Thursday, April 15

In praise of cloth diapers

It's earth day, did you know? To celebrate, I drove to Starbucks with my reusable cup instead of walking to Timmy's and using their paper cup. Apparently I love good coffee more than I love the planet. But, I do love the planet. And I think it's important that we use our resources carefully. And as soon as there is Starbucks in walking distance, I'll walk there instead of drive.

Cloth diapers are one way that we are trying to be responsible with our "footprint", as they say. I thought I'd do a little plug here to share with you my love of cloth diapers. Often, when I mention using cloth, or people see me changing Haydon and comment on cloth, the remarks are along the line of "Wow! You use cloth? Good for you..." With a hint of "That's way too much work for me." or "I refuse to carry around poopy diapers." in the background. Really, it's not that much work. And, as far as cleaning up or carrying around poop goes, that's not a huge issue either.

So, why do we love cloth? Let's start with the environmental reasons. I've read that it can take over 500 years for for a disposable to decompose, and that a baby can go through 5,000 diapers...imagine that pile in a landfill. Also, creating all of those disposables can take up to 300 lbs of wood. That's a huge environmental cost.

Then, there's the out of pocket cost. Diapers are expensive. Using disposable diapers, up unto the age of 3, can cost almost $4,000...that's for one kid. Cloth can be a bit expensive up front, but, once you've bought them, you've got them. And you can use them for future children. Here's a great cost comparison . I'd say, so far we've spent about $500 on cloth diaprs, and I think we're set for the next little while - the diapers we're using right now are supposed to fit up to 25lbs. We could easily have spent at least $500 (and probably more) on disposables up to this point, and still need to shell out around $30-$40/week for the next couple of years. Yes, we need to take into consideration detergent and energy costs for washing, but it's still considerably less.

Along with the cost to the environment, and my pocketbook, there's the actual diaper performance. The few times I've had Haydon in disposables, he's had poop explosions, and diaper rash. In cloth, we've had no rash, and maybe one time the poop has escaped the confines of the diaper. Cloth also doesn't give him saggy droopy bum after a while of wearing.

So, that's why we love cloth. Here's my response to other peoples' reasons for not using cloth.

First let me deal with the poop. Then I'll show you how cloth is not that much work.
a)Breastmilk poops are not stinky. I'm not gonna say there's no scent, but it's not a gross one.
b)Solid poops just roll of into a toilet, and you don't have to carry them around.
c)If you really don't want the inconvenience of carrying around dirty diapers, use disposables when you're out. It will still make a huge difference in your diaper costs and ecological footprint.
d)Your washing machine was made to clean dirty stuff, and will not be forever contaminated by having poopy diapers in it.

Ok. That's enough for one post. I have tons more to say, so I think I'll make this a multi-post topic. And there will be pictures. Lots of pictures. Later.

Discussion is welcome!!!


  1. Great post Rae!
    The carrying around poop thing is a part of the cloth turn-off for me. We're planning on using Gdiapers. (
    They're cloth with a completely decomposable liner that can be flushed or tossed. They also recently came out with cloth liners. I think we'll get some of each and use the disposable liners while we're out.
    What brands do you use?

  2. I also love my cloth diapers. We've taken them travelling too and they just take up more room than disposables. When we're camping we use a compostable diaper called "Nature Babycare" and put it in the outhouse or pit toilet or you can burn it. And by the way, Earth day is April 22, still coming up! Starbucks was celebrating early!

  3. pictures of... the poop??

  4. Michelle - I am familiar with gdiapers, although we haven't tried them. Before they came out with the cloth inserts, the price for the inserts was just more than we were willing to pay. A good option though for people who want to be earth-friendly but avoid the laundry! We've had friends who's toilet couldn't handle the inserts though, just a warning...


Related Posts with Thumbnails