Cloth Diapers

Soon time to wash the diaper stash.

We switched our youngest child, Thomas, to cloth diapers back in October of 2018. We had some difficulty in the beginning but got on board soon after. I’d say (with potty training for 3 months in between the time) we saved about 1000 disposable diapers from landfill since then.

My regret is that we did not switch with child #1. We put 4 children plus (Thomas)1.5 years through disposable diapers. I had the idea and curiosity back with child #4 to switch to cloth to save money. But I did not have the will (ick factor).

I remember the first time with cloth diapers, using reusable liners, I thought to myself, what am I getting myself into!!? But you know, it’s not that bad! Really! You get used to it, and it becomes the new normal. You do what you got to do. Having access to soap and water makes it all a breeze (not of fresh air though, lol!). You get used to that too!

This is how extreme the other way I was before jumping to cloth diapers:

If one of the younger kids had a #2 accident, I would lay them on the floor, cut the underwear off them, peel it off like a diaper and toss it. No way was I making a mess trying to get underwear off or even touching or cleaning them! The blinders on me were huge! I would not even think about how I would possibly clean them! Such a waste!!!

Routine
  • Dirty diapers sit in a container, inserts taken out so they can be easily washed of course. Poo diapers, recently, I just rinse off on the toilet bowl. I used to use the bathtub (after putting the poo down the toilet) to rinse the liner and reusable wipes, but the whole bathtub would then need a good cleaning. The toilet bowl is much smaller, there is already water in it (less water usage in my opinion), and it can always use a cleaning anyways. Though I must say, its not nice in the winter, the water is freezing.
  • Once most of the diapers are used up I put them in the washer for a rinse cycle. I use cold water for this and on a medium load.
  • After the rinse cycle, I fill the washer with hot water. I add some detergent such as liquid Tide unscented. I tried other detergents and even the lovley laundry soap from the farmer’s market, but I end up with a mineral build up and the liners do not absorb liquids anymore. Diapers stop holding the pee, and it’s a constant mess. The Tide liquid was bought as a slight emergency and a powdered version was not thought of at the time. Once the container is empty, I will switch to the powdered version, Super store has it in a box.
  • I also add about .5 cup of Borax and 1 cup of liquid Oxygen Bleach. I do not want to use Oxi Clean as there are too many chemicals I am uncomfortable with for using, even the smallest amount. I also can not find it in a box form in Summerside, just the plastic container.
  • I run this on the longest aggitation cycle with just the one hot water cycle. The second part of the wash is cold water and I finish with an extra rinse.
  • Because I only have 13 cloth diapers, and I wait for almost all of them to be used before washing, I stick them in the dryer on low heat for about 45 minutes with wool dryer balls. I’m not set up with a clothes line, though I really really want one. The younger kids will not respect it and clothes will be on the ground. Pick our battles!
  • I wash the diapers about every 36 hours.
  • I pre fold them once dry, 2 inserts each and the reusable liner. Wipes get stored ready to refill the wipe container once empty.
Reusable Wipes

The  wipes I use are from am old sheet, though polyester. It’s what I had and used when I made them 10 months ago. Not ideal type of fabric, but I’m using what I had and saving money spent on other material. I started out using scraps of cotton fabric, but I felt they did not hold up to a good job wiping. Flannel would probably be better (fabric knowledge is not strong with me, yet).

So I cut the sheet to wipe size pieces. I have a long container by which I fill with about 3 cups of warm water, about 3 Tbsp of Down East dish soap and a drop of tea tree oil. I used to add coconut oil, but I don’t think it is necessary. I mix the water solution up and full it with the wipes. Now and then I flip the wipes in the box as the bottom ones are super soaked. They will drain to soak the now dryer bottom ones. Rotation. These wipes get washed with the diapers as well.

Our stash
Liners, polyester wicks away moisture. I tried cotton the first two days and Thomas got a sever bum burn! I wonder if natural wool would work, not the fake polyester wool!
Wipes
Thomas’ first time trying out the diapers! Would you know, he made me jump into the deep end by having a poo right away! Not an easy to clean pee, a poo! I was so off guard, the first and only liner that got tossed!! Lol!!

 

August Blue Bag of Recyclables

We are super lucky on PEI to have a great recycling program. Though, I am not sure exactly what really gets “recycled”. I believe the more we can cut out the better!

Avoiding packed in plastic products is a great move! Look for compostable alternatives. Bulk Barn or other zero waste stores. Refill stations are truly beneficial! The only refill type product I buy is from the Farmer’ Market for laundry soap and a cleaner. $1.00 refund for bringing back the empty container so it can get reused. The next closest refill for dish soap is in Charlottetown, an hour drive away, by which I rarely travel to. (Need to work on that, as my dish soap is running low!) If need be, buy items in bulk amounts and in a recyclable container for your area. Maybe a container you can reuse for the garage or garden etc . . .

