You might have heard the frightening statistic that disposable diapers are the third largest consumer item in landfills and make up about 4% of all solid waste. While most of us want to be as environmentally responsible as possible when it comes to diapers; the prospect of spending hours scraping poop and laundering cloth diapers can be daunting when you’re exhausted in your new role as a mom or dad. Luckily, gDiapers have come to the rescue! If you haven’t yet heard of gDiapers, they are the world’s first flushable, compostable diaper, pairing the “green” attributes of cloth diapers with the convenience of disposables. As a new mom of a five week old baby, gDiapers have been a godsend for my time-constrained eco-aspirations. They are cute, comfy and most importantly, easy to use, and I can’t recommend them more highly.
Here’s how they work: Each gDiaper is composed of three elements: a cute washable outer cotton layer called the little G pant, a washable waterproof inner layer, and a flushable poop and peep absorbing insert (which sort of works like an old school maxi pad). The gDiaper starter kit comes with 2 little G pants (the cute colorful outer layer), 4 waterproof inner layers, and 16 flushable inserts. That’s fine for a start, but to really make this work you need about 6 little G pants, a bundle of waterproof layers, and boxes of the flushable inserts. When you change your baby’s diaper, you simply remove the flushable insert, toss it in your toilet, and replace it with a new insert.
Sounds simple, right? Well, it’s not quite as simple as all that, but it’s still very doable. Here are some things to note:
1. When you toss the flushable insert into the toilet, you need to help break it up and dissolve it in your toilet with a little plastic stick that you swish around the toilet bowl. This may sound like a pain, but don’t be alarmed. Yes, this means that a gDiaper change takes about 1 minute longer than a disposable diaper change, but I find it sort of amazing and enthralling to watch how the insert dissolves so quickly in water (it’s made from tree cellulose).
2. While in theory you could just take out and replace the flushable pad at every diaper change, in reality it is much easier to change the WHOLE diaper kit-and-caboodle and deal with poopy inserts later. The best way to do this is to have at least 4 little G pants on hand at your changing table, locked, stocked and ready to go with their inserts in place. This way the diaper change becomes a 10 second affair, and the toilet bowl insert-swishing can happen later after your baby is happily changed and in another room.
3. The waterproof inner layer and the cotton outer layer do get wet and poopy on occasion, although not with most diaper changes. I’ve found it necessary to hand wash at least one plastic inner layer each day, and one little G pant every few days. Fortunately, the G pants can be thrown in the laundry and washed with the rest of your clothes, just like regular underwear.
I’ve read a lot of online reviews about gDiapers, and I have been bummed to see that many parents don’t seem to stick with them because they don’t find them convenient enough. I think this might just be due to having overly high expectations about their convenience (perhaps trying to make the switch from using disposables, or from gDiapers own marketing messages), that just don’t line up with reality.
The bottom line is that gDiapers are definitely less convenient than disposables, but the difference is not insurmountable. It is worth putting in the effort, given the positive impact using them makes on the environment. Yes, it probably takes 1 minute more of work for me at each diaper change to swish up the flushable insert in the toilet. However, when I consider that this action means I am not sending 15 nasty plastic disposable diapers to pile up in a landfill every day, taking the extra time is well worth it. Plus, the gDiapers are comfy for my baby and they look adorable on him.
My baby Petey in his G Diapers!
I highly encourage all new parents to give gDiapers a try – an honest, wholehearted try, for at least 2 weeks. I think after a few days of getting into the groove of swapping and swishing, you will agree that these things are an environmental godsend.