There is little doubt in my mind that the way you choose to diaper your child has one of the biggest impacts on our planet, from a parenting perspective. There are so many options out there and I am here to help you break them down.
Let’s start with the stats. It is estimated that the average baby goes through 6-8 diapers a day. This adds up to at least 8,000 diapers in their lifetime at a cost of at least $3,000 if you go the conventional, disposable route. That is a fair chunk of change!
The average disposable diaper is made of biodegradable materials on the inside and has a plastic shell around the outside. Most cities do not permit diapers in the compost heap so they are sent to the landfill. Because the conditions are very light and oxygen poor, the biodegradable component of the diapers takes much longer to break down. The plastic component of the diaper takes an unknown period of time to degrade—ALL of them are still in existence.
So what are your options?
We are cloth diapering our youngest daughter right now. It took a bit of adjustment, but I feel pretty great about doing it.
Firstly, it’s a lot easier on the wallet. All you have to do is buy some diaper covers, an odor absorbing diaper pail, some (organic) cotton liners, and you are pretty much set! In comparison to buying new diapers every month, you can imagine that this system is a lot more economical. Not to mention that these diapers are reusable for each child you have!
From a waste perspective, the environmental benefit is obviously huge. Yes, you will be using more water to wash the diapers and the covers. But I believe that this is much less impactful than the tons of trash that you would be sending to the landfill.
Finally, there is a health benefit to using cloth diapers. We know the ingredients of the reusable organic cotton liners and therefore the health and safety of them. What exactly is in a plastic, disposable diaper? I’m not sure, are you? Apparently there are about 50 different chemicals being exposed to your baby’s skin! One surefire way of avoiding these chemicals is avoiding the diapers themselves.
If you are at all intrigued by cloth diapering, my advice would be to seek out an agency that will wash the diapers for you. Find out if they will offer a trial period so you can see if cloth diapers are for you. From there, you can decide if this system will work for you and your family.
For the good of your bank account, the planet, and your baby’s health, I hope it does!
What are your doubts about cloth diapering? Is this something you can see yourself implementing in your family’s life?
Stay tuned for the next article in the series on how to be a greener parent!
Most of the facts and figures came from an extensive article by the Small Footprint Family. Find the whole article here: https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/dangers-of-disposable-diapers.
Want more green parenting tips, links to products, vegetarian/vegan recipes, or to learn more about our planet? Follow Meera (thegreenmum) on Instagram: www.instagram.com/thegreenmum