What mother doesn’t have enough to worry about without having to agonize over the fact that every time she throws away a disposable diaper, she’s adding to the estimated two billion tons of poopy plastic and paper that fill up our landfills every year?
I swear on anyone’s stinky diaper pail that I seriously debated whether or not to use cloth diapers before my children were born. Back then, there were no such things as cloth diapers with Velcro strips and flushable liners. Despite the overwhelming odds that I would most likely inflict pain and misery upon my baby if I accidentally stuck him with a safety pin on a day when I had drank entirely too much coffee in a desperate attempt to cure my sleep deprivation, I still bought one package of cloth diapers—that is, before I talked to my mother who, while I sat in wide-eyed horror, told me story after story about how she used to be up to her ears in diaper laundry day after day when we were babies. “Oh, and the smell of that diaper pail,” she would say while plugging her nose and sticking her tongue out. “And you think the landfill stinks!” My face paled as she laughed and continued, “Did I forget to mention that I had to rinse out the soiled diapers in toilet water before I washed them?”
I had heard enough. As I threw away the Babe Ruth candy bar I had been enjoying up until that point, I rapidly walked to the closet where I had thrown the package of cloth diapers. I grabbed one and immediately began wiping down the furniture with it. “This works work marvelously as a dust cloth, doesn’t it?” I asked my mother as she smiled and nodded.
As a result of my nonenvironmentally conscious choice, we filled up trash can after trash can with our diapers when my children were babies. I knew the garbage collectors started to dread coming to our house because quite frankly, I could see it on their faces, despite the gas masks they were forced to wear especially during the hot summer months. And of course, as I changed diaper after diaper, I felt unbelievably guilty. I pictured the future lives of my children—forced to build houses on the only vacant land left in the world—next to overly full landfills swarming with seagulls.
Over the years, I’ve tried to make up for my lack of leading an environmentally conscious lifestyle when my children were younger. I recycle, I’m beginning a compost pile this summer, and I use my own cloth bags at the grocery store. I think it’s definitely a good start to doing my part to helping our earth stay beautiful.
Here’s the poop … as a busy mother I’ve learned one thing over the years—do what you can for the environment and leave your guilt in the compost pile.
If you haven’t seen this hilarious video, enjoy the laugh because humor is truly great for your own personal environment.