For my first Green Tuesday post, I am so excited to talk about cloth diapers! Many of my friends thought I was crazy for wanting to use cloth diapers. They just needed to hear about all the advantages to cloth diapering and see the cute, modern, and easy options to change their minds! They may not all be cloth diapering now, but they respect my choice and all agree that cloth diapering is much better than they had imagined.
So what are these benefits to cloth diapering? There are three main advantages:
1. Cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposable diapers.
Did you know that a baby will use about 7,000 diapers by the time they are potty trained? Using cloth diapers will keep 7,000 diapers (and the waste they contain) out of landfills. Disposable diapers do not biodegrade under typical landfill conditions. Some estimate that disposable diapers create 1 ton of garbage per child per year. (Read more at Virtues of Cloth.) It's true that cloth diapers do take a lot of water to wash and energy to dry in the dryer (if you're not line drying them). But to me, the environmental advantages of cloth diapers outweigh the disadvantages.
2. Cloth diapers are cheaper than disposables.
Consider that a pack of disposable diapers costs about $8. That is money that is literally being thrown away. On average, parents spend about $2000 to $5000 on disposable diapers for one child. A full set of basic cloth diapers can easily be purchased for as low as $100. Fancier and more convenient cloth diapers could be purchased for well under $500 for a full stash. Even with the added costs of washing and drying, cloth diapering comes out to be cheaper than using disposable diapers, and believe me, I've calculated!!
3. Cloth diapers are safer for your baby than disposables.
This last fact I was not so convinced about until recently. I am learning more and more about the scary chemicals and ingredients that are part of disposable diapers. Some of these chemicals include dioxins, sodium polyacrylate, Tributyl-tin (TBT), volatile Organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemicals such as fragrances. These ingredients are toxic and may cause problems with the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system, reproductive functions, have caused toxic shock syndrome when used in tampons, may contribute to obesity, and cancer, and can lead to allergic reactions. Please read more information about the chemicals in disposables at Peaceful Parenting.
Originally, we began cloth diapering for the monetary savings. Our second motivation was the environment. I truly enjoy cloth diapering and have found it to be a fun hobby. As long as I must cover my babies' bums in diapers, why shouldn't I do it in a way that I really enjoy? I hope that you'll give cloth diapers a try! (There are lots of trial programs out there that are basically risk-free. But that's a post for another day.) One store I visit often is Nicki's Diapers I'll write another post with a list of my other favorite stores soon.