We are always so pleased to welcome guest bloggers to join in the conversation. Thank you to Abby of Baby Bird’s Farm for reaching out to us. She’s been composting gDiapers disposable inserts (wet ones only) in her home compost and put together this nifty post for you all, because making dirt is so much nicer than making garbage. Please note that gDiapers did not pay for or sponsor this post, we’re just sharing cause we think you’d dig it.
by Abby of Baby Bird’s Farm
Not that long ago it was International Babywearing Day. I posted on our Facebook Page about how babywearing (which is simply wearing a baby or toddler in a sling, wrap or other carrier) has made it easier for us to cook, garden and compost. My sister laughed at the mention of babywearing and taking out the compost, questioning if she was truly related to someone so crunchy. I had to take it a step further saying that I chuckled myself the first time I wore baby while composting her wet diapers. Composting diapers? Yup. It may sound impossibly crunchy but more and more parents are ready for creative ways to reduce their babies’ impact on their environment. It is their earth to inherit, isn’t it?
I recently shared more about why we like cloth and hybrid diapers in this last post, which also talks about how to set up and organize your system. Please do not try to compost a conventional disposable diaper. It would take eons and the plastic and chemicals in it would not be something you want in your garden, let alone your food. We only use gDiapers disposable inserts, which, as far as I know, are the only ones that are “cradle to cradle” certified and completely biodegradable.
Although we love the fit, feel and ease of use of using the whole gDiaper system, we initially had only so-so results flushing the inserts. My husband was afraid they were negatively affecting the plumbing in our older home. Then I learned that not all in my household had read the directions and were trying to flush the inserts whole. Check out this link for tips on how to flush gDiaper inserts. I recommend getting everyone who will care for baby on the same page, something that in those fuzzy first few weeks of parenthood I must not have done as well as I thought. I also recently learned that flushing the inserts is not recommended when you have pipes infested with tree roots. We have a couple dozen malaluca trees in front of and around our house and just last week the city was working on the sewers and pulled out this massive root ball. (See more images on the original blog post.)
But composting the disposable inserts is a win-win in my book. Urine is an excellent source of nitrogen, and a good source of phosphorus and potassium. Healthy urine is non-toxic. In fact, diluted urine has actually been used directly as a fertilizer.¹ All plants require micronutrients and nitrogen is often in short supply. Vegetables, in particular, are prone to nitrogen deficiency.² (By the way, legumes, such as beans, are an exception, as they actually produce nitrogen. This is why co-planting nitrogen-fixing beans with corn and squash is so helpful. Check out more on this in my post on the Three Sisters.)
To be clear, we do not compost diaper inserts with poop. In our home all poop is flushed down the toilet, baby’s included (and chickens’ excluded). The sewer system is much better equipped to handle human waste than the trash system. Did you know that technically you are supposed to remove and flush the poop from disposable diapers before throwing them away? How many people do you think do that??
…any way, the veggies on the Bird Family Farm looove Baby Bird! (And she loves them.) We put every wet insert, about two/day, along with a lot of kitchen scraps and some yard clippings into a continuous composter. To get the inserts to break down faster, you could rip them open, but we never bother. And, voila! Black Gold…
About the author – When not babywearing while composting Abby (also known as Mama Bird) can usually be found in the kitchen. Or blogging at Baby Bird’s Farm and Cocina where she shares adventures in natural parenting, urban homesteading and seasonal cooking. She and Papa Bird are proud parents to a 16-month-old girl and to a twinkle in the eye. She works part time as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Join the Baby Birds Farm community on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or by subscribing to the blog.
about the author Kelli Martinelli – Kelli has been with gDiapers since its infancy in 2006. She writes the gDiapers blog, email campaigns, web content, manages social media and customer service and supports PR. She occasionally takes a stab at her own blog Sunshine Daydreams where she chronicles her waste reduction efforts and her stories as a single mama to two kiddos. Stay in touch on the gDiapers blog, google + and twitter.