Raise your baby the eco-friendly way

How to make eco-friendly choices in life with your new baby that will save you money, too.

By David Bach

The biggest – and stickiest – issue with raising a green baby is what to do about diapers: disposable or cloth?

Environment Canada says we throw away 4 million disposable diapers a day! Most of them go into landfills – making up about 2% of the garbage there and taking hundreds of years or more to decompose. What’s more, disposables cost parents $2,400 during baby’s first two and a half years.

Cloth diapers cost less – especially if you launder them yourself – but in terms of “impact” they’re not necessarily better on the environment, thanks to the water and detergent used to clean them. It turns out that diapers are a matter of personal choice. If you do opt for cloth, be sure to use biodegradable, phosphatefree detergent.

Here are some cost-saving baby ideas that are also green:
 • Scout out gently used baby clothes at garage sales and consignment shops, and on Craigslist, eBay and Freecycle.
 • Make your own food instead of buying all those little glass jars. Pureeing vegetables is quick, simple, healthy and cost-effective.
 • Nurse your baby instead of feeding formula. You’ll save about $40 a week, it’s healthier, and there’s no manufacturing, packaging or shipping involved.

SAVE
$40 a week by nursing
SAVE
the glass in 600 jars by pureeing your own baby food.

Another important green baby issue has to do with the furniture in your nursery. Some scientists believe that crib death may actually be caused by flame-retardant chemicals – called PBDEs – in beds and mattresses, which become poisonous when they interact with common household fungi. Keep your baby safe by choosing organic, chemical-free mattresses and bedding. For all-natural crib mattresses, visit the website of manufacturer Hästens at www.hastens.com.

Go green action steps
• If you choose disposable diapers, be sure to buy the greenest ones available, such as Nature Boy & Girl, which are made with cornstarch instead of plastic (www.natureboyandgirl.net). Or try Seventh Generation’s, which are made without chlorine (www.seventhgeneration.com).

• Check out the gDiapers website at www.gdiapers.com. gDiapers are a blend of cloth and disposable diapers. They combine a cotton outer-pant with a waterproof liner that can both be washed and reused. Then you slide a disposable pad into the liner, which can be flushed, composted or thrown away.

Make your own baby food. Find recipes for easy, all-natural baby food at www.wholesomebabyfood.com.




Excerpted from Go Green, Live Rich by David Bach. Copyright 2008 by David Bach. Excerpted with permission from Random House Canada. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.

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