The most obvious reasons to choose cloth diapers are…
1. Cloth diapers are soft against baby’s skin.
2. Cloth diapers do not contain harmful ingredients (chemicals) or possible irritants.
3. Cloth diapers can be used over and over and over, often for more than one baby.
Here’s some cold, hard facts:
4. NO ONE knows how long it actually takes for a disposable diaper to decompose. But it is estimated to be around 250-500 years. Long after your children, grandchildren, and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone… there your diapers will be.
5. The RDA (Real Diaper Association) estimate that 27.4 BILLION disposable diapers are consumed every year in the United States alone.
6. Disposable diapers are the 3rd largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent around 4% of solid waste. In a home with one child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of that household’s waste.
7. The instructions on a package of disposables advises that all fecal matter should be deposited into the toilet before throwing the diaper away. Yet less than one half of one percent of all waste from disposable diapers goes into the sewage system (which is meant to handle waste such as that).
8. Over 50lbs of petroleum feedstocks, 20lbs of chlorine, and 300lbs of wood are used to produce disposable diapers for ONE BABY every year.
9. Over 92% of disposable diapers end up in landfill.
10. In 1988 (such a long time ago) nearly 300 MILLION dollars were spent every year to dispose of single-use diapers. Imagine how great that cost is today?
11. The creation and use of disposables amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.
“But what about the cost? Your Applecheeks diapers are like $20 a piece!”
Let’s talk costs..
12. DISPOSABLES – Let’s say an average family needs about 60 diapers a week. If the average cost per diaper is about 25.5 cents, the average child will cost about $1600 per two years of diapering, or around $66 per month.
13. DIAPER SERVICE – Diaper services in my area cost about $20 per week for one child. That’s $80 per month, or $960 annually, not including set up or extra fees (such as a pail, sprays, covers, etc.).
14. CLOTH DIAPERING – The costs of cloth diapering can vary significantly. There are many types of cloth diapers, inserts, and covers. Average cost to set up a cloth diapering system is between $300 and $1000 – forever. These diapers are able to be used for multiple babies, and it depends on what system you choose. We do really well with about 30 diapers and inserts, and a handful of boosters. I wash diapers every two days which is about the longest you’d want to leave them before washing, anyways.
15. NATIONAL COSTS (USA) – Americans spend about 7 BILLION dollars on disposable diapers every year. If every single one of those families switched to cloth diapers, they could save up to around 6 billion dollars – enough to feed around 2.5 million American children for a whole year. Coincidentally, in a 2002 US Census, it was revealed that 2.3 million children under 6 live in poverty.
But what is in disposable diapers that could be so bad?
Well, according to the RDA…
16. Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of ALL cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the US.
17. Disposables contain Tributyl-tin or TBT – a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.
18. Disposable diapers contain sodium polycrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance has been used in super-absorbent tampons until the early 1980’s when it was revealed that the material used increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome. The increased absorbency improved the environment for growth of toxin-producing bacteria.
19. If you’re diapering a boy, in May 2000 the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers. Prolonged use of them will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis. Basically it causes problems with your son’s ability to cool his testicles and produce healthy sperm.
That was a lot of information, so I’m going to follow it up with MY most important fact, and that is…
20. IT’S EASY! Easier than I ever imagined! I use pocket diapers which are exactly like disposable diapers. When I pre-stuff them with inserts and have them stored and organized properly it takes me no more time to put a cloth diaper on Bee than it would a disposable. Washing them is more time consuming than normal laundry, but still takes only a few minutes of my actual attention. And I don’t mind, because of the 19 reasons above. I know I’m doing what’s best for my baby, my family, and the environment.
Plus, they look super cute on the bum, right? 😉
If you have any questions about cloth diapering, please do not hesitate to comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org