Reusable Eco-Friendly Diapers: Are They Worth The Effort?
by Doug Clayton
Over 27 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the United States, according to the Real Diaper Association, a non-profit that raises awareness about the environmental and health benefits of using cloth diapers versus disposables. If you placed these discarded diapers side by side they would stretch from Dallas to Honolulu. That’s a lot of waste each year for just one country.
While the environmental benefits of switching from disposable to reusable cloth diapers is clear, most people find it difficult to get past the convenience of being able to toss it and forget about it. It’s just so easy. However, there are other less obvious implications associate with using disposable diapers that go beyond the environmental ramifications like the potential health risks.
Think about it. Is any of the clothing you’re wearing right made from unnatural materials like plastic? Of course not, most garments are made using breathable, natural materials like 100% cotton. Fabrics like cotton, linen, or hemp allow skin to breath, are soft to the touch, and have been worn for thousands years by humans. So why would you use a garment made from plastics, chemicals, or other unnatural materials for your own child?
Depending on the brand, throw-away diapers could contain the following chemicals: Dioxin, Trybutyl-tin, or sodium polyacrylate. These chemicals have been linked to cancers and hormonal diseases. Dioxin is even banned in certain countries located outside of the United States due to the health risks. Which begs the question: Is the convenience really worth the risk?
And if the potential health risks haven’t scared you straight to cloth diapers already there are also long-term savings that can be realized by switching to cloth. The cost associated with a family that goes through using about five disposables per day can rapidly add up for over $1,800 in fixed expenses per year. That’s literally like throwing money straight into the trash receptacle.
For individuals suffering from incontinence this is a liability that will remain throughout their lives. For adults, making the switch to cloth diapers is a no brainer as this simple change could easily result in $50,0000 in savings or more over the course of a lifetime. That adds up to a couple new cars and a few extra vacations from one simple lifestyle change, which is a pretty attractive benefit.
Of course while cloth diapers do save people a lot of money over the long term, the initial barrier of entry is higher than a package of disposables. On average, you should expect to pay around $300 – $400 dollars to get started. This will pay for 5 – 7 pairs of cloth diapers and the special detergent that is recommended for washing them.
Reusable diapers: Better for the environment, health, and your wallet. But are you really convinced to make the switch? Weigh in on whether not you plan to use cloth in the comments below.