The environmental impact of cloth versus disposable diapers is a heated debate. Proponents of both sides claim their diapers have less of an impact - read on and you can decide for yourself.
Disposable diapers are not biodegradable, so they're sitting in landfills worldwide - forever. Remember that the average baby uses 6,500+ diapers before potty learning. There are 80-100 diapers in a case of disposables. Imagine 80+ cases of diapers sitting in a landfill. That's just for one baby. A 2008 Time magazine article says "an estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US".
In one cradle-to-grave study sponsored by the National Association of Diaper Services (NADS) and conducted by Carl Lehrburger and colleagues, results found that disposable diapers produce seven times more solid waste when discarded and three times more waste in the manufacturing process. Diapers use superabsorbent polymers (SAP), which were discontinued from use in tampons in the 1980s due to increased risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). SAP is also used for blocking water penetration in underground power or communications cable, horticultural water retention agents, control of spill and waste aqueous fluid, artificial snow for motion picture and stage production. Disposable diapers also contain dioxins, sodium polyacrylate, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and Tributyl-tin (TBT), among other chemicals.
That's not to say that cloth has no environmental impact. Cloth diapers are generally made from a mix of natural fibers and manmade materials including cotton, hemp, bamboo, wool, microfiber, polyester fleece and or/ polyurethane laminate (PUL). While there is a trend that the natural fibers used are organic, that's not always the case.
According to a study produced by the UK Environment Agency, "for the home laundered [diaper] system, the main source of environmental impact is the generation of the electricity used in washing and drying the [diapers]."
You can easily lessen the laundering impact by doing some or all of the following:
- use lower washing or rinsing temperatures.
- use environmentally friendly washing detergents.
- do not use additional laundry additives (which are usually not recommended for cloth diapers anyway).
- line dry your diapers - the sun is a natural stain remover!.
- reroute washing machine water runoff or install a graywater recycling system.
- stock up on diapers and wash only when you have a full load.
- offset your electricity use with green energy credits or switch your electricity supply to a green provider.
Read More: http://alvababy.onsugar.com/Which-usually-Diapers-Quit-Air-leaks-Very-best-24683500