I was walking down the aisles of Metropolitan Market, the small locally owned supermarket that was across the street from my former apartment in Seattle with my now wife Elizabeth — we were looking for food that was tasty, locally sourced, and kosher. At some point we passed by some baby related items and a medium sized package caught both of our eyes. It was a gDiaper starter kit, meant to help new parents with their baby — the g in the name was what really stood out, as we knew immediately that it must stand for green, or environmentally friendly.
When I got home, I looked into it and it seemed to solve many of my concerns about disposable diapers that have been around and only getting more prevalent as the price of disposable diapers has plummeted. I was chiefly worried about the amount of space future diapers would take up over the years — multiple diapers per day, seven days a week, fifty two weeks per year, for the few years that each baby would wear diapers. That would mean thousands of diapers would be piling up in a landfill (more likely a few landfills) and would continue to sit there until they would break down.
How long would it be until they break down? Some sources point to never, with anywhere from five hundred to a thousand years being the minimum even the better part of the so-called disposable diaper to return to its source.
The gDiaper, on the other hand, when buried will be fully decomposed within the course of several months or a year at absolutely most. That would be appealing to anyone with composting space, but I had a strong suspicion that I would not anytime be soon living in a house. The gDiapers fortunately come with another route to environmental responsibility in the form of flushability.
The way that the gDiaper works is as follows — an insert, made of compostable and flushable plant matter is put into a gDiaper cover, which come in a variety of sizes according to the size and age of the baby. As the starter set we got came with twelve different tiny gDiaper covers, we try to keep at least four “pre-loaded” with inserts because there is nothing crankier than a baby who is impatiently waiting for you to put an insert into a cover while he lays on the changing table wearing a dirty diaper.
In theory, anyone can take the soiled gDiaper insert and, following the instructions provided, flush it down the toilet. One simply tears down the sides of the insert, pulls it gently apart, and then swirls it around with an included ‘swizzle stick’ that helps break down the insert even before you flush it down the toilet. My wife and I have discovered, however, that it is much easier for me to do them all in one go when I get home in the evening than for her to try to do them while holding our son.
As far as absorbency and leak control goes, we could not be any happier. With only one exception (I refer to an incident in which he had not been changed in an unprecedented amount of time, out of our control) we have had no issues with leaks — all of Chaim’s discharge has remained entirely in the confines of his diaper.
We have been quite amused by the people who have come to us and told us in no uncertain terms that we would fail at using the gDiapers and that we would eventually grow impatient with them and go to using “normal” diapers — by normal, of course, they mean that the diapers would spend an eternity in the landfill. We have also been fortunate in that we have not felt this impatience reaching us, nor have we failed in our using of the gDiaper — rather, we have succeeded in every way possible. If you are looking into a diaper that will treat you and the environment well, the gDiaper may be for you.
I super love this article, Gordon! It’s the perfect solution to a looming problem. I love what retro-pioneer parents you are!
Thanks, David. When it comes to our baby we always address his needs with the following question: what is the most environmentally responsible way we can meet this need while not going bankrupt? The gDiaper certainly met that challenge! 🙂