We all want to do our bit for the environment, but as busy parents being an eco-warrior and changing nappies doesn’t always go hand in hand.
Being green can all too easily slip way down our priority list with a baby in hand.
Yet through the sleepless blur of early parenthood, I am sure we would all agree that our children – as precious and unique as they are – are actually pretty hard on the environment.
The amount of nappies and wipes a parent goes through during a newborn’s first months of life is truly staggering whether you use disposables or cloth.
And, unless you’re into really early toilet training, it doesn’t end there. During a child’s first two-and-a-half years, they can go through over 4500 nappies and every year 800 million disposable nappies are dumped in landfill in Australia alone.
Not only is that a lot of dollars spent on a lot of smelly nappies, but it’s also a lot of waste contributing to our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions.
While there is an ongoing debate about the merits of using reusable versus disposable nappies, there is no arguing that every nappy used has a lasting impact on the environment – disposables with their massive use of non-renewable resources and bleaching chemicals; and cloth and reusable nappies with large amounts of pesticides and water used during the growth of conventional cotton.
Even if you use hemp, bamboo or organic cotton nappies, there is the ongoing water, energy and detergent used to keep them clean.
And the energy used to produce, transport and maintain nappies is a not insignificant contribution to your baby’s carbon footprint!
And although there has been some development in bio-degradable and composting nappies, the majority of parents, (95% Australians, 90% USA and 90% UK) still use single use disposable nappies. (And by the way, you don’t have to be in Australia to become a nappy eco-warrior – you can even be a diaper eco-warrior!)
That’s a lot of nappies and wees and poos! Our choice of nappy is often dictated by our lifestyle and whilst we may worry about the amount of nappies we are using it is hard to see another option.
Last month, stay at home dad and Canberra father, Rob Clode, launched a social media campaign called Ones, Twos and Trees: Turning Wees and Poos into Trees. His aim is to raise $6300 to start offsetting the environmental impact of the greenhouse gases produced during the production, manufacture and use of nappies.
‘I know that we all want a greener future for our children,’ Robert told me. ‘And through the power of social media, we can all get together as a community and create positive social change. By supporting Ones, Twos and Trees together we can Turn Wees and Poos into Trees!’
To help raise funds to make Ones, Twos and Trees a reality, simply pledge your support and offset your nappy use for less than $30 per child by visiting www.onestwosandtrees.com or crowdfunding site www.startsomegood.com/onestwosandtrees.
But will the trees last?
I asked Rob what assurance we have that the trees will never be harvested for wood, and he explained that they will be working under the guidance of the Carbon Farmers Initiative, so the trees they plant will be continually monitored for appropriate growth and carbon sequestration. They will also be required to use approved methodologies.
“Also, for every child’s nappy use offset you will receive a numbered certificate that will allow you to trace where your trees have been planted via our website. We will also provide regular updates on how the trees are growing.”
Many people I’ve spoken to whose children are out of nappies chose to contribute to offset their nappy use in retrospect (that’s what I did too). Of course, you can also contribute more, if you are passionate about getting this project off the ground, and you can also “like” and share this post with your friends. So far Rob has already raised half the amount they need to get started, but with only three weeks to go, they need your help to make this happen.
It’s now a little easier to become that eco-warrior with Ones, Twos and Trees.
*Choice Magazine, April 2007
**Nappies and the Earth The Green Nappy Company, www.greennappy.com.au/webcontent12.htm