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Cloth diapers aren't eco-friendly?

Has anyone heard the argument that cloth diapers are harder on the environment than disposables because it takes too much water to get them clean? I have a 1.6 gallon per flush toilet, and I can sometimes clean two diapers before flushing. Keep in mind the ones that are just wet don't have to be dunked in the toilet. Us "big" people flush every time we go, so we use a lot more water. Also, I only wash diapers every two or three days. Last time I looked closely at my water bill, it had gone up $10 a month. Cloth is definitely saving us money, and the untreated waste is ending up in the sewage where it belongs.

I'm not bashing disposables or anyone who prefers them - I'm just questioning this argument. Thoughts?


Asked by Iamgr8teful at 6:09 PM on Jul. 4, 2010 in Babies (0-12 months)

Level 25 (23,279 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (18)
  • The water to wash the diapers is recycled. The world is still using the same water that dinosaurs drank and peed millions of years ago.

    The amount of water used to clean disposable diapers is pretty equal to the amount of water you would use once your child is toilet-trained. They would use water each time they flushed, and again when you washed their underwear.

    Cloth diapers can be passed on and used by many, many babies, and later turned into rags before disposing of them.

    Disposable diapers can only be used once, are full of petrol chemicals, and will sit in a landfill for decades, occasionally leaching e-coli bacteria into the water table.

    BTW, I used disposable diapers with my kids, and I really think it's the parents choice what they use. However, when you look at the environmental impact, cloth is 100% better.

    Answer by mancosmomma at 12:18 PM on Jul. 5, 2010

  • The people making that argument are trying to justify junking up the landfills with disposables.

    Answer by SleepingBeautee at 6:11 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • People also need to figure into the equation how much water it takes to produce the paper diapers (which are not re-usable). In my opinion, anything that is re-usable is almost always a better bet for the environment.
    BTW I almost never need to dunk a diaper. When they are little it washes out, and when they are bigger most of the time I can just dump it in w/o dunking.

    Answer by maggiemom2000 at 6:12 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • I hadn't really considered that argument, but I still think that disposables are doing more damage. I use disposable diapers, but I think it's great for people to cloth diaper. I give props to those who do it, it's just not for me.

    Answer by LovingSAHMommy at 6:16 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • Well the best way is to do elimination communication.

    Disposables really do suck though...and I liked the fact I never was chucking anything away with them too. I wish people thought this way about clothing too though. I always buy second hand or organic and I have kept most of the clothes for the next baby that comes along. I don't understand why people want everything to be new and don't want to give their baby hand me downs. They grow out of them in two seconds!

    Answer by keyaziz at 6:17 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • I just think using cloth is the lesser of the two evils. Plus they can be reused by subsequent babies or given to someone else to use.

    Answer by Christina807 at 6:45 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • Clearly the argument is ridiculous.

    I use disposable because I work outside the home and couldnt ask the sitter to deal w/ cloth diapers.

    Answer by new_mom808 at 8:33 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • we use cloth and LOVE it
    i could care less about someones argument about how the water use isnt eco-friendly id love to hear how they feel ok putting chemicals on their childs genitals 24 hours a day for 3-4 years of their lives!

    Answer by Riosmommy at 6:23 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • The arguments are ridiculous really. A babysitter can certainly "deal" with a cloth diaper. All they have to do is put it in a bag rather than the trash. It's not that hard! People who use disposables often don't even do what the are supposed to like putting their solid poo into the toilet and bringing their disposables home to throw them away. The only major difference in ease their should be between the too is that one has to be laundered and the other you have to go out and spend money to buy more (including diaper genie refils if that's what you use). It is so easy. If you've never done it you don't know.

    Answer by amileegirl at 9:36 PM on Jul. 4, 2010

  • Harder on the environment? Probably not-do they have just as much impact but in a different way?-possibly
    I guess its all in how you look at it. But really, it does not matter. I used disposable-but I dumped the mess in the toilet before I threw them out-not really for the environment but for the smell. I think they best way to be eco-friendly is to use only what you need regardless of what it is.... I am trying to do better with that and the bonus is that it saves money!

    Answer by soyousay at 9:15 AM on Jul. 5, 2010