Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Making the Switch to Cloth

Slowly but surely our family has been switching from disposable paper products to reusable cloth products. It all started with cloth diapers. After I attended a seminar at the Mennonite Conference in San Jose this past summer I felt convicted about the waste we were creating in our household. I knew the biggest source of waste at the time were the disposable diapers we were using. I started doing research and was surprised to find a sizable community of people out there cloth diapering their children. I was also surprised by how cloth diapering has evolved since when our parents diapered us. I was amazed to see how easy and fun cloth diapering could be. Now tell me that this diaper isn't adorable! Where can you find a 'sposie like it?

Trust me, I never thought I'd be cloth diapering. I just imagined the pins and the plastic pants and I was like, no way! Hardly anyone diapers like that anymore. If you have a little one in diapers just consider cloth. Not only do you save money (not at first, but over time) but it can also be a lot of fun! Do a little research and you will see that a lot has changed. My favorite website at the time is where you can buy/sell/trade diapers and also finds all kinds of information about cloth diapering and parenting in general.

Switching to cloth diapers kind of launched my current passion for living more sustainably. I have a long way to go, but here are some of the other switches I have made.

Paper towels: Instead of reaching for paper towels for clean ups I got all my rags together in a bin and I got into the habit of reaching for them instead.

Feminine Products: This may be TMI especially for those of the male persuasion, but I decided that since I was using cloth for my baby, why not use cloth for myself. I looked into it and actually found something called the Diva Cup which I mainly use. It definitely takes some time getting used and is not as easy as a tampon in some ways, but it's not too bad either and worth it for not making waste. I do also have a couple of cloth pads. I know this is going a little too far for some people, but what did women do before disposables were invented? I'm not saying that all advances are bad things, but when they are creating so much waste we need to rethink what we are doing.

Napkins: I was going to make my own now that I have my mom's sewing machine up and running, but my mom had a ton of them and gave me a whole stack to get me started!

Still working on...

Tissues: We haven't made the switch to handkerchiefs yet, but I see that in the near future (we'll still keep some Kleenex on hand for guests).

Probably not in our future...

Family cloth: I'm just not sure I could do this, and I'm pretty darn sure that Brent wouldn't. I think this is were we draw the line. I'm not quite ready to give up toilet paper. You'll be happy to know though that the toilet paper I am buying is made of recycled paper and is whitened without chlorine bleach.

Just even making one of these switches is helping reduce waste, so I encourage you to give it a shot!

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