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I've been pondering my recent reduction in use of disposable items, particularly my recent discovery of the brilliance of washable fruit and veg bags, and am wondering what everyone else is using, or if there are any good ideas I've missed! I've probably forgotten reusable things on the poll, but feel free to remind me.

[Poll #1357060]

on 2009-02-28 12:57 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
I just replaced my Diva cup because I can't find it post move (3 years ago!) and loves it :).

You do have to be careful to consider what you're doing though. Cloth nappies, for eg, require a lot of inputs to get them to you (water for the cotton, pesticides, cloth production, transport etc) and then over their life, they use a lot of the resource that we are short on - water - to keep them going, as well as potentially lots of chemicals to maintain them.

So are single-use nappies for eg that bad? They go into landfill, which is something we have a lot of (space I mean). Yes they last for hundreds of years, but essentially don't break down. Which is an ethical mindfield of course! And then there's the case of using anything reusable meaning that you have to know how to maintain them hygenically, which a lot of people don't.

And plastic shopping bags are usually repurposed 4-5 times over before they are disposed of. So what will take the place of these bags when they are used for wet bathers, or dog poo, or meat, or lining small bins? People at large won't make these changes - they'll just replace those conveniences with another product. Probably plastic as well.

on 2009-02-28 01:18 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Modern cloth nappy washing practices don't use nearly the chemicals old wet-pailing/bleaching/etc routines did. :) Washing one kid's worth of nappies is about the same water use as another person's worth of daily toilet flushing, which of course will be what replaces the child's nappy use once they're toilet-trained. So really, if you're worried about water use, it's best not to have the baby in the first place. :D
Single-use nappy manufacturing uses water too, and pumps ick out with the waste, and you're *still* meant to flush the solids, which most people don't. I did consider the options, in depth. And I still think I made a good choice. I used second-hand and home-made and locally-made nappies for the most part, with hemp (a lower water-use crop) making up a large part of the stash, meaning not a huge manufacturing or transport load for much of it (or spread out over several kids). And this isn't unusual - most of the cloth nappy users I know IRL do/did much the same, with local nappy libraries or kits doing the rounds.

The plastic bag thing is funny - I've heard of quite a few people "forgetting" their reusable grocery bags so they can get free bin liners!

on 2009-03-01 12:34 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Ahhhmmm I didn't mean anything bad about you, or the amazing people who do it. Just that it's not a black and white issue. People are stockpiling their plastic bags, and maybe they'll start recycling them ;).

I did post about this on my blog a while back, questioning all of this. It's really important to discuss it all and you've given me some great ideas!

on 2009-03-01 07:19 am (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile]
Oh, I wasn't feeling attacked so much as evangelical. :D There are a lot of incorrect assumptions floating around about how modern cloth nappies are created and maintained (soaking, excess chemical use in washing and such) that are based on fairly old-fashioned methods. The UK study (commissioned by KC I think *coughcoughlol*) made assumptions like IRONING nappies, for the love of pete, and they came out as "equal". :D

Glad you've got some ideas! It's good to discuss these things, I see other people hadn't known about the F&V bags either, I've only just discovered them myself.


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