Tag Archives: cloth diapers

10 Popular Green Products

One of the most popular ways to go green is by shopping green. It’s perhaps not always done right, as people buy more than they need, but it’s usually better than ignoring the environmental impact of products altogether.

Some kinds of products are more popular than others, of course. Today I want to take a look at some of the more popular green product types, what I think of them, and share individual examples.

Eco Friendly Electronics

Eco Friendly Electronics

Electronics are a huge part of modern living for most people, so finding more environmentally friendly options is a big deal. Look for Energy Star ratings and EPEAT registration. Be aware that EPEAT registration doesn’t cover all kinds of electronics, but you can look at the information the manufacturer provides to decide what’s green enough for you. Familiar brands such as Dell, HP and Apple have EPEAT-registered products. EPEAT at this time appears to be mostly for computer products.

Apple MacBook Pro
I’m quite fond of my MacBook Pro, and it’s one of Apple’s products on EPEAT, with a Gold certification.  It’s a good laptop, and I love the mobility, as before I had only owned desktop computers. It has made working from my home much easier.

Samsung UN32EH4003 32-Inch LED HDTV
This is a popular example of an Energy Star television. Nice size, well reviewed by users. It sounds like a good replacement for when an older television needs replacing. Not something that happens much in my family, as there’s one TV in the living room and another, rarely used one in the master bedroom

Organic Food

Chia Seeds

Not everyone agrees about the benefits of organic food, but then it depends on the benefit you’re looking for. Many organizations that compare conventional and organic produce focus on nutrition, but may neglect pesticide and other residues. Organic fruits and vegetables may cost more than conventional produce, but you can get some good deals at farmers markets or through a CSA. It should end up being more local that was too. Just check to be sure you’re definitely getting organic produce.

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have become very popular as a superfood. I find that soaked chia seeds go well in smoothies and yogurt, plus they can be added to other recipes. The antioxidants in chia seeds are said to be more stable than those in flax seeds, and they’re also high in omega-3 acids, protein and fiber.

Cacao Powder or Nibs
Perfect for chocolate lovers, cacao powder and nibs give you a healthier way to add a chocolate flavor to a variety of treats. It doesn’t taste like chocolate on its own, however; it’s rather bitter. The nibs have cocoa butter in them, but the powder doesn’t, so be aware that there is a difference between them. I like the nibs, but not by themselves. They add an amazing chocolate taste to smoothies. On their own, cacao nibs are very much an acquired taste, but a healthy one if you can manage it.

Baby Supplies

There’s no way around it – babies need a LOT of stuff. My favorite way to deal with a lot of it is handmedowns, and those can cover quite a bit of the clothing and toy needs for the first while. Sometimes even years of supplies, depending on how good a system you have going with family or friends. My youngest daughter, for example, very rarely gets new clothes because she has such an absurd amount of handmedowns, and she’s nearly 4 years old.

For babies, safety is absolutely a concern, which is a part of why people like eco friendly items. It’s one way to avoid potentially harmful chemicals.

Cloth Diapers
I got into cloth diapers with my youngest; couldn’t convince my husband that we could make it wish sooner, and ended up wishing we had done cloth diapers all along. Saved a lot of money with them. We used Bum Genius, but there are a lot of good brands out there. Don’t forget the cloth wipes.

Babies spend a lot of time sleeping (sometimes at the wrong times for new parents!), and so you may care quite a bit about what they’re sleeping on. From the mattress to the sheets, think about your eco friendly options, such as whether the materials used will tend to offgas. Look for Certi-PUR-US certification for mattresses.


Kids of all ages want toys. The trouble is how quickly the things pile up over time. Add in how often toys are plastic, and it’s not often you can call children’s toys green.

I’ll readily admit to being imperfect in most areas, but especially with toys. My kids do have some handmedown and used toys, including an old Capsela set they enjoy, and a whole lot of LEGOs, most of which were my husband’s from when he was growing up. One thing I will say for those is that once in a while you can take advantage of things lasting just about forever.

