We can and do have so many intentions as parents. We intend to breastfeed for a certain amount of time. Maybe. Or we intend to never put our baby in synthetic materials. Or to adhere to a particular parenting philosophy. Or to never ever put our baby in a conventional disposable diaper. But even the most emphatic intentions can hit roadblocks. Check out this story from Anna, our sea-changing friend from 5 Gyres. Her intention to be plastic-free came to a bump in the road, a mile in the sky.
Forgive me Gaia, I must come clean …
I used 2 diapers on the plane ride to Bali.
Not seventh generation, not chlorine-free, eco-friendly, shade-grown diapers, but straight up pampers. My intention was to go gDiapers all the way, and show that yes, even on the road, traveling with your little one, cloth is doable. But when the stewardess at Air China greeted us with a sympathetic smile and a little gift bag of baby food, a bib, and pampers, I caved. Facing 30 hours of travel with an infant is daunting enough.
At least we only needed two! We’re still doing “elimination communication” with little Avani, even in the impossibly tight airplane bathrooms. I took secret delight in telling Marcus it was his turn at the airport. “You mean, like in the mens’ room?” I imagined him in the bathroom echo chamber, surrounded by dudes, cooing in his gentle, high pitched baby voice, “Avani, make a poo poo in the potty?” The look on his face coming out told me that’s exactly what happened.
30 hours and a layover in Tai Pei later, were in Bali. And took our first beach walk this morning, starting in Seminyak and making our way down the endless, manicured coastline towards tourist-catering Kuta. Not 10 minutes in, I spotted two bloated, disintegrating plastic diapers in the surf – Bali’s less welcome “beach bums”. As if the garbage kharma gods were wagging a finger at me for my travel transgressions. I wonder how many others we’ll see during our stay here…
We’ve heard much from everyone who has been to Bali of its beauty, juxtaposed with horrific waste. This stretch of beach, a revenue-generator for the hotels lining the entire strip, appears relatively clean – but it’s a façade. Every morning at daybreak, an army of locals descend on the beach with rakes and bags to make the trash disappear for tourists. And every day, it washes back up.
I’ve asked a few people here about diapers. In some of the villages, people still use cloth, but in the urban centers, disposables have become the norm. And without a good waste management plan, these soiled synthetics end up in rivers and watersheds, washing out to sea, and often beyond the reach of the waste pickers to wind up on the beach.
Avani will do her part to not contribute, thanks to an awesome care package from gDiapers. We’ll use the cloth inserts when we’re holed up for a few days with access to washing, and the biodegradable* inserts when we’re on the go. Granted, these wont make it to any compost bins in Bali, and I’m not hardcore enough to bring them home, so it’s a bit of a wash, so to speak.. at least at home, I can compost these.
All biases aside, this is a way cuter beach bum!
*Disposable inserts are 100% biodegradable in a home compost (wet ones only, please) in 50-150 days per testing by a third party independent testing facility.
Anna’s post was originally published on the 5 Gyres blog and is re-printed here with her kind permission. 5 Gyres is a tiny organization hell-bent on ridding the world’s oceans of plastic pollution. gDiapers is here to help. Find out how you can get involved at 5gyres.org.
about the author Kelli McKee (also known as 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 It’s Me, Kelli, 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.