We’ve always cared about the environment, but lately in the Moody household we’ve really been pushing ourselves to do better.
I think it started when we were at a friend’s house for dinner recently and as she passed out the cloth napkins she said something simple like, “My New Year’s resolution is to waste less.”
Woah. Not that I’m regretting our New Year’s resolution, which was to push ourselves to be kinder and more outgoing with acquaintances and friends and strangers. We’re still working on it. We’re introverts.
But what a concept. Waste less.
It resonated with me, since we’ve been on a slow trek towards that end since before Edmond was born, beginning with our commitment to cloth diaper.
Now we just filed our taxes, and we were stunned to see on paper just how little we earned last year. Edmond was born two weeks before the close of 2013, and in 2014 we were broke, by most anyone’s definition. I don’t think we felt like we were on the verge of destitution, but we were definitely close.
I credit some savvy decisions like cloth diapering with making the difference.
When we were crunching the numbers before Edmond was born, we realized we couldn’t afford not to cloth diaper. So we pooled all our gift cards and checks from our baby shower and bought around 200 dollars worth of cloth diapering supplies. This was supplemented by an incredibly awesome gift from my brother- and sister-in-law of our niece’s old cloth diapering stash. We even got some super cute ones (which was a bit of a splurge, retrospectively).
And we’ve already made that money back, of course. The first month of Edmond’s life when we were using all disposables I was shocked by how many he went through, and horrified to see the bags of waste we were sending to a landfill forever. When he finally fit into his “one-size” diapers at around 6 weeks old, we were thrilled. SO much extra wiggle room in our budget!
Over the last year, we’ve purchased diapers a handful of times for use at my parents’ house, or to keep a back-up in the car, or for a vacation. But at 14 months, cloth diapers have absolutely paid for themselves. And what we figure is, we’ll use these diapers for all of our children (number of forthcoming children t.b.d. and I’m not planning on getting pregnant any time soon, but I definitely want at least a few little ones). So around 300 dollars for diapers for all of our kids? AMAZING.
And then about two months ago, treating our son’s diaper rash for the umpteenth time and researching all the chemicals found in even “natural” wipes, we spent 20 dollars on reusable wipes, and this too felt like such an AMAZING development. I’ll never go back to disposable wipes. It’s so much simpler when you cloth diaper, anyway.
So when the friend at dinner said she wanted to waste less, it got me thinking about all the paper products still at use in our home. I immediately stocked up on a few extra hand towels and wash towels for the kitchen, and stopped using paper towels. (Which felt like a big leap considering the mess our little toddler is capable of making).
All of this felt so natural. But I cringe to type what I’m about to. Here goes: I then decided to tackle the final disposable stronghold in the house. The behemoth. Toilet Paper.
Shocked? I’m shocked. I’m not a super granola-type. Or. I thought I wasn’t.
But here I am.
I purchased a bidet sprayer (which we needed anyway for diapers), and a scrap yard of navy blue fleece (for 27 cents, no less), which I then cut into 29 6-inch squares. We use the bidet, then the fleece, and then launder them with diapers. (If we weren’t still washing diapers, we could probably go 3-4 days between “family cloth” washes.)
It sounds gross. I’m embarrassed even writing about it. But I am, because I am proud of us. We’re saving money for our family and we’re helping the environment. And if we can inspire anyone else to do the same, that would be wonderful.
Subsequently, Edmond got a horrible cold and after finishing off the one box of tissue paper we had in the house, I borrowed some pinking shears from my mother-in-law and cut up some of his old burp cloths into squares. So now no more tissues either.
I could write out the facts and figures that most convinced me, but there is already a lot of literature out there about this that is more thorough than I feel like being at the moment, so here are a few articles to get you started on your researching, if you’re interested:.
P.S. Friday night Jonathan and I watched the documentary No Impact Man, so I think there’s a good chance we’re going to get even more eco-loco. Which is fine by us.
P.P.S. For concerned frequent guests of the Moody household, we’ll have toilet paper on hand for you, if that’s still your bag.