Bamboo Toys
Bamboo is very popular right now for toys. More environmentally friendly than wood according to many, it makes some pretty nice toys. There are some nice looking bamboo toy cars and bamboo games available.

Plan Toys
Plan Toys offers a wonderful range of toys that are meant to be more environmentally friendly. They’re also fun. They have a good range of toys, including some very nice dollhouses. There’s even a little vegetable garden for the dollhouse.

Reusable Replaces Disposable

I have a few reusable items that are very much favorites. It’s nice being able to keep one thing rather than throwing many out. The trick here is to pick good quality – I’ve had reusable items that just didn’t last well enough for the difference in cost.

Reusable Bottles
My absolute favorite. I have a reusable bottle that I use every day for my water. So does my husband. My kids take reusable bottles to school rather than juice boxes or water bottles. We have saved a lot of money this was.

My husband has a large Klean Kanteen he really likes. The one problem is that it doesn’t fit in the car’s cupholders, but it’s otherwise a great bottle.

I much prefer stainless steel reusable bottles to plastics or polycarbonates. I’ve had polycarbonate and plastic bottles break on me, but so far no one has managed to break one of the stainless steel ones. Dent, yes, but not severely enough to matter.

Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries can be challenging for some uses, but for others they’re wonderful. We have a nice charger that can take pretty much any size, and a stash of batteries.

If the toy or other item is going to sit a lot without being used, rechargeable batteries may as well be taken out. In my experience, they don’t hold a charge for months on end for items that aren’t being used. It’s very frustrating for kids to try to play with a toy they haven’t noticed in some time, only to find out that they have to wait for the batteries to charge. Pulling the batteries on less-used toys doesn’t make them any more ready to go, but it does mean you can use the batteries for more than one thing, and you might be able to move them from toy to toy as interests demand.

Finishing Off Cloth Diapers

We’re in the middle of potty training my youngest. I can hardly believe that soon I won’t have to deal with diapers anymore. Diapers have been a near constant thing in my life since my oldest was born 9.5 years ago. I am so glad we finally discovered cloth diapers so we could cut down on the waste.

Now my youngest is really starting to get it with her potty training. She has enough accidents that we aren’t ditching the diapers yet, although I think we could if we wanted to just deal with the occasional mess. Even nights are getting close to done, although it’s harder to predict when nighttime training will be complete. Now we have to decide what to do with the cloth diapers once we’re done with them.

By done, I mean we aren’t having more kids, so no need to save the diapers for the next little one. If we were planning on having more kids, keeping them would make sense. We’re not, so it’s going to be time for the diapers to go away.

One of the great things about cloth diapers is that even if they’re in a condition where all you feel you can do is throw them out, they break down faster than disposable diapers. Depending on type, it may be a few months or a few years, but they’ll break down, much sooner than the estimated 250-500 years for disposable diapers. But before you just throw them out, consider donating them to charity. Sometimes they have uses for old cloth as rags or someplace they can send them.

If your cloth diapers are still in generally good condition, however, you may be able to sell them or give them to a family who needs them. There are sites such as Diaper Swappers for selling cloth diapers online.

Some types of cloth diaper lend themselves well to repurposing. Just how you repurpose them depends on the type you get. Some are good as burp cloths or dust rags. Some cloth diapers use microfiber inserts, which can be good for a variety of cleaning jobs. Obviously you want to be sure you’ve cleaned them very well indeed before you reuse any cloth diaper for other purposes, and you may still gross some people out with the thought of it.

Of course, the same goes for your cloth baby wipes. They’ve done one job; now you can come up with a new job for them.

9 Lazy Ways to Be Greener

Going green isn’t always the more difficult option. Sometimes it’s the simplest path, if only people could see it more clearly. Here are a few green things I’ve found to be easier than the regular alternatives.

