From Diapers to Dirt: Musings From a Redwood Forest

Post from January 30th, 2019. As I write this I am sitting below a canopy of redwoods breathing in the fresh earthy scent and listening to the trickle of water below in creek kissed by a recent rain. My desire is that everyone could breath this air and feel this alive, and that it lasts for generations to come.

The colors pop as I think about our recent trip to Earth Baby (Bay Area compostable diaper company and service) and how it’s owner, Tony, generously shared pictures of different brands of decomposing diapers that he has experimented with and how they look at different lengths of time in decomposition. And no, there did not happen to be any baby poop involved in this experiment! That Hayden and I are getting excited about decomposing diapers might give you a sense of how passionate we are about this as an environmental solution. And, no, we didn’t have any idea a year ago that we would nerd out this hard on diapers.

One solution to guarantee that redwood forests, like the one I’m in now, are not over run with trash in years to come is Earth Diaper. We have been working hard to set up our non profit. We are now fiscally sponsored and are accepting tax deductible donations! This is an exciting evolution and can’t believe how fast everything is happening!

We just completed a pilot trial with four low income families, two in a transitional shelter who are single moms getting their lives together and staying sober, and two who are immigrant moms from Mexico. One is just 18 years old, studying and working full time while single mom-ing. She is an amazing inspiration to me. They all loved the diapers, they said they work great and were an immense help to have them. One mentioned that she changes her baby more often because she was not worried about the expense of the diapers. I had not realized how much stress this was causing her before! I was surprised to hear about how much the pilot families were interested in composting and how much desire they had to help the earth and make it a better place for their babies. I must admit I was touched. They feel proud to be able to contribute less waste and, I discovered, have sadness about the state of the environment just as I do.

We have been getting a lot of positive feedback in general about the need for this service (which I can also attest to as a public health nurse home visits for the last 5 years—this is a huge need for our low income communities). Thanks to the donors of our GoFundMe project we were able to make this happen and will start the next phase of our project. We have been talking to different transitional shelter communities of single moms, low income daycares and low income clinics about bringing bulk compostable diapers and doing bulk pick ups. We have conversations started with three different shelters, WIC, Head Start and a local clinic regarding having their site be a central pick up and drop off site for compostable diapers and education about composting. We are partnering with Earth Baby and Tiny Tots to bring diapers and do composting with our families.

Hayden and Lily with Pat Gorman, JMJ Shelter

Hayden and Lily with Pat Gorman, JMJ Shelter

We are beginning to reach out to different funder and garnering support for our project. So far we are totally donation run. Thanks to each and every one of you who have supported us thus far. I realized the other day that just like folks say it takes a village to raise a child it will take a community to raise a non-profit! We are on board for bigness and we want to link arms with each and everyone of you in the process. I wish you could see the smiles on these moms faces. Perhaps you can imagine it right now. And you can imagine that cute little baby in fresh diapers. And then breathe in the deep earthy scent of a moist redwood grove.