Diaper Bags, Wipes, and Pails

Essentially, you can use any type of bag to haul around the items you will need to care for your baby on the go. But many parents like the convenience of carrying a specially designed diaper bag that has a built in changing pad, enclosed pouch for dirty diapers, and plenty of pockets for toys, pacifiers, bottles, and spare clothes.

Gently used diaper bags are easy to find at yard sales and thrift stores and on online auction websites such as eBay (www.ebay.com). If you decide to purchase a new bag, be wary of the materials used in its production.

A recent study from the Center for Environmental Health found excessive levels of lead in many major name-brand diaper bags. For their research, the group bought sixty diaper bags from leading retailers, tested their vinyl changing pads for lead, and found that six of the products exceeded the federal safety standard of 600 parts per million.

Steer clear of vinyl and other petroleum-based products by choosing diaper bags made from recycled materials. The Re-Run bag from Fleurville (www.fleurville.com) is made from recycled plastic water bottles. Even better, Wee Generation (www.weegeneration.com) bags are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles and have received the exclusive cradle to cradle certification of environmental friendliness.

Green Diaper Wipes

Traditional baby wipes are disposable cloths used to cleanse a baby's bottom during diaper changes. Many parents also keep them on hand to wiping sticky fingers and hands or even clean up spills on the go. Disposable diaper wipes are infused with a number of chemicals in order to improve their cleaning power. Unfortunately, these chemicals include toxic detergents, fragrances, preservatives, and even alcohol. Disposable wipes are also usually sold in disposable plastic tubs that add to their waste.

Eco-Wipes

Look for nontoxic diaper wipes like those from Seventh Generation (www.seventhgeneration.com). According to their website, Seventh Generation diaper wipes contain the following ingredients: water, Polysorbate 20 (a cleansing agent derived from sugar), glycerin (soothes and cleanses skin, vegetable-oil derived), citric acid (provides stability and pH balance), potassium sorbate (a natural preservative), aloe barbadensis gel (helps heal skin), and tocopherol acetate (Vitamin E acetate, which helps heal skin.)

Homemade Wipes

Save money and the planet by making your own all-natural baby wipes at home. Here's how:

INGREDIENTS

Water (boiled and cooled)

Cleanser (eco-baby wash) or grape seed oil extract

Lotion (aloe vera, organic olive oil)

Small scraps of reusable cloths

Mix first three ingredients together and store in an air-tight container or spray bottle.

When changing diapers, simply wet cloths with the solution and use to clean you baby's bottom. Place the wipes, along with diapers in the laundry.

Need to freshen that stinky diaper pail? Don't reach for wasteful plastic bags or commercial air fresheners that contain VOCs and artificial fragrances. Instead, look for natural air fresheners such as a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of baking soda, or a teaspoon of vinegar to remove odors.

Diaper Pails

The greenest diaper pail is one that you already have in your house. For cloth diapers, any garbage pail with a good lid will work great. To make washing easier, line your trash can with a durable cloth liner that can be washed right along with the diapers. You might even want to have two so that you can wash one and line the can for new diapers right away.

When using cloth diapers, toss solids in the toilet before placing diapers in the pail. Sprinkle with a bit of baking soda to reduce odor before washing. You might also want to fill your diaper pail with water and baking soda to allow diapers to soak before washing. However, unless you plan on washing diapers frequently, pass on this method to avoid keeping a pail of stagnant water in your home.

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