After getting pregnant I began to research the many ways to have a kid in the most sustainable way. A part of this decision was to use cloth diapers over disposable diapers.
I choose to use cloth diapers since they are a better financial decision. I paid around $300 for my entire diaper stash versus the $20 a pack. Also, I don’t have to worry about the thought of those diapers slowly decomposing in a landfill for the next 250-500 years. I also don’t have to worry about the toxic chemicals being used in disposable diapers, such as dioxin – the worst substance known to man. Then factor in the resources disposable diapers use, which is, “Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.” That is a lot of resources for one child to use. Maybe the next therapy issue for future generations will be environmental guilt.
But the more I think about it there are some drawbacks to cloth diapers, besides having to actually clean them several times a week. These diapers use lots of water. I wash them every other day with multiple washes to get them clean. This is especially a problem when Denver is already in a drought for the summer. Yet, apparently disposable diapers still use more water than cloth, “The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth”. Cloth diapers not only uses lots of water but also energy. Between using the washer and hot water being used several times a week, the dryer is also used. In the summer I can hang the diapers and micro-fleece inserts in the sun. Hemp inserts that are necessary for night time diapers cannot be hang dried because they become rock hard and unusable, so I have to use the dryer for them.
Maybe there is no good decision? Often when debating topics in my head there seems to be no good choice but one is better comparatively, or a lesser of two evils. I still like to think my decision for cloth diapers is best and the most sustainable decision for my family.