green shame

I wasn’t ready for the poop. Or the diarrhea, the green stuff, the smells and even the appearance of a steady stream (sometimes literally) of crap.  I liked to think of myself as a ‘green’ consumer, but after a couple of days in the hospital after the birth of my son I knew I would be a disposable diaper parent.  He had me at ‘meconium.’

Using disposable diapers was slightly inconvenient in New Jersey. First, they were expensive:  but problem solved, order in bulk online.  Second, we had a townhouse and we weren’t going to run the diapers down to the garage at midnight.  Problem solved:  buy a diaper genie-type thing that had an “airtight” seal.  Third, I did have to trundle them over to the community trash compactor, which was fine in the summer but a bit of a pain in the winter.  But in general, disposables seemed to work.  I felt bad about tossing that much garbage away, but not really:  if you throw away two or three diapers a day, it doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things.

Jump to 2010, and clan Brip Blap relocated to the outer edge of a small town in a fairly rural county in Florida. No more community trash:  just a once-a-week trash pickup service.  One kid off diapers but another stubbornly clinging to the last luxurious days of poop-on-the-go diaper service.  And finally, one papa, flinging plastic bag after plastic bag (and yes, I know that’s bad too) into the trash waiting for Wednesdays.

That’s a lot of poop from one small toddler; that poop (and pee) is wrapped up in even more vaguely scented, children’s-TV-brand imprinted diapers.  The first time I looked at the trash can on a Wednesday morning as I dragged it to the end of the driveway for pickup I was appalled.  Almost four years of diapers in landfills.  The thought of it made me realize that, along with continuing to drive my ten-year old poor-MPG Pontiac on a long commute daily, I’m not nearly as green as I should be – or would like to be.

It’s a tough choice on many levels and, of course, not being the stay-at-home parent it wasn’t really my call anyway. But like with many life lessons – learning to control spending, eating well, staying away from drugs, and learning to root against the New England Patriots – it’s worth reflecting on for a while.  I won’t be having any more children, and now that my daughter, Pumpkin, is almost trained it won’t be an issue in my family again.  But there will be a poop-and-diaper equivalent, and hopefully someday I’ll develop the backbone to match rhetoric and actions.