Years ago virtually every baby in the United States was diapered using cloth diapers. Then in 1961, Proctor & Gamble introduced Pampers, a convenient single-use diaper. By the early 90’s approximately 90% of babies in the United States were diapered using single-use disposable diapers. As landfills become inundated with diapers, environmentalists urge parents to switch back to the reusable cloth diapers. Today I will attempt to persuade you to switch from those convenient disposable diapers to the more environmentally friendly cloth diapers. I will address the following areas of health & comfort, design, convenience, price and environment.
Cloth diapers to use or not to use that is the question
Audience Significant Statement
This day in age cloth diapering should not only be inexpensive but also as easy and convenient as disposable diapering.
Health & Comfort
Why Cotton? It’s a matter of Health & Comfort. The comfort is something you know about from your own clothing. It stems both from cotton’s soft touch on sensitive skin and from its breathability – which ventilates the skin and helps evaporate the potentially irritating ammonia that starts to form as soon as a baby wets. As for cotton’s health for babies, it has thousands of years of history behind it. Cotton is the fabric of choice for use directly on the skin. Like its comfort, its natural absorbency is the polar opposite of the combination of paper pulp, plastics, and “super-absorbent gelling materials” or AGM in disposables. AGM is linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys according to Tiny Tots diaper service newsletter.
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Forget the complicated folds and scary pins that your grandmother had to deal with. Cloth diapers now come with Velcro or Snap closures. Bumgenius.com offers a one size fits all cloth diaper design that you can adjust as your baby grows. It will fit any baby from 8-35 lbs. with its unique snap closure style. You can also forget about the plain ol white cloth diaper design. There are several websites that offer stylish cloth diaper designs.
Are disposable diapers really more convenient? Do they take less time to put on? Humm, not really there are lots of reusable diapers on the market that are just as quick to change. Is it easier to put a diaper in a trash can rather than in a diaper pail? Surely not if you are at home. If you are elsewhere, than that depends whether there is a trash can handy. Putting a used cloth diaper into a bag to take home and wash is just as easy. But you have to get the poop out of the cloth diaper and not the disposable diaper, right? Well, not if you are using disposable diapers responsibly. According to getantsy.com it is actually illegal to dump human feces in a landfill. This means that you should remove the poop from any diaper, not just reusable ones. After all, the sewer system was developed precisely to take care of such things as human waste safely. So it would seem that the only real convenience of using disposable diapers comes down to the one thing that you don’t have to do; wash them.
The following figures were calculated using an average price of name brand and store brand disposable diapers and wipes on walmart.com, target.com & kmart.com. The number of diapers was calculated averaging the number of times a baby goes to the bathroom per day at different stages. Even though disposable diapers have a super absorbent core, they still should be changed every time the baby wets to prevent the growth of bacteria, which causes diaper rash. The low end of diapers per day range was used in figuring all totals. Oh and you can’t forget the disposable wipes either so tack on another $200 to get your grand total of 1751.60 for 30 months of disposable diapers and wipes. By the way this figure is per child.
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BumGenius one size fits all cloth diapers have a bigger up front out of pocket expense but as you can see in the long run you will save approximately $1100 by diapering your first kid with cloth diapers and save roughly $1700 for each additional child by reusing the cloth diapers.
Not only do disposable diapers account for a lot of trash taking over our nations landfills but they also pose a serious risk to the environment. The EPA reports that about 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped into landfills each year accounting for more than 3.5 million tons of waste. Although disposable diapers need to be exposed to sunlight and oxygen to decompose, they do not degrade well in landfills. Disposable diapers take about 450 years to decompose. The millions of tons of untreated waste added to landfills each year through plastic diapers can end up contaminating ground water. According to the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program, landfills are known for producing greenhouse gas emissions, which can contribute to the earth’s climate changes. Decomposing diapers release methane into the air and high concentrations of this gas can be both flammable and explosive.
In conclusion I would like to say that while there will always be controversy and it will be hard to weigh the final impact of our decisions, there are certainly lots of environmental reasons to feel good about choosing cloth diapers. And who doesn’t like to save money?