In the first year of a baby’s life, they will get through 2,500 diapers on average. Then until they are potty trained, they will use between 1500-1800 more diapers each year. What happens to those diapers when they have been used? They are buried in a landfill site. They cannot be recycled, composted or turned into something else. Neither are they manufactured in a sustainable way that is beneficial for the planet. There is a far more eco-friendly alternative to using disposable diapers — choose cloth ones instead. It wasn’t until the 1960s that disposable diapers were brought to the market. We survived thousands of years without them and can continue to do so.
Why choose cloth diapers?
The harm that getting rid of disposable diapers is doing to the planet is insurmountable. Every year in America, 20 billion disposable diapers are put into vast landfill pits to rot. This amounts to an incredible 3.5 million tons of unnecessary waste that is polluting the earth. The diapers will take around 500 years to completely biodegrade. In the meantime, they are releasing toxins and pathogens into the soil and water. This will ultimately end up in our drinking water. The diapers in landfill also produce methane gas as they break down, which pollutes the atmosphere, causing greenhouse gases and holes in the ozone layer. It is not just getting rid of the diapers that causes damage, 250,000 trees are destroyed every year in America for the production of disposable diapers. This in itself is the reason to choose cloth diapers.
Purchasing cloth diapers
There are several types of diaper, the most basic are flat, pad and prefold diapers. These cost around $2.50 each and the lifetime cost of buying them is around $255. There are more modern diapers that are simple to put on a baby, with a mechanism similar to a disposable diaper. These cost between $15-24 per diaper, with a lifetime cost of up to $720. Cloth diapers are a good eco-friendly present for parents-to-be at a baby shower. You could also gift some bamboo wipes, which are far more sustainable than ordinary baby wipes. Even with the initial cost of buying cloth diapers, it is still around $900 cheaper than buying disposable diapers.
Getting in a routine
The key to being successful using cloth diapers is to get into a routine. When they have been used, allocate a specific laundry pail for the diapers and make sure that they are laundered every 2-3 days. They can be washed on the standard hot water cycle. You can even use a special laundry service to do this job for you. The only time you may find yourself having to use the odd disposable diaper is if you use a daycare service, however increasingly more services are accommodating parent’s choice to use cloth diapers.
Even considering the amount of water used for laundering cloth diapers, they are still a more eco-friendly option than disposables. Ultimately they won’t end up in landfill, polluting our planet.
Written by Sally Collins
About the Author
Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
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