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2/16/2012
Behind the Scenes with the Wahls
Behind the Scenes with the Wahls

Nine-month-old Crosby Wahl, with his adorable dimples and big brown eyes, was the winner of the Weleda “Raising Your Baby Green” Facebook photo contest in August. He won a trip with his family to fly from their hometown in San Francisco to New York City for a weekend, where they spent a day with the Weleda team on a photo shoot for Weleda Magazine.

When packing for her cross-country flight to New York City, Meghan Wahl spent as much time in the kitchen as she did in her closet, preparing carrots and hummus and almond butter sandwiches for Crosby and his big brother Brody, age 3, to eat on the plane. “Food is a really big deal for me,” says Meghan. “I try to feed my kids the purest products I can and only use ingredients on their skin that are as close to nature as possible.”

The Wahls shop for fruits and vegetables at their local farmer’s market, and Brody helps out by carrying his own reusable bag. Their bedding and much of their clothing is organic, but Meghan also purchases some things at consignment stores or swaps items like clothes and toys with friends and family. They spend their free time in nature, playing in Golden Gate Park or looking for dinosaur tracks in a nearby canyon. Meghan’s goal is to have a zero-waste household.

This is definitely one green family — all the way down to their compostable diapers. Three years ago, Stephen Wahl, Crosby and Brody’s dad, started a compostable diaper service. Having worked as a product designer for many years, he had developed an appreciation for the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. “I once visited the San Francisco transfer station to see where all of the trash and recycling goes. I wanted to understand the challenges. Things don’t just disappear — they end up in a pile somewhere. This inspired me to try and make products that are more sustainable.”

Once Brody was born, Stephen saw that there was no good solution that would help cut down on the enormous amount of waste created each year by disposable diapers, which take an estimated 300 to 500 years to degrade. “There were compostable diapers but nobody was composting them,” he says. “They were just going to landfills where the lack of oxygen would prevent them from breaking down.” Together with a friend he started EarthBaby, the first compostable diaper service in the world, turning dirty diapers into dirt. “It was really about my kids’ future,” says Stephen. “We can’t solve everything, but my philosophy is that we can try. If everybody just tried to make one thing better, we’d go a long way to solving our problems.”

To date, EarthBaby has diverted more than 1 million pounds of diaper waste from San Francisco landfills. It’s an example Stephen and Meghan hope their kids can learn from. “You hear about climate change and what the earth could be like in the future,” says Meghan. “If our children can learn to have a lesser impact, then they can also have a better planet in the future.”

“And, of course, when you have kids,” adds Stephen, “you want to do something that they can be proud of.” No doubt they will be. —Carrie Ruehlman

To learn more about EarthBaby, visit earth-baby.com. Visit Weleda’s YouTube channel to check out behind-the-scenes videos: youtube.com/weledanorthamerica.