Today, the environmentally conscious parent has lots of choices when it comes to diapers. Diapering is arguably the most important decision parents could make for the environment and their young children, who are in diapers around the clock for upward of two years. The choices now go far beyond “disposable or cloth” to “biodegradable”, “chlorine free”, “flushable”, “pre-fold”, “one-size”…..
Where does one start to make sense of all the articles, research, blog posts, studies, and expert opinions? Is the sodium polyacrylate used in disposables to absorb actually harmful to babies? Can a landfill ever be compared to a composting facility, the only place things truly biodegrade? Should the ability to absorb large volumes of liquid be a selling point for disposables, how about changing that soiled child?
The debates are endless. Manufacturers need water to grow the cotton to make cloth diapers. Parents need water to launder the diapers. Disposable diapers require more water in manufacturing, but also more trees, energy and fuel. We are left comparing apples to oranges: Is a product that uses more water better than a product that takes up landfill space?
On the face of it, cloth diapers appear to be the best way to avoid additional waste dump in landfills. But laundering cloth diapers does appear to suck up a lot of water, which could present a problem in drought-afflicted areas.
A ray of hope for parents can be found in G Diapers. G Diapers bridge the gap between cloth and disposable. They consist of a washable, cotton outer ‘little g’ pant and a plastic-free diaper refill. They outer is made of breathable material just like sports clothing, while the refill can be flushed, garden composted [wet ones only], or thrown away. See the break down for yourself:
Perhaps the most environmentally friendly option is Infant Potty Training, also called Elimination Communication and Natural Infant Hygiene. DiaperFreeBaby is a helpful site for explaining the exact particulars and provides resources for those interested in learning more. Using zero diapers is the best option we can think of. I have seen it in action and will testify how amazingly it works.
If your decision on diapering is going to be made solely on cost, check out this comparison chart.