Parents all know it. Raising your young ones can be a challenging but nevertheless satisfying stage in life. It is filled with unforgettable moments, from special baby milestones, down to the most ordinary days filled with sleepless nights and endless nappy changes.
Truly, as much as it is wonderful to experience parenthood, there’s relatively a lot of “dirty work” involved in the whole process. This “dirty work” even expands to the literal sense! The waste involved in raising a baby is overwhelming. Some even go as far as to say that babies are one of the world’s youngest polluters! In this week’s blog, we will be focusing on the heaviest pollutant when it comes to raising your baby—disposable diapers.
A one-year-old baby uses an average of 2500 diapers during this first year of their life. Multiply that count to the millions of babies born every year, all over the world! The figures are daunting especially because disposable diapers are not only harming the environment at the point of disposal but during their manufacture as well.
With this, we will be scrutinizing the use of cloth diapers as an alternative to these disposable ones. The use of cloth diapers is not a new practice. It was done way before the convenience of disposable diapers was even known. The cloth diapers appearing in green stores today are upgraded versions of those used back in the day. They have more leak-proof features and are made of breathable cloth material. They even come in stylish prints and colors for you to choose from!
Why Are Diapers Bad for the Environment?
The manufacturing process itself has a large carbon footprint. Its whole process is linked to environmental issues such as land degradation, pollution, and toxic waste. Upon disposal, the list continues longer. Traditional diapers take hundreds of years to break down and decompose, filling landfills at an overwhelming rate.
Aside from this, most diapers contain substances harmful to both humans and animals. Tributyltin or TBT for example is a biocide contained in diapers. It is poisonous to marine life and is toxic to the human body once inhaled. Other harmful substances include petroleum, phthalates, and dioxins.
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What Is the Most Eco-friendly Diaper?
Cloth or reusable diapers are not automatically eco-friendly despite being a zero-waste alternative. There is more to the life cycle of these diapers than just disposal. The good news is, they’re not the only alternative to traditional disposable ones.
It is important to note that the manufacture of cloth diapers involves the use of tons of water, energy, and other raw materials as well. On top of that, the regular washing of these cloth diapers adds up to the equation of its carbon footprint. Some professionals even go far as to say that the total environmental impact of the whole life cycle of cloth diapers and their disposable counterparts are pretty much the same.
There is still a greener side to this though. There are more eco-friendly diaper alternatives available. These include:
- Compostable Diapers – Instead of throwing them, a paid service composts them so that they don’t end up sitting on the landfill.
- Biodegradable Diapers – they are usually made of biodegradable material like bamboo sheets and other plant-based material. This helps in making the decomposing process faster.
- Diapers manufactured by green companies – Some green brands invest in environmental initiatives as a way of being accountable for the unavoidable environmental repercussions of their business. Usually, these brands have a long list of certifications making their manufacturing processes account for a reduced carbon footprint.
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Are Eco-friendly Diapers Worth It?
In the context of living out the ideals of the green lifestyle, then yes, they are worth it.
Eco-friendly diapers like those listed in the previous section are worth it in the fact that they are contributing to the bigger cause of sustainability. The green lifestyle is one deliberate way of life. Every day is a conscious decision-making challenge. Sustainable-practicing parents will surely consider eco-friendly diapers worth it.
Do You Really Save Money Using Cloth Diapers?
Comparing to the average cost of using disposable ones, reusable cloth diapers can save you money. It is important to consider, however, that other factors are involved in the use of cloth diapers. While they cost less, they also require tons of water, electricity, and other related resources when it comes to their regular washing.
Other eco-friendly diaper alternatives, on the other hand, can be a little pricier because of their special composition. In the end, whether it is convenience, material type, or sustainability that you prioritize as a parent, it is totally up to you. Whatever choice is bound for some tradeoffs anyway.
As a sustainability-committed parent, what would you prioritize for your children’s care?
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- Organic and Nontoxic Diapers: Finding the Best for Your Baby
- The Effects of Disposable Diapers on the Environment and Human Health
- Don’t Pooh-Pooh My Diaper Choice: Essential Answer
- 11 eco-friendly disposable diaper brands in 2020
- Photo from Unsplash