On Friday I hosted a group of moms for lunch at my house. We met to discuss cloth diapers as a few moms were seriously considering making the switch. Two moms brought samples of different cloth diapers and the rest of us pelted them with questions. I didn’t really see myself getting drawn into this issue. I figured that cloth diapers must be SOOOOOO inconvenient and that since my second (and last) child is already eight months old, how much could we really save?
We had the largest turn out ever! I guess everyone is at least curious about cloth. Looking at the pocket diapers and all-in-one diapers they brought as samples, I realized that it really couldn’t be too hard. Washing the diapers seems like the worst part, but don’t I have a machine to do that for me? I decided to do some researching online to see how cloth diapers compare with disposables, as far as the cost for me and for the environment.
As my husband will attest, I spent WAY too much time on the internet this weekend! I did find several great sources. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s very clear that I’d still save a bundle by switching to cloth, even though my baby is already eight months. Besides the obvious savings (buying/self-laundering of cloth is MUCH cheaper than buying disposables – even if you buy the fancy all-in-one kind, like I would), I found that there is quite a demand for used cloth diapers. I should be able to sell them for 50-70% of my cost.
The real kicker was when I began looking at the environmental cost of disposables. It’s ridiculous!!! Here’s what stood out to me the most: Do you know that your baby will probably use about 6000 diapers from birth to age 2 1/2. Because diapers continue to absorb water, even after they’re thrown away, that equals 2 tons of garbage in diapers to cover one baby’s bum! Get this: Each diaper will take about 250 – 500 YEARS to decompose!!!. No one knows for sure how long it will take for a disposable to decompose, because they haven’t decomposed yet! I kept researching study after study, and NO ONE thinks it’s going to happen anytime soon. So, where will you put the 2 tons of solid waste created by your baby’s disposables? Into the trash – which goes into the landfills… We’re going to run out of room eventually! Plus, that means we’re putting untreated, disease-ridden human waste into the earth. Not only is this technically illegal (read your diaper package – it actually says to rinse the poop of your disposable before trashing it), it’s not safe. There’s just no way that people are still going to be using today’s disposable diaper in 100 years!
I’m pretty much convinced to make the switch to cloth diapers, but my husband is dragging his feet. He’s all but agreed to let us give them a try. Since his main concern is convenience, I think a trial run will be the perfect thing. And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just have to force him to read up on all the environmental and health costs of disposable diapers. Here are some informational resources: http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php and http://www.diaperpin.com/clothdiapers/article_diaperdrama4.asp.
As for myself, I’m on to the fun question: which cloth diaper shall I buy? There are so many great products to choose from, plus colors, prints – you can even have yours custom made! My baby’s bum is going to be so adorably “green”!