Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Cloth vs. Disposable, Fact vs. Fiction - Is one obviously better than the other?

There is no end in sight to the battle between cloth diapers and disposables. The use of eco-friendly diapering alternatives is on the rise and the mega-manufacturers of sposies have taken notice. We can not expect them to sit back and watch as our industry grows in popularity, converting one mom at a time from disposables to cloth or hybrids.

The lines have been drawn in the sand and advocates for both sides have been standing their ground, playing defense for their team.

What's the problem? The problem is that it's hard to tell Fact from Fiction, especially when some of the largest companies back their own studies and provide the public with what they want you to believe are un-biased scientific facts.

This post will address some of the most common Facts and try to provide you with enough information and legitimate sources to allow you to make up your own mind about what truly is Fact or Fiction.

Let us first address the topic of resources and energy used in the production and consumption of cloth diapers vs. disposables. Have you read The Great Diaper Debate? It's a great article and makes valid points both for and against cloth diapers and disposables.

It cites studies who have evaluated the energy usage for the use of cloth diapers and claims to have found there to be no real difference environmentally between the two competing daipering methods.

"found no difference between the overall environmental impact of disposable diapers, home-laundered cloth, and commercially laundered cloth diapers."

But they do go on to say that conflicting studies have found the results to be much more complicated.

What's my take? Well to me the difference is obvious. Studies, most likely backed by those large mega-manufacturers, always like to point out the energy used in washing and drying cloth diapers, the resources used by the trucks who work for cloth diaper services as they transport the cloth diapers to and from customers, etc.

But what about that plank sticking out of their own eye? I guess they didn't notice it because they were so busy looking for the speck in ours. The energy used to make the disposables, the resources used to transport millions and millions of diapers to stores across the country and around the globe? I rarely see any mention of it. Comparisons are always made to the diapers that end up in landfills vs. the energy and resources needed to care for cloth diapers. What about where the disposables come from? They don't just magically appear.

Let's take a look at some other facts, really obvious ones, facts that don't need expensive studies to back them up.

FACT: Cloth Diapers are made by humans and not machines, are not made in huge factories that create pollution, and are not made with components that are also made in turn by more machine operated, environment-polluting factories.

FACT: Cloth Diapers are primarily sold by small family owned and operated businesses and mom-entrepreneurs. Disposables are sold in mass quantities by BIG BOX retailers.

FACT: The health risks to your baby are greater when using disposables than when using cloth diapers made of natural fibers.

FACT: According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, one disposable diaper is approximated to take up to 450 years to decompose in a landfill. The RDA estimates that a baby could use approximately 6,00 diapers in their first two years of life.

These facts are not complicated and do not require super in depth answers, they are pretty cut and dry and in my opinion make the clear winner obvious.

Lastly, let me leave you with this sweet video. It will give you a glimpse at all the loving care that goes into the production of disposables.

If you can not view the video here you can view it directly on Youtube by following this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkdAOhnrGyw

Written by Julia Clark


Melissa said...

can you add the link to the video it will not show up for me!

Jenna said...

Wow-there wasn't a person present the whole time-it's fascinating, really, that all that machinery comes together to make disposables...apparently it must run on solar energy or something-or maybe the people are all on the back on treadmills....

fluttermama said...

Cloth is totaly the way to go

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