Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So, Why Cloth?

Why Cloth? Hmmmm...

I'm sure there are many mamas out there that swear by their disposables. I used disposables for my first child and while they were convenient (sort-of) I have since by bitten by the "cloth love bug." I began using cloth diapers with my son when he was 6 months old, thanks to the urging of my mother. I have never looked back.

First, I would like to share some facts about disposable diapers:

(the following information is compiled from The Real Diaper Association ~ http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php , and from several other cloth diapering resources, including goodmama ~ http://shop.thegoodmama.com , Kushies ` www.kushies.com , and The Canadian Cloth Diaper Association)

Disposable diapers contain Dioxin ~ which is a known carcinogen, recognized by the EPA as one of the most toxic cancer causing chemicals. It is banned in many countries, but not the US.

Disposable diapers also contain several other toxic chemicals known to cause hormonal disruptions, asthma, eczema, and a laundry list of other uncomfortable ailments.

The materials used to produce diapers create massive amounts of industrial pollution and waste. These materials are specific to disposable diapers and other disposable hygiene products (another topic for another day!). I am still looking for a reliable resource to put numbers and statistics to this statement.
Disposable diapering of one child produces over TWO TONS of used, non-biodegradable waste. Nearly 30 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the US alone. This does not include any other country!! Of these 30 billion diapers, most end up in the landfill, where they will sit and rot for at the very least 500 years. Think about it. In 5 years, that's 150 billion diapers rotting in the landfills. In 10 years, that's 300 billion dirty diapers. And a lot of those diapers contain human waste, even though the diaper manufacturers recommend dumping solids into the toilet. Do you know anyone who does that? I do on the extremely rare occasion that I use a disposable diaper. Anyone else?

I, for one, washed a LOT of clothes while using disposable diapers. Both mine and my baby's....every time she had an "explosive" poop (and it seemed like every poop the first year was explosive), her clothes would have to be washed...poop up the back and out the legs...ick. And if she was sitting on my lap at the time, well, you get the picture.

Disposable diapering is expensive. For one child, the average American cost to diaper with disposables is between $2000 and $3000 for 2 years. If you have another child in disposable diapers, add on another $2000 to $3000. And so on, and so forth. Let's say you have 3 kids in diapers for 3 years each; that's $9000 - $13500!!!

Now, let's compare those facts with some facts about cloth diapers:

Cloth diapers, especially those made with organic materials do not contain or off gas any chemicals. Any plastic component of the cloth diaper, if there is any (and there are a lot of options that are made of completely natural materials), does not touch baby's sensitive skin. Therefore, there is no risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. I read somewhere (and for the life of me I can not locate the source) that we are exposed to something like 98% of cancer-causing elements before the age of two. I will continue to search for that resource.

Cloth diapers are made with fabric. There are many fabric choices that are not processed using chemicals. The materials used to make cloth diapers are also used to make other clothing items, so, in general, the manufacturing by-products, pollution and waste would be less than that of disposables. Again, I am still looking for the numbers to back this up.

Cloth diapers do not end up as non-biodegradable waste in a landfill. They can be used over and over, passed from one child to the next, one family to the next, and when they are no longer usable as diapers, they make great shop rags! Solid wastes do not go into the garbage, they go into the toilet, where they belong.

Cloth diapers do make laundry. I honestly do not feel like I do any more laundry than I did before. I no longer have to change my child's outfit after an "explosive" poop, because the cloth contains all that. I've never had to change my own clothes after a poop. For the most part, I wash a large load of diapers every 3 days (of course, I have a lot of diapers in our stash!). On the other hand, I do a regular load of laundry almost every day, so there's really no more work involved.

Cloth diapering CAN be expensive....(especially if you get bitten by the "cloth love bug"). It can be addictive. it can also be a LOT less expensive than disposables. For example, for the lifetime of your one child in diapers, if you purchased Kushies brand diapers, you would buy about 30 infant size ($330) and 20 toddler size ($225) and for $555 you'd be done. No more buying. If you have another child, you can pass these diapers on to him. And so on, and so forth. Let's say you have 3 kids in diapers for 3 years each; that's $555. Compare that to the disposable numbers at $9000 - $13500!!! Yikes!

In my next post, I will focus on prices in Baja and how my mission will work.

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