BATTLES WITH PLASTIC
CHEEKY WIPES - These ought to be mandated for all new parents.
These arrived in the post this week. They are the best. They are also the reason that I just don't understand why disposable wipes exist in the millions that they do. Disposable wipes are SHIT. These on the other hand, clean up the shit, and they do it quite well.
For some reason I managed to go out last week without the handful of these I normally have stuffed in my nappy bag. Pip did a poo. It was one of those delightful toddler sized poos from a child with a slighty runny tummy. I was left with the ridiculous task of trying to clean it all up with the emergency packet of (nice happy environmentally biodegradable Kit&Kin) wipes. The flimsy wipes smeared it all about, there was an uncomfortably small barrier between my hand and the poo, I kept having to fight with the packet to let me get more out and I probably used a dozen before the mess was cleared up. As I faffed about, failing to deal with the poo efficiently, I thought - parents do this as a matter of normal, how do they not know there is another way?
This is the other way. These are cheeky wipes. These make wiping up bums much, much easier. They are made of nice cotton toweling so they grip and remove the poo rather than smearing it about. I might use a couple, sometimes even three to clean an espcially generous nappy deposit and I very rarely get my poo on my fingers! You can get a box to keep them wet and smelling pretty with a couple of drops of essential oil, but I keep mine dry and put them under the tap as needed. The only chemicals they go near are laundry detergent when they go through the wash, because like all things reusable, they go through the wash, you dry them and then use them again - almost, but not quite ad infinitum. They don't last quite forever, a packet of 25 seem to last me about two years. A good number of last set I bought when Pip was new are still completely servicable, but with a new baby that seems to want changing all the time and also quite enjoys weeing all over the nappy table (try mopping up wee with a disposable wipe - just can't be done) a few new ones were needed. So, I've bought another set - hopefully they'll tide me through until the end of my nappy changing career - That will be a happy day with champagne and dancing, but I've got a while to wait yet.
In terms of the battles with plastic they absolutely work - and they've updated their packaging since my last purcase and stuck them together with a card loop rather than in a plastic bag. Yes, they cost more upfront than a packet of wipes, but that cost evaporates pretty quickly, and crucially they do a way better job than their fatberg causing cousins. And whilst they don't last forever - two years and approximatley three hundred washes later they disintegrate into cotton fibres which wont end up poisoning fish. Surely something that is useful for two years and then will rot away is way better than something that can only be used once and then sits in landfill until the end of days?
I also got a second pack of these colours:
These ones are for the kitchen - I wanted different colour ones so I can tell the difference between bum cloths and face ones. The kitchen cloths have been in use for about four years since Sally started eating solids, and the kitchen ones are just as well used as the bathroom ones. Face and fingers covered in hummus? Pasta sauce smeared across the table? Drink knocked over? Snot everywhere? Cheeky wipes to the rescue!
Seriuously though - how much plastic have I not gone through because of these? I wonder how many millions of tons of waste could be prevented from going to landfill if all new parents got a packet of these in their Bounty bags rather than half a dozen plastic wrapped pampers and a sundry other things coated in unnessary layers of packaging. And this is why more people don't use the reusable options - the aggressive marketing dollars of the multinationals foist these products on us from the moment our babies arrive. Lots of people don't really even know there is another option - the only time cloth nappies are seem its on tv like Call the Midwife with struggling housewives wringing out stinky sodden piles of terries and fighting with nappy pins. Things are a little different now, velcro exists, as do washing machines!
When I made the choice to use washable nappies with Sally I decided that I wouldn't be preachy about it, but I think the time for that is past. Every piece of news about the state of the planet becomes more dire. Global warming is already out of control, plastic is in every corner of the earth wrecking ecosystems where it should never be. We have to fight back against this throwaway is ok culture, where quick is fine as long as the cost is to the planet and not our time or our pocket. I might not save the world with my nappy and wipes choices, but at least I'm not actively making it worse. Maybe I'll convince someone to make a change with my writing - I can at least hope.
(oh, and if you're thinking about washable nappies - do it! You put them on the baby and then put them in the washing machine, dry them and then do the same again. There's really not that much to it and the prints are way prettier than anything you can throw in the bin.)