Convenient disposable diapers or rather ecologically correct reusable diapers? The point is that the Green Dot is just an excuse after all.
Disposable diapers have been a problem for a long time (here a photo from 1991) Photo: dpa
So. Now the time has come. I have become my own bogeyman.
How much I used to rant about the eco-moms with their cloth diapers and glassy eyes and their total fixation on the baby. With this self-absorbed idea of saving the world through individual consumerism.
"Political solutions!", I shouted. "Otherwise the purest conscience is just window dressing!"
And then I had a baby myself.
And suddenly my conscience spoke up. What mountains of garbage such a little person produces! Just this mass of diapers alone! Not to mention the energy consumption due to boiling bottles, washing clothes full of vomit and making coffee for the parents.
"This child is not even half a year old and has already pooped his own body weight in diapers several times," I said to Paul.
"And what they cost!" he quipped. "From now on, we’ll just use toilet paper for the baby’s bottom. Single ply. Rough fiber."
Disposable diapers in the ocean
I had nightmares of disposable diapers wafting through the deep sea like plastic jellyfish. Until they get caught in the mouth of a dolphin, which coughs them up on some freakishly rare coral reef just before it dies in agony.
And then it hit the news.
220 kilograms of packaging waste. Per capita. Per year. In Germany. And half of that is due to private consumption. How could this happen?
Well. Yesterday I was shopping. In the supermarket. Salmon in plastic, sealed with foil. Bread from a bag with a clip-on lid, milk and juice in tetra packs. And then vegetables. Tomatoes "from the region" in environmentally friendly cardboard boats with plastic film on top. Organic apples, packaged the same way, from New Zealand; cucumbers in giant condoms and mushrooms in plastic cans.
Remember back in the nineties when we bought our fruits and vegetables at the greengrocer’s? I’d stand in front of the counter, hand over my bag and say, "A pound of tomatoes, please," and Mrs. Schramm would say, "The Italian ones are more expensive, but the Brandenburg ones are just as good."
The bakery was across the street, Getranke-Hoffmann around the corner. "Taking bottles away" was a standing expression.
Suddenly I think differently
We went shopping every day. The distances were shorter, but we walked them more often. And we bought less.
And today? There are only corner stores and bakeries in larger cities. Discounters have long since divided up the food market among themselves.
Well, and now we have a baby and suddenly I think differently about everything. Life, the earth, parties, laundry. Everything.
The point is that this Green Dot is just an excuse after all to produce so much plastic that you could wrap the whole country in it.
The idea was developed in 1991. Supposedly, the idea was to avoid packaging waste. In fact, the Ying-and-Yang-like pictogram is just an excuse to produce as much waste as possible. It creates jobs, boosts the economy, the production of packaging as well as recycling.
A structural problem
And so it’s not a private problem after all, but a structural one.
And that’s why we now use cloth diapers. At least for now.
Ask me in a week how long we lasted.