We have cut out much in our recycling bag! It used to be 2.5-3 bags a month of recyclables from this household!! Here are some earlier posts showing what was in them.

November 2, 2018. Two blue bags that month, started our journey in July of that year. Remember, the pics in this link shows only 1 blue bag worth out of 2! It’s a lot!

February 19, 2019.

May 20, 2019.

Here is this months check up on our blue bag.
Milk cartons, Cat food cans and lids, sunscreen bottle, coffee cream containers, Draino (clogged bathtub), few soup cans and other few items. 
Full bag. Since this picture, 3 cans and a milk carton added. Picture taken Aug 12.

Compostable Items

I just got off the phone with our Island Waste Management asking about two items I have been wondering about for disposal.

Coffee cups, like Tim Horton’s. In lots of news feed I see that they are lined with plastic. When I look at these cups, yes there is a shiny material coating the inside, but the cup rips easily. I was once told by IWMC that if the item rips, compost it. Plastic does not too easily, take a produce sticker for example or cling wrap. On PEI, coffee cups are compostable. It’s the lid that is the main problem. (Also, in my opinion any material single use is a problem, but at least the cup is compostable). I wonder if facilities across the country have a harder time composting them, hence the bad feedback about “plastic lined cups”.

Ice cream containers. ADL and Scotsburn for example, used to come in plastic recyclable containers. They have switched to cardboard a while ago. I always thought it strange because of the shiny coating, I put it in waste. I asked IWMC about these containers, as the other day out of curiosity, I ripped it! According to IWMC, these are compostable too. Though, the cover has a plastic ring which must go to waste. I take the time (20 seconds or less) to remove the cardboard off the ring and compost as much as I can. I’m actually keeping the rings (some at least) for the kids to craft with or use as a stencil. I imagine there will be other uses to come up with too.

All Summer we have been saving ice cream at home for needed days so we do not go through a bunch of wasteful containers. Can I go back in time with this knowledge? 😂

Update: Kate commented the rings should be cut before placed into the waste bin, which is absolutely correct in case an animal gets stuck in it. Thanks for pointing that out Kate!

It is very important to contact your Waste Management Team about proper disposal.

Reviving Dry Markers

This bin is our dry marker storage until I take it to Staples for recycling. That’s right, Staples will send these to Terracycle for recycling into new products. Check it out here. Another company that will take back markers is Crayola, but from what was shared to me and my own looking, Crayola burns them to make fuel. Check it out here.

I seen a tip from another group member on Facebook about wetting the dry markers to bring them back. I tested it and it works!! In the main picture (above), the markers in the bin did not come back, but the rest did!

I took a cup of water, wet the end of the marker and stood it up to let the water drain inside. Right away it was working! The kids were thrilled as we were running low on markers.

The left side marks are the before strokes. The right side (3 lines each) are the after strokes.
Julia used the markers to make a picture.
Lots of colour
Jack too, made a picture.
Lots of colour
These pictures and test were done July 7, 2019. Today is August 5, 2019, and those markers are still in use!

Fruit Fly Trap

Fruit fly season is heavily upon us. My remedy is warm water, sugar and yeast in small amounts in a glass. A piece of scrap plastic punched with holes held to the mouth of the glass with an elastic band. I noticed while Making bread, fruit flies love the yeast smell!

Lately I have found that the flies are always around the compost bin. Why would they not!? I got an idea the other morning as I opened the compost bin first thing and about 20 fruit flies flew out. Use the compost as a trap! No need for extra dishes trying to catch them!

All I do is leave the bin slightly open overnight. As we sleep the flies enter. First thing I do in the morning when I come to the kitchen is snap the compost lid closed, trapping the fruit flies. I take the bin right outside and empty it in my compost cart.

I have forgotten my plan once, and let the flies loose in the house. Oops!! I made myself a note, and for the kids to remember the plan.

Buy Nothing August

I am taking the 31 day challenge of Buy Nothing for a month (August). Basically, this challenge will help me avoid impulse purchasing, purchasing items not needed, saving money, buying local and second hand. Make do or do without.

