The Truth About Sustainable Diapers

This post is part of the Real Diaper Facts carnival hosted by Real Diaper Events, the official blog of the Real Diaper Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to cloth diaper education. Participants were asked to write about diaper lies and real diaper facts. See the list at the bottom of this post to read the rest of the carnival entries.

I've been cloth diapering my baby since he was a newborn. After much research there was no question that cloth diapers were in fact better for my baby, the environment, and my wallet. Cloth diapering is so important to me that I've even started an organization called The Cloth Diaper Revolution. Our main goal is to get more babies into cloth diapers, show mamas, mamas-to-be, and papas how insanely easy (and awesome) cloth diapering is.

Of course there always has to be someone against cloth diapering, and who better than Proctor & Gamble, the makers of Pampers. They have decided to come up with this myth vs. facts page that's full of lies to try to make people think their chemical burn giving diapers are a better alternative than cloth diapers. Well, P&G, The Cloth Diaper Revolution is here to challenge you.

Truth: Cloth diapers are better for my baby.

Disposable diapers contain traces of dioxin. What is dioxin? It's a carcinogen listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. Now having had cancer I can say I am extra cautious about stuff like this because I have been there done that, it's not fun, and why ould I put my baby at risk of having to go through a similar experience?
Not only do they contain dioxin, but the SAP (super absorbent polymer) in disposables (the gel that makes them super absorbent) is what as causing toxic shock syndrome from tampons.
Cloth diapers are fabric. No chemicals! You can even get cloth diapers in many organic fabrics such as organic cotton fleece, wool diaper covers, etc. I dare you to tell me your polyacetel gel beads and dioxin is better than an organic cotton fitted with a wool cover.

Truth: Cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposables.

 Truth, truth, truth, truth x 1000! I hate the whole "well water is a precious resource argument". Yeah, water is important, but how much water do you think goes into making your plastic diaper? How many non-renewable resources are being used? You think they wave a magic plastic wand and your diapers appear!? NO! There are a lot of processes to making your diapers and they are far from eco-friendly. I make cloth diapers. Me, one woman. I make a lot of cloth diapers, and I guarantee my impact is far less than those of disposable diaper companies. Not only that but you throw plastic diapers in the TRASH. Trash = waste. I use my cloth diapers over and over again, and if I ever have another baby then I will use them then too, and finally when I am done using them I will give them to someone else who will use them. So, cloth diapers are 100% better for the environment.

Truth: Disposable diapers are harmful to the environment.

Disposable diapers take between 250 - 500 years to break down. No one ones for sure because no one has ever lived to tell the tale. Not only do disposable diapers last forever but even though all disposable diaper packages state that solid waste should be flushed and not thrown out, people just throw it out anyway. What's the point of using disposables if you can't just throw the poop out with them? Feces is hazardous waste, and bacteria from these diapers is making it's way into our water supply and air and spreading disease. But that's ok right? Cause a landfill is not part of out environment, and neither is our water and air.



Heather said...

This was my favorite part: "You think they wave a magic plastic wand and your diapers appear!? NO! There are a lot of processes to making your diapers and they are far from eco-friendly. I make cloth diapers. Me, one woman. I make a lot of cloth diapers, and I guarantee my impact is far less than those of disposable diaper companies." Great post - thanks!

Nicole & George said...

What about those of us who do not feel that cloth diapers are worth the time and investment? There are disposable diapers out there that are perfectly safe for an infant.

Jessica Lyn. said...

@Nicole - cloth diapers take no more than approximately 3 minutes of extra time per load of laundry. In my experience you spend the same amount of time on extra laundry when using disposables because with disposables comes poop blowouts, etc. I have never experienced this with cloth diapers.

As for investment, the fact that I have saved well over $2,000 makes cloth diapers seems like the more economical choice to me. I bought diapers once and never had to do it again.

Sure, there are safe diapers, they aren't all bad, but a lot are. Did you know that it take 2/3 cup of oil to make ONE disposable diaper? Are you bothered by the oil spill at all? I am, and that just makes me want to use cloth even more.

Cloth is easy, affordable, and better for the environment. I just want to do my part to keep unescessary waste out of the landfills so my babe can live in a beautiful place.

Nicole & George said...

Of course the oil spill bothers me, especially since many of my friends work for oil companies. I just do not see the point in spending $25 on three of four diapers time and time again, because of course they wear out over time, when that same amount buys one or two boxes of disposables.

Jessica Lyn. said...

That doesn't make any sense at all.
Cloth diapers last a LONG time. You can use them through 2, 3, 4, even 5 or more babies. If you only have one baby you can resell your diapers when you are through with them and make at least 50% back what you spent.

So add it up. It just takes simple math to see that you will be saving over $2000 PER BABY.

So if you think it makes more sense to buy disposable diapers every week and spend $2000+ extra than you would spend by buying cloth diapers then be my guest.

You can economically cloth diaper a baby for under $200 - that's birth to potty.

UmmAlice said...

It makes sense to spend $25 on a few diapers because that's $25 only spent ONCE on a diaper you can reuse 1000's of times.
You can diaper a multiple babies over a period of years in cloth for the the same price it costs to diaper a baby in disposables for a week.
You can diaper a baby w cloth from birth to potty training for less than $100 even. There are deals on eBay all the time from Chinese manufacturers where you can buy 20 diapers for less than $100. cottonbabies.com also have very affordable cloth diapering options as well.

On average, at Walmart a pack of roughly 100 diapers costs $30.
That's a quarter and a nickel thown away after just one use.
For the price you'd pay to diaper your baby in disposables for a month, you can buy 20 or so one size cloth diapers that can be worn by multiple children over years. And when you're done with with them, you can resell them if you want, and you get AT LEAST half, sometimes even 100% of what you paid for.

Whitney said...

@nicole, to see just how much a family with 5 children can save by using cloth instead of disposables, check out my blog post: http://leavesofmytree.blogspot.com/2010/02/cloth-diapering-saving-money.html

it is very detailed, and i've even included the price of pins, detergent, and water. i estimated a savings of over $10,000. yes, that ten thousand dollars.

and cloth diapers don't have to be $25 for 3 or 4 dipes - we use prefolds: new, they are about $30 for 12, and used, you can get them for as little as $1 each. you can also make your own simple fleece cover for about $2.

comparing disposables and cloth in the matter of cost is automatically an invalid argument. even buying the most expensive cloth diapers available.

#navbar { height: 0px; visibility: hidden; display: none; }