When I was a baby my mom used those rough, white cotton cloth diapers with giant safety pins.
What a pain! But not anymore.
Gone are the days of accidentally stabbing your newborn with a safety pin. Cloth diapers have come a long way. You can snap them, button them or hook them in the same amount of time you’d tape on one of their disposable counterparts. Sure, you have to toss ‘em in the washer but isn’t that worth the possibly thousands of dollars in savings not to mention the benefit to the environment? Cloth diapers are the ultimate in recycling because they are used again and again, not entering a landfill until they are nothing but rags.
The same cannot be said for disposable diapers.
According to RealDiaperAssociation.com, nearly 9 million babies in the United States use 27 billion disposable diapers every year. Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill. No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone.
Not only that, but 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 United States. Cloth diapers are free of the many of those harmful chemicals contained in disposable diapers.
Cloth diapers just make sense. And cents. “The people who really need cloth diapers are the people who are struggling financially,” said Anita Palmer, founder of Cloth Diaper Utah and a mother of three. She estimates she has saved about $6,000 using cloth diapers on her children. “If we didn’t cloth-diaper, I don’t know what we’d do.”
Palmer says her goal is to work with hospitals, foster care, refugee and low income groups to spread information about the benefits of Cloth Diapering. She and proponents like her want to dispel what they say are myths about reusable diapers, particularly how difficult it is to make, use and clean them. They want every mom to know that although cloth diapering is about the environment, the landfills and the unnecessary usage of trees and depleting rain forests, it’s also about taking the best care of baby in the most delicate, loving way possible.
Click Back In Cloth Diapers to read an awesome cloth diaper testimonial (with tips and super cool links) from Babble’s own Katie Granju.
Click here to link to a calculator that will compare the cost of disposable and reusable diapers.