Treading Lightly

Over the past few years Tim and I have made some lifestyle changes so that we could tread more lightly on the earth, and therefore leave less of a negative impact for future generations to deal with. Here’s what we do, and we’re always looking for new ideas!

CLOTH DIAPERS: Before we had Eden we knew that we were going to use cloth. We scoured kijiji for deals on used ones and found someone selling a whole bunch for an excellent deal. There are MANY different kinds of diapers and we have quite a few different brands. I hope to do a blog post on them soon, I’ll attach a link when I do, in the mean time my sister has a few posts on cloth diapering you should check out, here and here.  There has been a lot of debate about whether cloth diapers are in fact more eco-friendly than disposable (because of the water usage when washing and all that goes into manufacturing…), and I’m sure you can find things to support your argument either way. In short these are the reasons we use cloth: better for baby (no chemicals against baby’s sensitive parts all day),  human waste is not meant to go in landfills (cannot be treated appropriately), it is estimated that disposables take 250-500 years to decompose in a landfill, they’re much cheaper in the long run (we probably spent about $300), they will last for all of our babies, and they’re cute.

Eden at 5 months wearing a Thirsties diaper

SOAPNUTS: We’ve been using soapnuts for almost 5 years to wash all of our clothes and diapers. We also make a liquid soap with them for cleaning. This is a great website if you want more info, we’ve bought them from here and here. We’ll probably write a blog post about them someday too.

CHEMICAL-FREE CLEANING: Besides soapnuts we use baking soda, diluted vinegar, and Borax for all of our household cleaning. Diluted vinegar is a great all purpose cleaner, baking soda and Borax are both scouring agents but borax is stronger (we use it for the tub, toilet and sinks). You can also sprinkle Borax in with your laundry for some extra power. If you’ve never heard of it just look for it in the laundry detergent section of your department or grocery store, it’s a light green box and it has lots of information on it.

DIVA CUP AND CLOTH PADS: Like soapnuts I’ve been using a diva cup for almost 5 years instead of disposable feminine products. What a fantastic invention it is! I did A LOT of research on it before I bought one to make sure it was for me and I was willing to be more “in touch” with my cycle.  After I figured out the best way to insert it I fell in love with it and told many other girls about it.  I think it’s a good idea for us to be more aware of our cycles and this is an excellent way to do that. It’s cheaper – about $40 – than disposable products (how much do you spend per year on disposable feminine products?) and  you only have to empty it twice a day (in the morning and in the evening). I often forget that I’m menstruating during the day because I don’t even have to think about it. That said, since having a baby things have changed…I bought the size 2 (for post-natal women) and I’m still getting used to how it fits. It takes time to get back in shape down there!

The Diva Cup sizes 1 & 2

Cloth pads were wonderful after Eden was born (and I obviously couldn’t use the cup). They were soft on my stitches and didn’t pull like disposable pads (I used cloth after I got home from the hospital). I would definitely recommend getting some even if it was just for this purpose. I still use them occasionally!

EAT LOCAL: We’re fortunate to live in a city where local produce and meat is easy to get. We go to the farmers market almost every Saturday where we get our eggs, some produce and some meat. We’re actually getting a CSA box from Sunshine Miles farm this summer so our veggies will be taken care of.  We’re also growing a small garden so we’ll have some veggies in our back yard to enjoy!

These chickens from The Warrington Farm lay my eggs!

PACKAGING: It’s important to notice the packaging that your food comes in. Is it recyclable? Is it reusable? Better yet, is it both? Being aware of what you’re purchasing is half the battle. Also, buying large bags of dried goods (like beans) is much more economical and healthy than meal sized cans. A 1lb bag of dried beans makes approximently5 cans worth of beans, for about the price of one!

SECOND-HAND STORES: This is an easy way to tread lightly! You can get pretty-much anything second hand and it saves money as well as has a smaller impact than buying new.

REUSING ZIPLOC BAGS: This is exactly what it sounds like, we wash out our bags after using them. You only have to by them once and they actually last quite some time (especially if you buy Ziploc, not generic).

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12 thoughts on “Treading Lightly

  1. Pingback: New Page and Links « K & T

  2. Love this post. Love my cloth diapers (even though I’ll confess I still use disposables at night time), and just got on to soap nuts a few months ago – they’re great! Finally something that doesn’t build up in the diapers, and I use them for all our laundry, even Cory’s concrete-covered work clothes. I really wanted to try cloth pads after this delivery, but I just couldn’t come up with the money to invest in them, even though I know they’d be cheaper in the long run. Also since I seem to always be pregnant or breastfeeding I haven’t got a diva cup yet, but I will for sure get one some day when I have cycles again! Glad to see you love it, where did you purchase yours?

    • I’m curious, do you use anything along with soapnuts to keep your diapers white, or do you just not care like us? I used to use soapnuts for my geology work clothes too, which were often pretty filthy with mud and dust, never had a problem cleaning them at all. Where did you get yours?

      Kathryn got her first Diva cup online I believe, and then got the most recent one at a mom/baby or natural goods store here in Fredericton. There are quite a few places that sell them actually, generally the natural/green kinda stores.

      • I don’t use anything to keep the diapers white, no. I know they’re clean even if they’re a bit stained! I know people swear by bleaching them in the sun for getting stains out, but I don’t have a clothesline in my second-floor apartment 🙂

  3. Great ideas! I’m gonna have to talk to you about cloth diapers someday… not super soon, but someday… 😉

    I WISH we had a farmer’s market here… with local meat and produce…. that would be heaven. I actually thought about starting one but this summer is going to be pretty busy already! Next summer maybe…

  4. I love the diva cup. Just started using it after D was born and my cycle came back about 4 months ago, so it’s still new to me, but I totally like it more than disposable products already!

  5. Kathryn- I love reading your Blog, and I’ve especially enjoyed the treading lightly entries! The Diva Cup has been something that I’ve been interested in for a while but have not yet met anybody who uses them. I can’t find anything like them where I am in England, but will look when I get back to Nova Scotia.
    You’re an amazing woman, in case you weren’t told yet today, and I so enjoy reading and getting strength from your honesty and bravery. It’s refreshing to read from a strong Christian woman, and it gives me the confidence to live my life as a Christian woman as well.

  6. Hi, I’ve just stumbled upon your website while looking for where to buy soap nuts. I’ve only just heard about them now and am eager to try them. Right now I make my own laundry detergent using eco-friendly unscented soap, borax and Arm & Hammer washing soda. But I still get a build up on the cloth diapers so I end up having to rinse them a few times (wasting water!) plus my toddler has eczema on his arms and I’ve hear that washing clothes with soap nuts will help that. So I was wondering – can you buy them in Fredericton? I’d prefer not to buy them online if I can get them locally. Thanks!!

    • Hello Michelle,

      Thanks for the comment:) It’s not often we have people other than friends or family reading our blog! I’m not sure whether you can get soapnuts at Aura, I think I might have looked there at one point. I know some other health food type stores around NB carry them but often they are quite expensive compared to buying online. We love using soapnuts because they are natural AND a way better economic value compared to regular laundry detergent. I might call around to some stores to see if they carry them or if they will bring them in for you. Good luck!

  7. Diva Cup? Really? I am going to check that out…RIGHT NOW. 🙂
    I really enjoy reading your blog. For the past few months I was much like a little lost lamb. But I am back and feeling much better. Thanks to Kathryn, I will now start my own blog (something I have always wanted to do).
    Miss you guys.
    Kandice.

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