There's one huge benefit to cloth diapers, but it's probably not what you think.

Raise your hand if you actually enjoy changing diapers.

Anyone?

Yeah ... no. GIF from ETOnline.


As a dad, I get it. Changing diapers is one of the dirtiest line items in a parent's job description. More often than not, the objectives are simple: clean up the mess and get rid of the mess as quickly as possible. 

But do we ever take a moment to think about where that mess actually goes?

Photo by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images.

Yep, a landfill just like this one.

The stats on disposable diapers in landfills are no joke.

Using a very conservative estimate, babies go through about six diapers a day. Even if a baby is a rock star at potty training and figures it out by the time she's 2 years old, that's over 4,000 diapers she went through. If a child spends a longer time in diapers, the numbers (and diapers) will keep piling up.

Studies have shown that disposable diapers rank third in terms of the consumer items taking up the most space in our landfills, and over 90% of single-use diapers end up there. It's also estimated it will take anywhere from 250 years to 500 years for disposable diapers to decompose. 

Put simply, that ain't good. 

We all want a cleaner world for our babies, right? Some believe we should start with what we attach to their rear ends.

Jennifer Aprea and her husband, David, with their son, Ryan (left), and daughter, Danielle. Photo from Jennifer Aprea, used with permission.

Jennifer Aprea is a married mom with two children living in Huntington Beach, California. When her daughter Danielle was 2 months old, she decided to give cloth diapering a try.

"Not to be too graphic, but her poop would go everywhere whenever I nursed with her," Jennifer told Upworthy. "I looked into the cloth option because of the elastic on the back, but I'll admit that I was a skeptic at first."

Not only is Jennifer completely sold on the idea now, but she's also an advocate for how cloth diapering can help families and the environment. 

But isn't cloth diapering kinda ... um, gross?

Jennifer can't help but laugh this one off.

"Dealing with gross stuff is a regular part of parenthood," Jennifer said. "All parents deal with bodily fluids and other messiness from their kids no matter what type of diapers they use."

As mentioned earlier, she prefers cloth diapers because she believes the strong elastic contains messes better than disposables. Additionally, Jennifer also created an ingenious device called the Spray Pal which makes it so parents can quickly clean their kids' diapers without getting dirty themselves. 

But that's not all.

Jennifer's son, Ryan, was a micro-preemie born at 25 weeks and weighing 1 pound and 13 ounces. He spent seven months in the neonatal intensive care unit, came home on oxygen and a feeding tube, and was discovered to be profoundly deaf and visually impaired upon discharge. 

Ryan was 10 months old in the photo and is now nearing his fourth birthday. He has worn cloth diapers his whole life. Photo from Jennifer Aprea, used with permission.

Even with those health challenges, they still used cloth diapers during time he was in the NICU and still use them today. 

Although some believe cloth diapering is an unnecessary time-consuming nuisance, Jennifer isn't buying it. All it takes is an open mind.

"We had a newborn in the NICU, his toddler sister was running around like crazy, I was running a business, and I taught part time," Jennifer said. "If I can can do it, anyone can."

To some, the jury's still out regarding whether cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposables, but cloth diapers win big in one regard.

That's one happy baby. Photo from Thirsties Modern Cloth Diapers, used with permission.

Due to the amount of water it takes to clean cloth diapers and other factors, some have questioned how environmentally-friendly reusable diapers truly are. That debate will continue for a while, but cloth diapers have a huge advantage in passing used (but clean!) ones to those in need. 

Giving Diapers, Giving Hope sets a great example as a nonprofit organization that provides cloth diapers to low-income families. Many of the diapers are donated by other families after they were used and thoroughly cleaned. 

"Good luck trying that with disposable diapers," Jennifer said. 

At the end of the day, we all want what's best for our children now, but we should also think about their future. Will cloth diapering help to make the world a better place? 

That's up to you to decide.

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Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.