Today I laid to rest a washable nappy, or diaper, depending on where in the world you are. It is 13 years old.
My youngest child was the only of my four children to live the washable nappy experience. This was, I would say, a direct result of the swift dose of reality I took on board as a result of the campaign I had got involved in 2 years (in 2001) earlier to stop the construction of a large hazardous waste incinerator in our beautiful harbour, already well populated with chemical companies.
As I write, the campaign is now in its 17th year and incredibly we are still fighting that battle. The nappy, on the other hand, I think deserves a break!
It served its time dutifully on baby’s bottom, then became a spilled liquid wipe (there is NOTHING more absorbent), then a floor washing cloth, a hamster cage underliner and this morning I set it to rest atop my worm composter.
The 100% cotton layer will insulate and hide the light encouraging the worms to rise to the top and do their thing processing both the food and eventually, the nappy itself.
How different an ending to disposable diapers, which take 250 – 500 years to decompose in an landfill and are one of the list of items that don’t burn in an incinerator. They are after all, made of a similar gel to fire retardant.
The rest of the washable nappies are still serving dutifully around the house and to know that they will return to the earth via worm compost is icing on the cake. Zero Waste and nature at their finest.