Updated: Nov 3
It’s Cloth Diaper week and leading up to the Great Cloth Diaper Change, I thought I’d blog a bit about the environmental benefits of using Cloth Diapers. Eco Nuts and Cloth diapers are a match made in heaven - reusable eco friendly laundry detergent? Meet Reusable Eco Friendly washable diaper!
Cloth diapers are more eco friendly – that’s obvious. They don’t wind up in landfills after each change and they don’t contain any toxins that are found in disposable diapers.
When I got my first cloth diaper – well I was surprised. It’s just like a regular diaper except it’s cloth, you use it the same, and instead of throwing it away, you wash it. Seems like a no-brainer! And you save money. I am a little bewildered as to why this is such a huge deal for people to wrap their heads around. You are already cleaning up poop and doing laundry one way or another.
Using disposable diapers to me makes about as much sense cost and environment-wise as eating breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with disposable plates and plastic forks. Ridiculous and costly when you could wash/reuse regular dishes? Yes! Using cloth diapers is the same concept. Wash, re-use, save money, reduce garbage.
If you have a baby and are using disposables, you are creating approximately 1 ton of garbage before that child is potty-trained, and that one ton of garbage will be in the landfill for the next 500 years.
One child can use 5,000 disposable diapers in before potty training, which is about 1 ton of landfill garbage per child
In fact, disposable diapers are the 3rd most common item in landfills, representing 30% of our non biodegradable waste. That means one third of the garbage in landfills are diapers! I'm not even going to touch on the human waste that goes along with it into the landfill which can leach into the groundwater over time.
What about Disposable diapers that are supposedly the biodegradable Eco Friendly kind? There’s still energy and manufacturing and waste that go into making them – the same as a “regular” diaper. Let’s face it – a biodegradable diaper gets rolled up into a tight little bunch, usually sealed inside a plastic garbage bag, and then sealed into a landfill constructed with the intention of sealing in harmful gasses away from water and sunlight. They still pile up in a landfill and have to be exposed to oxygen, light, moisture, and heat to break down properly. If you have a compost heap and can give them the right conditions then perfect! But the almighty landfill does not provide ideal conditions for them to biodegrade, so the diapers are going to sit there for much much longer just like all the other garbage. It's still a lower impact diaper for sure, but it's a lesser evil when it comes to landfill waste.
I’ve heard arguments about the volume of water needed to wash diapers cancels out any environmental benefits of not being in a landfill (from a biased study by Proctor and Gamble), but it also takes massive amounts of water to process wood pulp into paper for disposables. A study was done by the Landbark Consultancy using Proctor and Gamble's findings and concluded that disposable diapers create 2.3 times as much water waste.
All in all, disposables use up 70% more energy than the average reusable cloth diaper per diaper change.
Cloth diapers are a no brainer – healthwise, planetwise and pocketwise – they’re the best choice!
For more information about the Great Cloth Diaper Change or to find an event near you please visit: http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/ You can follow all of the action on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greatclothdiaperchange. Twitter (#GCDC) and Pinterest. Thank you for taking the time to help us to promote this great event. We appreciate your support.
New Parents Guide: http://www.thenewparentsguide.com/diapers.htm
Flug, Rachael, "Top Ten Environmental Reasons For Choosing Cotton Diapers.,"Diaperraps (www.ebabydiaper.com)
The Canadian Cloth Diaper Association, "The Facts: Cloth Versus 'Disposable' Diapers."
Diaper Drama – Environment http://www.diaperpin.com/clothdiapers/article_diaperdrama4.asp