Country Drawers until Friday, April 13th. Just enter code CLEAN at checkout.