Monday, February 28, 2011

G Whiz

I have a review blog, but I thought this would go better here - no one's giving me anything to write this (heck, they don't even know I exist), and it IS a product that's touted as being "green".

~The Product: gDiapers

~The Hype (stolen from their own website): "The most eco-friendly diaper available, gDiapers provides parents with a diapering solution that is good for babies, parents and the planet. You can have the flexibility of a disposable diaper with a 100% biodegradable gRefill, or opt for reusability with super soft and trim-fitting gCloth inserts. gDiapers are plastic-free, elemental chlorine free, latex free, and perfume free.

Use a biodegradable gRefill or re-usable gCloth inside our newborn tiny gPants and our cotton little gPants. All materials are breathable, just like sports clothing, so babies are far less likely to get diaper rash. And did we mention they're cute? Babies can flaunt their eco-friendly diapers in a rainbow of adorable colors. Because green diapers don't need to be bland.

No landfill required.

50 million diapers get tossed each day and each one takes up to 500 years to biodegrade. Ick. Home compost, toss, or flush the biodegradable gRefill for the smallest footprint on earth. gDiapers break down in 50-150 days...You can also compost the wet ones or simply toss the soiled refill. It will break down in the landfill a lot faster than the 500 years for a conventional disposable diaper. Or learn more about re-useable gCloth."

~The Price: Variable, but and Babies-R-EverywhereUs were pretty close. Prices quoted here are from

$17.99 for one pant.nappy, no refills (gPant and plastic liner only).
$14.99 for one pack of 40 biodegradable/disposable refills.
$20.00 for six plastic liners.
$29.99 for 6 cloth refills.
$79.99 for a six-pack of the pants only.
$129.99 for a "Sweet Bundle" with 6 pants (3 orange, 3 green) and 4 packs of biodegradable refills.
$135.99 for a "Sweet Bundle" with 12 cloth refills.
$149.99 for a "gBaby bundle" with 6 pants, 80 biodegradable refills, and 6 tinygPants (sized for newborns).

In other words, not cheap (especially when you realize they come in sizes, so you have to purchase pants and liners more than once as your baby grows), but at about $20 for 60 disposable newborn nappies, it's comparable...and over time it may even be cheaper if you're using the cloth inserts.

~Our Thoughts: We were lucky - several friends were kind enough to gift us with both gPants and refills. Ours came in two-packs (two pants, four plastic liners, and a spatula looking thing called a Swish Stick)(you'll find out what the spatula looking thing is for in a minute). The plastic liners snap in, so if one gets schmutzed or deteriorates, it can be cleaned or replaced. Replacement liners are also available online. We received both cloth and disposable refills - this was the prime reason I was interested in gPants; we travel/camp several times a year, and hauling soiled cloth nappies about with us did not seem like fun...but I didn't want to use conventional disposables, either. gPants seems like a nice middle way.

The pants come in a variety of colors with cute names like Guppy Green and Grubby Knees Grey. We have Goddess Pink, Guppy Green, Gooseberry Purple, and Golly Molly Pink. Check out their website for more color info. The pants have Velcro tab closures, so no pins, awkward buttons, or snaps. Thank you, NASA, for Velcro! The tabs take a little getting used to - where a traditional disposable has tabs that go back to front, gPants have tabs that go front to back (so baby can't get to 'em, remove 'em, and use soiled nappies for painting the walls with)(not that THAT ever happens). They're soft, with lovely knit cuffs so little legs don't chafe, and (because the plastic liner is removable) machine washable. They aren't as bulky as some cloth nappies, either, which I like.

We tried to use them from the start, but the waist-band irritated Sprout's umbilical stump and she hollered about it - dear Goddess, did she holler about it - so we used regular disposables with the little cut-out until the stump fell off and she was fully healed.

We have both cloth and biodegradable refills. I like the cloth ones for home/short trip use and the biodegradable ones for longer trips away from home.

The instructions with the cloth liners called for 6 hot water washings (no soap, no other laundry), then a hot dry before use. I don't know how earth-friendly that is...even though we had 4 sets of 6 refills (2 small, 2 medium), it hardly made a load, and even though our washer has an adjustable water level...that's a lot of hot water! All the washing serves a purpose, though - the liners we got are felted hemp (yay, hemp!!) and needed shrinking before using. Better to pre-shrink, yes? Yes!

The cloth liners are soft...nice for baby's bottom. Sprout likes 'em, anyway. They don't hold as much soil/liquid as a disposable nappy, so you'll need several packs of 'em if you want to use 'em exclusively. We haven't had a poop with one of the cloth refills*, yet, so I can't tell you how easily they come clean...

The biodegradable liners are nifty, but as with the cloth they don't hold as much so you really have to be on top of nappy changes. Sprout lets us know when she needs a change if we slack a bit - little miss does NOT like to be damp or soiled! There are several ways of disposing of these refills - trash 'em, flush 'em, or compost 'em.

Trashing 'em may seem contrary to being green, but they are supposed to break down faster than traditional disposable nappies, and there is definitely less waste. It's certainly the easiest of options, especially when they're poopy.

Flushing 'em requires some dexterity, and isn't a good option if you're squeamish, it's heavily soiled, or you're holding a baby (because it really takes two hands) - first you have to scrape off solid waste with the spatula thing, then tear down the sides of the refill and dump the inner core into the toilet. Swish with the spatula thing to break up clumps, flush, and while it's flushing, drop the outer part on top. Down it goes. Not very useful if you're in a public restroom, but not too difficult at home. I haven't had a poopy one to flush, yet*, so I can't relate the mess factor on that score...but the wet ones haven't been too awful.

Composting was another of the reasons I wanted to try these. They don't suggest you compost poopy ones, but according to their directions wet ones can go into the pile just fine. We haven't had a go at this, yet - in all honesty, we're a little leery of putting them in our garden compost pile, so we're going to start a separate heap for them...just as soon as we get a little more time in the day. Who knew new babies were so much work? Oh, wait...we did...

Some online reviews complained about leaking, but we haven't had an issue with that...yet. I won't be surprised by it, though - in my experience, all nappies leak, even disposables. Usually when you've got the baby all dressed up, or forgot a change of clothes for her, or have just run out of wipes.

~In Summary: I like 'em enough to keep using 'em, although I do think they're on the pricey side. They are a nice alternative to disposables, and while they aren't as budget friendly as I'd like (What can I say? I'm notoriousle cheap!), they do fit into a mainstream green lifestyle.
Check it out:

Sprout, stylin' in her Goddess Pink Little gPants.

*Not that the baby doesn't poop, because then I'd be at the doctor's office, not writing a blog...but we used regular disposables at night until we ran out of 'em, and she seems to like pooping when she wakes up, so the gPants haven't had much of a workout on that front.

Disclaimer - no one at Casa de Crazy was asked to write, nor recevied compensation for writing, this post. gPants, and Babies-R-EverywhereUs don't know we exist and probably wouldn't care if they did know who we were. All opinions offered here are as biased as they come, because we write what we think.