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ecotip Greener Diapers: Cloth Better than Disposable for People and the Planet


fecal matter and urine should be rinsed and fl ushed down the toilet instead of put in the trash, so that contaminants don’t enter groundwater and potentially spread disease. Traditional cloth diapers are the


way to go for several reasons beyond budget: ✔ Using cloth facilitates earlier potty


education by quickly communicating to the baby when they are wet. New cloth diaper systems like Nicki’s Diapers (NickisDiapers.com) can be easily cleaned in regular and high-effi ciency washing machines. Some popular brands are listed at DiaperPin.com.


D


isposable diapers are the third most common consumer item in


landfi lls. When even those labeled “eco-friendly” are covered by other debris after being discarded and hidden from sunlight and air, they don’t readily biodegrade. Producing disposables also makes


major demands on water, energy, nonrenewable resources like oil and renewables like wood. Many brands contain harmful ingredients such as polyacrylate, dioxin, phthalates and heavy metals that can be absorbed by a baby’s soft, developing skin and promote rashes. According to SmallFootprintFamily.


com, 90 to 95 percent of American babies annually generate 27.4 billion single-use plastic diapers, or 7.6 billion pounds of garbage. While compara- ble statistics on adult diapers aren’t available, Euromonitor International forecasts a 48 percent increase in U.S. sales to $2.7 billion in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2015. In a decade, sales of diapers for adults could surpass those for babies at Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble, attributed to bladder control issues related to health and age, according to the Urology Care Foundation and Mayo Clinic. The American Academy of Pediat-


rics and the American Public Health Association advise that in all cases,


natural awakenings May 2017 11 ✔ The nonprofi t association at


RealDiapers.org helps connect local groups of mothers to communicate and share best practices in use, cleaning and potty training, such as learning a baby’s cues for needing to go. It also hosts informative events such as the annual national Great Cloth Diaper Change. ✔ Cloth diapers in good condition


can be resold on eBay and sites like DiaperSwappers.com.


Almost Too Good to be True The Freecycle Network™ is a grassroots and entirely nonprofi t movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and


keeping good stuff out of landfi lls. Apex, Chapel Hill, Durham and Raleigh each have groups moderated by local volunteers, and membership is free. There are some


rules such as no alcohol, tobacco, fi rearms, weapons, profanity, sexual content, and medications of any kind, including over-the-counter supplements.


groups.freecycle.org/group/ApexNC/posts/allgroups.freecycle.org/group/ChapelHillNC/posts/allgroups.freecycle.org/group/FreecycleDurhamNC/posts/allgroups.freecycle.org/group/RaleighNC/posts/all


Pamela D. Maxwell/Shutterstock.com


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