1. Breastfeed rather than bottle feed.

Yes, breastfeeding can be very hard to get started, and for some people it’s impossible. If that’s how it is, absolutely, bottle feed your baby. It’s what’s necessary, and I don’t call that a bad thing.

But for those of us fortunate enough to get breastfeeding going well, it’s by far the easiest way to feed a baby, especially in the middle of the night. No mixing formula or washing bottles. Just pop that baby on the breast, make sure the latch is good, and relax.

2. Cloth diaper rather than disposables.

I know, I know. Lots of people think cloth diapering is this miserable, hard thing. And poops are gross even when they come from baby bottoms, know what I mean? But amazingly enough, I found cloth diapering to be much easier for me than disposables.

The laundry isn’t that much extra work. What’s an extra couple loads when you have a family? Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to not need to run to the store to get more disposable diapers because you didn’t realize you were almost out in time? Not to mention no need to buy more diapers all the time anyhow. They’re right in your house, and if you want cute cloth diapers, you can find cute cloth diapers!

Not to mention how much money you can save using cloth diapers! Just don’t let the cute cloth diaper addiction get out of hand.

3. Homemade cleaners rather than the usual brands.

Some people think that making homemade cleaning supplies is a big deal. It can be a little difficult to make some things; laundry detergent is definitely an effort. Other cleaners, not so much.

Baking soda and vinegar handle most things. You can water down the vinegar and add a little essential oil such as lavender to make it smell better, but it’s quite effective. We keep a prepared squirt bottle of it, same as you would for any other cleaner. Sprinkling baking soda really isn’t that much harder than sprinkling any other powered cleaner.

Some things need a little extra elbow grease, but most times it’s really not that bad. If homemade doesn’t suit, there are some decent cleaners that are more eco friendly.

4. Do less laundry.

Obviously, you want to be careful about this one. You don’t want to wear stinky clothes. That said, towels and such can easily be used several times before they need a wash with most families.

When laundry day rolls around, wash your clothes in cold water whenever possible. I’ve never bought a special detergent for this. Most clothes will come quite nicely clean in cold water.

Line drying isn’t lazy, but if you think of it as exercise, you might just have enough of an excuse to go at it anyhow. On hot enough days, it can be faster than the dryer.

5. Handmedowns for the kids.

Seriously. I love handmedowns for my kids. Do you have any idea how rarely I buy clothing for my children? It’s not often at all. They get handmedowns from cousins, and that takes care of most of their needs, even after the stuff that’s stained or worn out is removed from consideration. I don’t have to take the time or spend the money on shopping, my kids are still happy to get handmedowns, and it’s all better for the environment than buying new.

6. Stay away from stores unless you need to go there.

I’ll admit it. I enjoy wandering stores and seeing all the stuff. The problem is that it’s a temptation I don’t need, and quite frankly the realization of how much waste there is really takes the fun out of browsing.

If you tend to impulse shop, keeping away from stores is a great way to cut that habit down. You can’t buy something on impulse if you never see it. Saves on gas and unnecessary purchases.

7. Replace bottled water with filtered water.

Many people swear they can’t stand their local tap water, and that’s why they buy bottled water. Thing is, many brands of bottled water are simply filtered tap water. Why pay such a premium when you can filter it yourself?

You can even take this water with you when you’re on the go. Get yourself a good quality reusable water bottle. You’ll have your own filtered water ready when you need it.

8. Buy a programmable thermostat.

Installing a programmable thermostat has the potential to save 15-25% on your heating and cooling costs. That’s not a bad deal at all, plus you can set your house to be the right temperature for the time of day, and not have to worry about fiddling with the controls or leaving the heat or air conditioner on all day when you go to work. Just program it and let it run.

9. Choose energy saving electronics and appliances when you replace old.

It’s not terribly eco friendly to go about replacing things that don’t need replacing yet, although there can be a balance as things get old enough. But when the time does come, pick models which are more energy efficient. It will save you time and be better for the environment without any extra effort.

