Most people’s idea of a good time does not involve cleaning baby poo. But when a commitment to environmental responsibility drives your purchasing decisions, along with a desire to save money by cutting out the things that are not absolutely necessary to live comfortably, cleaning poo becomes a small trade-off to the benefits of switching to cloth diapers.
We now know that the use of disposables is neither cost-effective nor environmentally responsible. American parents can spend hundreds of dollars per month on disposable diapers just on one baby. Every day, we throw an estimated 320,000 disposable diapers into landfills. That’s over 116 Billion diapers a year and rising as the population grows.
How Cloth Diapers Benefit the Environment
Disposables take approximately 450 years to decompose in the landfills. Major marketing in the U.S. began in the 1950’s. This means the first throwaways have yet to break down. Parts of these products, the plastics, never decompose. Then a good rain comes along and can actually leach toxins from fecal matter and those plastics right into our groundwater.
Before these nappies end up in the trash, they started on a production line. Natural energy and raw materials are consumed for item manufacture. Afterwards they are then wrapped in more plastic and packaged in cardboard boxes to be shipped cross country via semi-trucks. Diesel engines haul loads using massive amounts of our precious oil.
Health Benefits of Cloth Diapers
No surprise that choosing cloth is better for our mini munchkins and tiny tots. Little bottoms are fresher with breathable cloth as opposed to the synthetics and plastics, lessening pesky rashes. Cyclohexylthiophthalimide, P-tert-butyl-phenol-formaldehyde resin and Mercaptobenzothiazol are found in diapers and are associated with skin rashes. Additional dyes that have been linked to allergic reactions (Disperse Yellow 3, Disperse Orange 3, Disperse Blue 124, Disperse Blue 106) may be used to add color.
Cloth Diaper Fashion
Making an eco-friendly, healthy child decision does not mean you have to embrace the mundane. Days of only plain white cloth diaper under plastic covers are gone. Don’t get me wrong, you can still get them, but you can also find a whole lot more. Now we have all-in-ones, all-in-twos, the hybrid cloth diaper and pocket diapers. Or you can just stick with the plain ones and invest in washable covers. All of the options come in cute designs.
Washing Cloth Diapers
While eco-friendly diapers are great for the environment, they must be properly washed and sanitized after each use. Here are some quick tips on how to easily and effectively wash eco-friendly cloth diapers:
Wet Pail Method
Before laundering the used diapers, fill a pail with warm water. Add 1 cup baking soda (to help with odor) and let the used cloth soak for several hours. Rinse thoroughly, then wash as usual.
Dry Pail Method
Place used cloth diapers into a pail. Sprinkle baking soda over cloths or use freshener discs at the bottom of the pail to help minimize odor. Store dirty cloths in pail until ready to be laundered.
Companies will pick up your dirty nappies and leave fresh ones in their place. Nashville based Smile Mommy offers pickup and delivery in Davidson and Williamson Counties.
By Rachel West