Social irresponsibility

I’ve been finding myself getting more and more intolerant of people that continue to turn a blind eye to the damage that we are doing to the planet. Interestingly, people are becoming more aware now that it’s affecting their pockets. The price of petrol is making people think before they drive. The general tightening of the economy is making people think about how much power they use. But one thing that doesn’t seem to be changing much is the amount of rubbish that people make. And some of the worst offenders seem to be the parents of babies.

Lately it seems that I’ve been having the disposable vs reusable nappy debate on just about a daily basis. It’s become a bit of a crusade for me. I just cannot believe how ignorant/lazy/complacent some people are. If you weigh up the pros and cons the decision should be a no brainer. Finances aside (you save yourself thousands of dollars over the nappy wearing life of a baby if you buy reusables),  the pros of washing and reusing nappies far outweigh the cons.

At antenatal class the other week someone asked if nappies are biodegradeable. He looked pretty shocked when I told him that one nappy takes 50 years to break down. The average newborn baby goes through 8 of those nappies a day. Most children continue to wear nappies until they are three years old. That is one hell of a lot of landfill. How can anyone feel ok about that?

All the myths about washable nappies are just that – myths. Some people try to tell me that if you take into account soap powder, water and electricity for washing that they are just as bad. Bullshit. Others say that they are more likely to give babies nappy rash. Bullshit. Or that they are such high maintenance that they aren’t feasible. Bullshit. It’s not like the old days when you had a square of cotton that you had to soak and wash and fold and pin. These days they are just one unit that you shake over the toilet and then throw straight in the wash.

When I tell people I’m going to use washables for my twins they say “Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts!” What the hell? When I tell people I’m going to do something tricky at work they don’t say that. Why should this be any different? Being a mother is going to be my full time job and I intend to do it every bit as well as I’ve ever done anything before.

So if you’re planning on having a baby, do something responsible. Forget about disposable nappies – they’re not ok.


8 thoughts on “Social irresponsibility

  1. When you criticise people’s decisions and call them irresponsible it does offend you know. Many of us use disposable nappies; not many drive great big ****-off black trucks. Environmentally friendly?

  2. You surprise me Mike! I would have thought that after 3 years you’d be used to my forceful delivery of opinion…

    In this case it was my intention to make people think (many of you, as you point out) rather than to offend.

    I’m glad you bring up the subject of my truck, because you give me the opportunity to dispel another myth. Not ALL trucks are environmentally unfriendly. In actual fact, I chose the model I now own because it is the most environmentally friendly/economical of all the vehicles that fitted my size requirement. It is considerably better for the environment than my last vehicle.

  3. Sarah you made a lot of definitive statements in that post. Just like every other soon to be parent I’ve come across. You’ve just called the vast majority of parents “ignorant/lazy/complacent”. All of which without one days experience of being a parent.

    There probably isn’t one of us that can’t be pinged for a choice that isn’t the best for the planet. You included. You may have read all the books and articles about parenthood but you haven’t lived it just yet. We used cloth nappies for our first child and it is by no stretch as simple as you just stated. If it was don’t you think more people would be doing it?

    You want to use proper nappies for your twins? Go for it. I applaud you for it. But don’t be so quick to judge others till you’ve walked in their shoes. Babies are wonderful things but incredible draining and that’s just one of them. As a parent of two great kids myself I can tell you that kids are both 10x more rewarding than you realise and 10x more work.

  4. We used cloth nappies for our first child and it is by no stretch as simple as you just stated. If it was don’t you think more people would be doing it?

    No, I don’t think it will be simple at all. I think that’s exactly why more people don’t do it. But that doesn’t mean I think they shouldn’t.

    That being said, you make some very fair points.

    I guess I’ll have to prove myself.

  5. You don’t have to be a parent to research and understand the facts about disposable/reusable nappies.

    I’m a parent – and a friend of Sarah’s as it happens – who uses cloth nappies, and I can honestly say it’s really not that much hard work (at least that’s the case with the ones I use). Of course there’s more work involved than throwing a disposable nappy away, but it’s not the great drama that most people seem to think it is.

    I’m sorry to say that I agree that many people ARE ignorant/complacent/lazy. Ignorant because they over-estimate what is involved with laundering modern cloth nappies (most parents think it’s WAY harder than it really is, but they don’t actually know how simple it can be), complacent because they feel that “everyone else seems to be doing it so it must be ok”, and lazy because, well, they just can’t be bothered into looking into it further because it seems too hard (refer ‘ignorant’).

    Yes, there is so much extra work you do as a parent that you never did before. But in my experience, the effort of using reusable nappies pales into insignificance when you factor in all the other things we do.

    Using reusable nappies is worth it!

    Unless you feel it’s your absolute right to disregard the state of the very planet that our kids stand to inherit.

  6. We’re using reusable diapers, washing them with a high-efficiency washer and dryer, and I drive a small car that gets over 30 MPG.

    Do I win? 😉

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