Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Environmental Impact of Diapers - And Why You Should Use Reusable Cloth Diapers

Before the age of disposable diapers, there was no issue about diapers filling up landfills. Diapers were washed, reused, and reused again until they wore out. Today, a diaper is made with bleached tissue using Dioxin, a harmful carcinogenic by-product of bleaching.

There are a number of other health dangers of disposable diapers, and even more consequences for the environment. We're not sure how long diapers will take to biodegrade into the environment, loosely using the word "biodegrade." Disposable diapers are actually not biodegradable. Plastic materials, gels, and stuffing all are parts of the diaper, some of which do not biodegrade. The other problem is that disposable diapers aren't safe for landfills. Last time we checked, the landfill isn't a waste treatment center. Since tens of billions of diapers are thrown away every year, that means tens of billions of pounds of untreated human waste head out into the environment every year, unchecked, untreated, and left to work their way into our groundwater. Letting diapers pile up forever and ever just doesn't make sense. Where will they go? Right now, the number of new births far outweighs the number of diapers that are biodegrading, which is zero.

The other part of disposable diapers that "stinks" is that they might be causing dermatitis, or diaper rash, on your baby. Cloth diapers let your baby's skin breathe. Owners of cloth diapers tend to also change the diapers more often, since they can be reused.

Not sold on the thought of reusable diapers? There are more eco friendly options out there for disposables. While these aren't quite as good for the environment as reusable cloth diapers, they are a good step in the right direction. They might also be good to have on hand when reusable cloth diapers might be a messy situation, like when you're on the road all day with your baby.

Reusable cloth diapers also make sense for your wallet. The cost of reusable diapers over one year if you cleaned them yourself is roughly 1/10th the cost of disposable diapers. So not only does reusing your own diapers benefit the environment and your baby, but it benefits you, too. That's thousands of dollars you could start putting away for your baby's college fund, and that isn't getting any less expensive anytime soon.

If you're thinking of getting some eco friendly baby diapers, this page will walk you through some of the most earth friendly solutions, best rated cloth diapers, and best rated chlorine free environmentally friendly disposable diapers. You can also read the how to change baby diapers tutorial (it's pretty easy once you get the hang of it!).

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