Rules I am going by:

  • Buy what you need only (groceries, school supply list, emergency item)
  • Shop local (Farmer’s Market, small businesses)
  • Shop second hand (Franchies/Salvation Army)
  • No takeout (lunch and supper type meals)
  • Eat out the fridge, freezer and pantry.
Day 1
  • Bought nothing
Day 2
  • Much needed school shopping. Stuck completely to the list, bought as much possible package free, I’m really excited!! (I already signed up to buy school supplies back in June, this is necessary purchases)
  • Groceries at Sobey’s. Some plastic packaging (hotdog, milk, pizzaronies, pop cans, oxygen bleach). Though, I only bought what we needed, and am planning to eat out the fridge and pantry this month.
  • I will add, my husband and son wanted a pizza slice from a local shop, Michael’s Pizzeria. I did not get myself a slice! My husband is shaking his head at me 😂

Day 3
  • First, the Summerside Farmer’s Market. English cucumber requested without plastic wrap (stays fresh without!), carrots, peas, garlic and string beans using my cloth bags, 2 fresh croissonts and bacon from Pleasant Pork.
  • Second stop, Super store. Only place I can find 10 lb amount in a paper bag from Canada. (plastic mesh on front).
  • Third Stop, Bulk Barn. Used my cloth bags and container.
  • Fourth stop at Summerside Butcher Shop, meat wrapped in paper.
  • (Staples and Wal-Mart for school supplies, almost finished school supply shopping)

Day 4
  • Bought nothing
Day 5
  • Bought nothing
Day 6
  • Went to Bulk Barn today for peanut butter. We ran out and Chris wanted more gummy worms, as well as the kids. I think I did not buy enough this past Saturday. While I was there, I noticed a new product, chocolate bars. Big ones too! Chocolate and Almond, ones like Caramilk brand. I was excited and got some. It was only when I sat in the van that I realized my mistake. Impulsive shopping. Guilty chocolate. (Not worth it either, the chocolate is not very good! I will stick to the chocolate bars I do buy once in a while, Lindt. They come wrapped in paper and foil. No plastic waste.)
Day 7
  • Bought nothing
Day 8
  • Milk and Dishwasher powder
Day 9

Grocery run, part 1.

  • Parked the van at Superstore and walked to Wal-Mart (1 min walk, lol) for part of the school supply list. Graph paper.
  • Borax and Ragu spaghetti sauce at Superstore. (None at Sobey’s for the past couple weeks).
  • Drove to Sobey’s for the rest of the groceries.
  • Chris and Daniel wanted pizza from Michaels Pizzeria. None for me obviously. Brought my own containers. Was called “the zero waste lady”!

Eating out the fridge/freezer/pantry. Ragu to use up pasta on hand X2. More pantry supper plans under way. Finished the Salmon for supper from the freezer; done and done.

Day 10

Grocery run, part 2

  • Summerside Farmer’s Market, plastic free.
  • Frenchy’s Summerside second hand clothes for school kids. (First time heavily shopping for second hand!) plastic tag for price tag attachment. Less than $10.00
  • HMS office solutions for plastic free packaging on dry erase markers for school supplies.
  • Walked to the Dollar store from other end of strip mall for earphones for school supplies. Did not buy the cheap cheap ones. (though I needed only one pair, but Alaina says she needs a pair for school too, though it was not on the list. I believe her though, they use them in all the classes).
  • Summerside Salvation Army. Jeans for school kids. Less than $8.00
  • Compton’s Very Berry Patch / Compton’s Vegetable Stand for a tray of berries and new potatoes.
  • Super store for watermelon (not local yet), deli meat in my own container and bagels in my cloth bag. (I gave someone one of my bags so they did not have to use a plastic one).
  • Bulk Barn. Goods from there.

Heading to the Summerside Butcher Shop to pick up order wrapped in paper. (I was late getting my order in today, have to pick up this afternoon). Hair cuts for me and Alaina (We go like once a year! Lol.)

School supply shopping is done. Focusing on clothes (much needed!), backpack, lunch can, shoes, and water bottles. 3 kids in school this year.

