Even when children have no idea they live on a planet where plastic and waste is on the rise and has become the new normal. Even when they become polluters before they know what pollution is. Children, from the beginning, come with a lot of needs and wants which parents seek to fulfil regardless of the circumstances in which they are born in. However, most parents have no clue the amount of waste they have inflicted on their children even before they can walk or even sit straight. We can choose to blame this on our busy schedule, but the planet does not have to suffer. The planet doesn’t even care if we are busy. A majority of millennials and the years before this grew up in more environmentally conscious environments. But today, this is not the case. Today, before a child is born, there is a whole list of ‘must-haves’ which in most cases include plenty of plastics, clothes upon clothes which in most cases will only be worn for two days and chemical filled baby care products and detergents not forgetting bioengineered baby food.
This may seem hypocritical but is an issue that needs to be addressed, because there are options, but marketing tricks have won.
The Disposable Issue
If it can be disposed of the better. From diapers to baby wipes to even disposable feeders. Disposables are easy, yes, they are expensive, but when you really don’t see the need to wash a baby’s never-ending constant mess, disposables become a saviour. It has become the norm as the disposable diaper industry is a multi-billion industry. Technically, an infant between 0 to 2 years will use between 4 to 10 diapers a day. The number reduces as the child grows up transitioning from one stage to another. However, this only results in an average of 7000 disposable used in the two years.
Disposable diapers are not biodegradable. A majority are filled with chemicals that help in keeping a baby ‘dry’ for even a whole night. Disposable diaper companies will not say what exactly they use to make a diaper. Some will say they have cotton, but in most cases, this is not organic cotton. This cotton has been grown with lots of pesticides and bleached afterwards. Before it comes in that one small piece of a saviour, the process it took to compress it and still ensure it is able to hold as much baby urine as possible is up to the manufacturer and not the environment. Disposable diapers, after they have served their purpose only end up in landfills is one of the few wastes produced by man that cannot be recycled. Let’s just say with all our genius into creating such a ‘useful’ product we have not figured out how to recycle used disposable diapers as well as disposable sanitary towels (a story for another day).
Then we have disposable wipes and feeders (bibs). These two I do not like. I don’t know if ever will. They are not as necessary. We cannot continue to destroy the planet one product at a time. What is up with disposable feeders (bibs) though! Most in the market are made with plastics or paper. A paper that has been thoroughly bleached and softened to accommodate your baby’s soft skin. The marketing gimmick these baby companies use surprises me.
Alternatives to the disposable mess
Cloth diapers made from organic cotton. Even cloth diapers made from processed cotton is a start. If you turned out brilliant using nappies who said your child will not. Yes, washing is required and a parent may argue this is just waste of water. Water, though finite, is a renewable resource. A landfill piled up with disposable diapers which will outlive your child’s lifetime is not sustainable. There is also the diaper-free method for those not faint-of-heart. You only need to keep calm when your carpet smells of urine. Besides, potty training becomes easier with this method. There is also another interesting option; disposable Inserts. This may be made from cellulose, fluff pulp and are superabsorber, flushable and compostable.
Using cloth wipes and baby feeders (bibs) is also highly recommended. The fact that baby wipes contain numerous amounts of chemicals your child will only learn to pronounce 10 years from when they are born should be a good sign to keep away from them.
Part two continues shortly.