BECAUSE REUSABLE CLOTH DIAPERS ARE BETTER FOR YOUR BABY: Cloth diapers are soft on baby's delicate skin. Since cloth is a natural fiber that breathes, baby's bottom gets plenty of 'air' keeping baby cool and comfortable (lack of fresh air and elevated temperatures are a breeding ground for yeast leading to severe diaper rash and yeast infections). Babies who are prone to allergies and sensitivities such as eczema and psoriasis, and babies born prematurely are especially sensitive to the petro-chemicals and dioxin used in disposable diapers, making reusable cloth an excellent choice! Since cloth diapers are free of petro-chemicals and dioxin, diaper rash with reusable diapers is a rare occurrence. In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.
BECAUSE REUSABLE CLOTH DIAPERS DON'T CONTAIN (but disposables do): Dioxin - a toxic by-product of the paper bleaching process. Dioxin is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the United States.
Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.
Sodium Polyacrylate - a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance was used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome.
BECAUSE REUSABLE CLOTH DIAPERS ARE EASY TO USE: Gone are the days of dunking reusable diapers in the toilet, and boiling to sanitize. Today's reusable cloth diapers are as convenient and easy to use as disposables, often times more effective at containing messes than disposables, and the choices are vast. You can choose economical pre-folds (which are similar to the fold, pin, rubber pants style used by our mothers and grandmothers), or fitted diapers that have a snap or hook and loop closure, or even diapers that already have the water-proof diaper covers sewn onto the cloth, making the diaper and cover one piece (All-In-One or AIO) like that of a disposable. Most people use a combination of the various styles and use each style for different situations (depending on if they need a more absorbent option for overnight, if they need a very simple system for travel or with the nanny/babysitter, etc.). Best of all, simply toss into the washing machine, hang or tumble dry, and you are set. Modern cloth diapering REALLY is that easy!
BECAUSE REUSABLE CLOTH DIAPERS ARE BETTER FOR OUR PLANET: In 1988, over 18 billion single use diapers were sold and consumed in the United States. Based on current calculations, it is estimated that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S. Of those 27.4 billion disposable diapers, 92% end up in our landfills. No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose (since single use diapers have been available for less than 100 years), but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years. Often people ask me about, or even propose that the use of water to launder cloth diapers is more detrimental to the environment than using disposables. Nothing can be further from the truth! The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than with reusable diapers. Additionally, the water used to manufacture disposables is so heavily laden with chemicals and toxic by-product that it can not be recycled. This polluted water inevitably finds its way into our natural lakes, streams, oceans, and groundwater. Even taking into account washing cloth diapers on a hot water cycle, (though most people now use cold or warm water for the average wash load, which further reduces the impact of laundering cloth diapers) the impact of producing disposables is far worse for our planet. When you choose to use organic cloth diapers like we do, you are keeping even more chemicals from entering our eco-system. Think about it from another angle: Most of us would agree that wearing an outfit (or even underwear) one time, and then throwing it out would be ridiculously wasteful. We don't buy new baby clothing for our little ones each time they wear (and inevitably get dirty) an outfit, so why has it become accepted as 'normal' to throw out our babies' diapers (underwer) after only a single use? Not only are disposable diapers wasteful, but expensive!
BECAUSE REUSABLE CLOTH DIAPERS WILL SAVE YOU MONEY: As the cost of fuel continues to rise, disposable diapers are impacted two-fold. Not only does the increased cost of transportation impact the consumer, but since petro-chemicals are used in the MANUFACTURE of disposable diapers as well, the actual cost of production is increasing, so the consumer is feeling the pinch from both ends. The average newborn will use 12-14 diapers per day, with the average baby and toddler using 6-10 diapers per day. So let's compare the cost of using an average of 10 disposables vs. reusable diapers per day over 2.5 years (although statistics show that children in cloth diapers generally potty train earlier than this, and many in disposable diapers potty train later than this - another benefit of cloth!).
Our cost comparison was updated in July 2008 to reflect the average cost of diapering a baby with disposable diapers in the Boston Metro area at that time.
Diapers we used to calculate averages - Huggies, Pampers, and the generic store brand.
Sizes compared - newborn through 5, EXCLUDING 'Pull-ups', 'Swim Diapers' and wipes.
Average cost per diaper at national wholesale warehouse = 18.8 cents
Average cost of diapering 1 child per day = $1.88
Average cost of diapering 1 child for 2.5 years = $1715.50
Average cost per diaper at local Boston grocery store = 34.2 cents
Average cost of diapering 1 child per day = $3.42
Average cost of diapering 1 child for 2.5 years = $3120.75
Depending on what type of reusable diapering system you choose, you can spend as little as $450.00 for economical pre-folds or as much as $1,200.00 for the more expensive all-in-one style diapers (both figures include the cost of covers and reusable cloth wipes). Keep in mind that this is the cost of a COMPLETE reusable cloth diapering set up that will last not only for 1 child, but can be reused for subsequent children as well.
Just roughly, that is a savings of anywhere from about $500.00 up to a staggering $2,700.00 for 2 children, with continued savings for each child you re-use those cloth diapers for after that. Most people break even with the cost of reusable cloth diapering vs. using disposables within 6-10 months (depending on which type of cloth diapers you choose). After that, it is 100% money saved. Think of all the fun stuff you can do with your savings, or how about that college account you keep meaning to set up for your baby? The savings translate to a lifetime of benefits, no matter which way you look at it.