When I bring up the subject of cloth diapers people give a look or make a verbal sound like ick or something to that effect. In The Trenches is not about telling people what to do but rather about encouraging them to consider ideas, research, and then come to the best temporary or permanent solutions for their families. Personally, I believe cloth diapers are the healthy, cost effective, and green choice. Yes, I expect that other will disagree. A multi-billion dollar industry has been built on the convience of disposable diapers. I have included many links in the post for those who would like to do further reseach before coming to a decision.
The disposible diaper industry is huge. They have a lot at stake to insure that people continue to use their products.
"With an investment of $1.7 billion in year (2000), P&G is the 21st largest US-based and 52nd largest global investor in research and development (“Investing in R&D”, 2000). Kimberly-Clark has annual sales of more than $13 billion, with manufacturing facilities in forty countries and sales in more than 150. It is also the second largest household and personal care products company in the United States. Procter & Gamble diapers are now sold in more than 80 countries worldwide and have become a multi-billion dollar business (“Improving Health and Dryness for Babies”, 2000). After P&G marketed the original Pampers in 1961, Kimberly-Clark introduced Huggies diapers seventeen years later in 1978, soon after P&G’s patent rights on disposable diapers expired. Today Kimberly Clark is the second largest producer of disposable baby diapers in the world. "
Quoted from http://www.disposablediaper.net/content.asp?2 The article also gives a very interesting history of diapering and current developments such as bio-degradable diapers.
Studies have shown that disposable diapers contribute to higher incidents of rash, toxic reactions, and even sterility in boys.
The chart on the first link gives a specific breakdown and comparison of the cost difference between various types of disposable and cloth diapers. Of course, cloth diapers win in the cost catagories. The cost of disposable diapers is 36 cents per change compared to the most economic of cloth diapers which is 6 cents per change (the price includes washing.) At 30 cents per change it is easy to see how the price quickly adds up.
"It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone. Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun. Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing" Quoted from an article in the following link: http://www.thenewparentsguide.com/diapers.htm
There is no denying the negative environmental impact of using disposable diapers. Even walking on the side of the road you will find soggy diapers.
So far we have provided information about two choices: cloth or disposable. There is a third option and may be the best of all worlds for some people. Baby Diaper Service has been in business since 1946. When my children were little it was common to give a gift certificate to the service at baby showers. It gave the new mother the chance to not have to worry about diaper washing for the first month. For those who support green but are not expecting children it would be a good way to promote the use of cloth diapers by giving the new mother a chance to try them. The following link gives an idea of what a service will provide. Consult your local directory for a service near you. http://www.seattlediaper.com/
Many daycare situations require the use of disposable diapers so there may be no way to completely eliminate their use by some families. The fourth option is a combination of all of the above.
Another benefit of cloth diapers is the business opportunities it provides for those looking to earn some extra money. With the current interest in green living it may be the perfect time to cultivate interest in the product. This one is even on my own list of maybe. Diaper Decisions is a business that helps you set up your own home based diaper manufacturing and distribution business. She provides step by step infomation for handling both the paper and cloth side of the venture.
a thing of the past and a good choice for the future.