Eco friendly cloth diapers are not a new invention. Most of the world has been using cloth diapers for centuries. In more recent decades disposable diapers have become the norm in North America making cloth diapers seem outdated and inconvenient. Here are some of the top benefits of using cloth diapers that might make you have a greater appreciation for the tried and true diapering method.
1. Using cloth diapers saves money
The most obvious difference between cloth diapering and using disposable diapers is the cost. Disposable diapers end up costing parents about $3,000 per child (if the child wears diapers for 30 months). Cloth diapers cost about $400 total and can be used for multiple children. This is a huge perk of choosing eco friendly cloth diapers! Of course there will be some additional water and energy costs for laundering cloth diapers. These costs are still so not make cloth diapers anywhere near as expensive as disposable diapers.
2. Cloth diapers are more eco friendly
Some of the big diaper companies will argue that disposable diapers and cloth diapers have the same negative impact on the planet. Let’s look at some of the facts. Each child in disposable diapers contributes about 2,000 pounds (1 ton) of toxic material to landfills in 2 years. Plastic coated diapers full of fecal matter will take at least 550 years to decompose. During the time the diapers are in landfills the human waste has the potential to seep into the ground and contaminate ground water.
Cloth diapers do require water and energy to launder on a regular basis. Some studies have shown that with the newer, eco friendly washer and dryer models it only takes about 10-25 gallons to wash cloth diapers 2-3 times a week. This is about the same amount of water used to shower on a daily basis. If you follow eco friendly laundry practices like using dryer balls or line drying your cloth diapers you will also save on energy by reducing the use of the dryer. Overall there are ways to keep the environmental effects of using cloth diapers to a minimum.
3. Cloth diapers help prevent diaper rash
Disposable diapers successfully trap moisture, but this can be detrimental to your baby’s sensitive skin. Disposable diapers advertise being able to stay dry longer, but this means your baby’s skin is in contact with ammonia from urine for longer as well. The chemicals used to make disposable diapers more absorbent have also been found to cause diaper rashes, allergic skin reactions and respiratory problems for babies. Cloth diapers are more breathable and are changed more often so they don’t contribute to causing as many diaper rashes. Some cloth diapers are made from bamboo, a fiber with natural antibacterial qualities. This is also good for helping to prevent diaper rash.
When deciding whether to use re-usable diapers or disposable diapers there are lots of things to consider. Ultimately you will have to decide if the convenience of disposable diapers outweighs the health and environmental benefits of cloth diapers. You can also choose to use some of each which will still be more environmentally friendly than using all disposable diapers.