When posed the question, "paper or plastic?" one Chicago family would likely answer "neither." Wherever possible they only use cloth.
It's not uncommon for a family to dine on cloth placemats or to dab with cloth napkins, or even to collect totes to carry their groceries home from the market.
But to pick up a quick spill, Andre Baros doesn't reach for paper towels. This family only uses cloth.
"A lot of these things aren't new ideas. A lot of these things have been around for awhile, and it's not about products, it's about the attitude change or the 'a-ha' moment that says, 'Wait a second why am I doing that?'" Baros said.
An "a-ha" moment is what the couple say they experienced when they decided it was not enough that they were using cloth diapers instead of disposables for their children. They believe toilet paper is yet another unnecessary waste.
"In commercials for the diapers and the toilet paper, they often say, 'Oh it feels just like cloth.' And I always think, 'That's very funny 'cause why wouldn't you just go ahead and use cloth?'" said Courtney Baros. "It's more sustainable. It's less waste in the environment and, you know, it's more comfortable."
They use cloth family wipes along with a bidet to clean up after themselves in the bathroom. It's a combination that has caught more than a few houseguests by surprise.
"They do have that moment of, 'um, excuse me, what do I do here?'" Andre Baros said.
The family says they are always considering new ways to create less waste. Since they do laundry almost every day, they are also trying to conserve more water and energy.
"There's always more that can be done for the environment, and we are always looking for ways that we can improve our life for our children," Courtney Baros said.
In case it has been a while since you've seen a cloth diaper, you may not have noticed that they have come a long way since the days of one, long rectangle with safety pins on the sides. Now, parents can even take a class to learn about the latest innovations.
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