You can also get a smart power strip for your computer or television. This power strip powers down accessories when you shut down the main device. You have to pick carefully, of course, as sometimes you don’t want everything to shut down just because you turned off the TV. Most people don’t want their DVR to shut down at such times, as it may have other shows to record, and if you’re stuck with a cable box, it would need to be on for the sake of the DVR. But it’s nice to have the other electronics shut down because they aren’t in use.

Can Disposable Diapers Ever Be the Green Choice?

Not every family wants to use cloth diapers. I strongly prefer them to disposables, having used both types, but washing cloth diapers isn’t something that all families are up for.

What are the chances for a disposable diaper to be a green choice? Does that ever happen?

Green and eco friendly are hard words to define. In general, something that creates waste and cannot be reused is not going to be as eco friendly as something that can be used over and over, and even handed down when you’re done with it.

There are times, however, that a disposable diaper makes sense.

That would be when water usage matters. If you’re living in an area with a severe drought, having water available for drinking is far more important than using water for washing diapers. That’s a place you can cut back on your water use.

When that kind of situation happens, the important thing is to pick the most environmentally friendly disposable diaper you can buy. Don’t be fooled by the eco claims of major brands – they’re usually too vague and use words that don’t have any legal meaning to make themselves sound good.

The trouble is that even the more environmentally friendly disposables aren’t that much better than the traditional disposables. They don’t use bleach, they use renewable resources for parts of the diaper, they don’t use latex or fragrances. But they cost more than traditional diapers as a rule, making this as much a budgetary decision as a green one for most families. There’s usually a limit for how far we can vote with our wallets while raising a family.

Biodegradable diapers are another option. You can throw these into your compost pile, although due to the human waste involved the compost should then not be used on food plats. Safe enough for anything you aren’t going to eat, however.

Some come as covers with biodegradable liners that you dispose of in your compost. Biodegradable doesn’t work so well in a landfill, as they get covered too quickly to properly biodegrade. If you just throw them in the trash, you aren’t taking advantage of their biodegradability.

When it comes right down to it, I still have to recommend cloth diapers over other diapering options. Preferably organic cloth diapers.

But if it happens that you must use some sort of disposable, don’t reach for the easiest solution or the greenest looking package. Take a better look and find the balance between caring for the environment and being kind to your wallet. Sometimes the answer you want isn’t the one you can afford.

BumGenius 3.0 Review – One Year Later

We’ve been cloth diapering my little girl for right about a year now. It’s been interesting, and I figured now is a good time to share how the diapers have held up.

Overall, I’m pleased with how the bumGenius 3.0 diapers have held up. They’re in generally good shape.

The Good Parts

The cloth diapers have held up really well. I can see that the elastic is a little looser on some of the covers, but most are still in very good shape. The elastic is not so loose as to cause problems on any of them.

They’re all still nicely waterproof. The colors have all held up quite well. They still fit great.

We’ve run out of snaps to undo on the diapers for sizing, but given how long each section lasted us, that doesn’t worry me. Especially since we’re already encouraging the baby in her potty training. She does use it just a little. We aren’t pushing hard yet, just having her sit on the potty at every diaper change or before a bath. But there’s a bit of interest and she’s very happy when she does something.

We’re still using Country Save detergent to wash the diapers. It’s also working quite well. The occasional use of an oxygen bleach or some original Dawn dish detergent takes care the occasional stain or smell issues.

My One Complaint

The one problem we’ve been dealing with is that the tabs that hold the velcro in place when you wash the diapers isn’t holding them anymore. This means awful chains of diapers when I do the laundry, and makes me feel that they aren’t rinsing out as well.

Having to pull apart convoluted chains of cloth diapers that have firmly velcroed together is inconvenient. It’s causing some extra wear to the fuzzy side of the velcro too.

I really need to spend a little time figuring out the solution to this one. It’s pretty minor, all things considered, but I’d sure like to solve the problem.