By Katka Konecna-Rivera | October 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
Today, diapers-especially disposable ones-pose a huge global problem. We have covered the diapering issue extensively in our previous article The Green Diaper Dilemma, presenting facts that each diapering option represents for both parents and our environment. Particularly, disposable diapers create a huge burden on our environment. First, the synthetic materials disposable diapers are produced from may take as long as 500 years to decompose. Secondly, many parents don’t realize that leaving baby feces wrapped up in them before disposal provides an opportunity for potentially dangerous bacteria and viruses to flourish undisturbed during those hundreds of years of diaper decomposition. According to a statement regarding disposable diapers released in 1989 by the American Public Health Association: “More than 100 different enteric viruses, including polio and hepatitis are known to be excreted in human feces and these viruses can live for months after the stool has passed from the body. Diapers also pose potential health risks to sanitation workers.”
Even green parents, who spend time educating themselves how to help our planet, seem to miss some parts of the bigger problem. I had an experience recently with a mom of two kids, who is very Eco-conscious and health aware, that quite surprised me. She used only hybrid or cloth diapers with her first baby and she started her second baby the same way. After about 6 months she couldn’t keep up with work and 2 kids, so she switched to disposables, arguing the baby will soon be potty-trained so she won’t contribute too much to the waste. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’m sure all moms have been in a situation when we need to choose the easy way otherwise we’ll lose our mind. However, on one of my visits to her house I witnessed something that shocked me: after she replaced a pooped diaper, she didn’t empty it first to the toilet, rather just wrapped it up and tossed it to the kitchen garbage. At that time it wasn’t the right situation to ask her about it or even lecture her, so I just let it pass thinking we’ll discuss it later. Then I started contemplating what do most moms-especially the ones who solely use disposable diapers-do with their diapers full of poop. I did a lot of research and found that certain cities and states even give fines for improper handling of dirty diapers in order to reduce potential health hazards. Several respected online sources such as BabyCenter, WebMD or TreeHugger actually discuss and advise on proper removal of feces into the toilet before disposing the diaper, but why don’t the diaper-producing companies educate their customers about it? I haven’t found anything about this subject on Huggies or Pamper websites, or any other. Although they provide step-by-step instructions on how to change a diaper, the only thing on the disposal step they mention is “Dispose of the soiled diaper and wash your hands.”
So what can the green community do to educate other parents? Parents using cloth or hybrid diapers already know they need to drop the poop in a toilet before washing the diaper, but that doesn’t come as obvious to other parents. I personally think this problem is beyond the green community, and should be addressed on a bigger scale. Just like the tobacco industry is obliged to list the health risks of using their products, the diaper industry should be obliged to educate their customers about proper and safe disposal of soiled diapers to prevent any health hazards. In the end, it is a multi-billion dollar business, that needs to share a corporate responsibility to our planet.
And as for discussing diapering and its green options with friends and community? Similarly to talking about junk food, it can be a challenging subject. But spreading awareness is all our responsibility, and it’s concerning all of us, parents or not.
Author:Katka Konecna-RiveraKatka Konecna-Rivera, co-founder and host of Living Green with Baby, is an architect focused on sustainable design as well as a filmmaker, writer and personal wellness coach.
- What We Need to Know About Beef Production
- Glyphosate and Childhood Vaccines
- Understanding Common Food Allergies
- National Heatstroke Prevention Day
- Affect of Screen Time on Kids' Brains
- Fun Recycling Project for Green Kids March 20, 2017
- Healthy Pregnancy: 5 Rare Congenital Defects March 17, 2017
- Organic Gardening Basics March 17, 2017
- Tuneful Tots: The Importance of Music Education for Young Children March 17, 2017
- Yoga for Busy Moms-Floor Series (Part Two) February 20, 2017
Recent Video Episodes
Organic Gardening Basics
Tuneful Tots: The Importance of Music Education for Young Children
Storytelling Helps Young Minds Grow
- Luca’s First Birthday Chocolate Cake
Listen to your chocolate cravings; Everyone’s favorite flavor is actually good for you!
- Homemade Healthy Baby Food with Tofu
This homemade healthy baby food recipe with just four ingredients introduces babies to tofu.
- Creative Healthy Meals for Kids
Making healthy meals fun can get kids excited about foods that are normally on the "no" list.
- Homemade Pear Sauce: An Apple Alternative
Homemade pear sauce has a more subtle flavor than applesauce, makes an elegant addition to any food in need of sweet side and kids love it.
- Gluten-Free Almond Butter Blondies
This recipe using almond butter is not only gluten-free, it's free of dairy and refined sugar. Our two-year-old taste tester gave it a "great big smile" rating.
Ugi’s Tips on Going Green
January is Glaucoma Awareness Month, but half of people with glaucoma don’t know they have it.
Get a healthy start in 2017 by learning about glaucoma and taking steps to reduce your risk of vision loss!