Day 11
  • Bought chicken breasts at the butcher shop. They had none available package free on day 10. Not buying pre packed.
  • Pop for the big boys, almost out and did not know it when shopping the other day.
Day 12
  • Bought nothing
Day 13
  • Bought nothing
Day 14
  • Bought nothing
Day 15
  • Bought nothing
Day 16
  • Bought regular groceries needed.
  • Bought a new bra, mine are totally wearing out.
  • Bought second hand pants for Daniel.
Day 17
  • Lots of local shopping such as the Farmer’s Market. Free range eggs and bacon, garlic and peas, carrots and peppers. Almond Croissant and laundry soap (returnable, refundable and reusable container).
  • Plastic free products such as meats (wrapped in paper, deli meat in my own container) and bulk barn trip.
  • Comptons Veg. Patch for fresh corn, cucumbers and Blue berries!
  • Thrift shopping and got some great clothes for the kids at school and a school bag for Julia. Was planning on buying a new one, more pricy so it lasts many years, but seen this one at Salvation Army for $3.00! Super excited!
    Alaina
    Backpack and grey t-shirt for Julia, rest for Alaina
    3 t-shirts for Daniel, hoody for Julia
    Summerside Farmer’s Market haul.
    Jeans for Daniel, belt too!
    Day 18
  • Bought nothing
Day 19
  • Bought nothing
Day 20
  • Bought ice cream as a treat for the family at a dairy bar. 3 cones and 3 dishes (waste), but brought our own spoons.
Day 21
  • Picked up some more grocery items I missed and ran out of.
  • Picked up some socks and underwear for the school kids. Hate the plastic packaging.
  • Bought a new bra, last one I got was too small; it will be donated.
Day 22
  • Bought nothing
Day 23
  • Regular groceries at Sobey’s
Day 24
  • Farmer’s Market, lots of goods. Beans and peas, eggs, croissant, local apples, shampoo bar and bar soap.
  • Frenchy’s for gym clothes for Daniel. Less than $5.00!
  • Compton’s Vegetable Stand, making mustard pickles. Yummy corn and fresh blueberries!
  • Superstore goods. I had to exchange two packs of socks for Alaina, bought the ankle ones by accident the oither day.
  • Bulk Barn. Jack wanted a pez dispenser. Could not change his mind. Trying out some more dried fruit this week.
  • The Summerside Butcher Shop, meat wrapped in paper. Chicken and a bit of Hamburg.
  • Take out for supper. But, here is a link to make it a plastic free meal, at McDonald’s, for a family!
Day 25
  • Bought nothing
Day 26
  • Bought nothing
Day 27
  • Bought salt so I could make mustard pickles
Day 28
  • Bought nothing
  • Tablet died, touch screen does not work. No more pictures to add here.
Day 29
  • Bought sugar and peanut butter at Bulk Barn
  • Bought fresh blueberries from Compton”s Vegetable Stand
  • Donated 5 boxes of household items to Salvation Army (45 boxes donated since November 2018)
Day 30
  • Bought regular groceries at Sobey’s
  • Bought sneakers for Alaina for school
Day 31
  • Farmer’s Market haul
  • Frenchy’s for 2 T-shirts for Julia and a T-shirt for Daniel (for school)
  • Compton’s for corn
  • Superstore for package free deli meat, oranges and Nature Clean dishwasher powder (box)
  • Summerside Butcher Shop for meat wrapped in paper
  • Picked a bunch of green and yellow string beans at my mom’s for blanching and freezing. Also picked oversize pea pods as the peas were breaking free from the pod. I will dry them out for seed planting next year as well as some of the oversize beans.
  • McDonald’s for supper, ran out of time and patients by the time we got back home. Everyone was hungry, and it would have been after 6 before I could have supper made, convenience.
End of challenge

I have learned to thrift shop on this challenge. Thrift stores have a lot to offer! If I am in need to buy something, I will search them out first. Even the buy/sell groups on line are beneficial and those groups help individual people, which is good.

A lesson I already stand by is to think about the item I want to purchase. Is the item needed? How long? What is the quality? Going zero waste has already taught me that one, and it is very important!

We do not overspend on things anyways as a household. We have been that way for years, except on Holidays, but that has changed between 2018 and present time. Buy Nothing Challenge opens your eyes to what is actually needed versus want. Wanting is adding to the problem of over consumption. Focus on need. Use what you have, buy second hand, buy local, or do without.

 

Shampoo Bar Users

Chris has finally finished off the commercial shampoo and conditioner soaps!! It has been almost a year since I stopped using them, Chris said he would continue using them until they ran out. He has used the shampoo bar a couple times now, and he seems to like it. Nice lather to it for him!

Shampoo Bar

Daniel, Alaina, Julia and Jack also use the shampoo bar. They made the switch a couple months after I did. Thomas still uses the Loreal Kids Tear Free shampoo. He has not learned to keep his head up while I rinse the soap off his hair, and the shampoo bar soap really stings the eyes. Since I already had the tear free shampoo, I thought it be best it gets used, but by the right individuals, which is Thomas. In the last couple of weeks, Thomas has made great progress while I rinse his hair. The shampoo bottle is almost empty and by the time it is, Thomas will be ready for the shampoo bar. By switching everyone away from that bottle, it gave Thomas enough time to adjust to rinsing his hair properly without soap in his eyes and the product did not get wasted.My trick for Thomas that I have learned was to ask him where are the stars, or the moon or the plane. He would look up at the hanging basket of toys pointing and talking about where they are. I would continue asking where they are as I can not see them. He has learned what I am doing, and keeps his chin up so the water rinses nicely down his back. I used to just say look at the stars and point to the ceiling. That only worked for a short time period, my new way is awesome! So by making talk about the subject, I got more progress.

I will save the bottles as they seem like a good fit to something non food wise. Someday, I will find a bulk something and these will be perfect for reusing. The labels peeled off very nicely showing off a red and white bottle.