Are cloth diapers really better for the environment? Learn more about sustainable diapers myths and facts at The Eco Chic blog!

Hi and Welcome to The Eco Chic blog – if you are a new reader I hope to convince you that cloth diapers REALLY are better for the environment.  Not only will I convince you that they are better for the environment; I will also remind you that they are better for your baby AND better for your wallet! 

If you are a regular reader I am working with the Real Diaper Association (RDA) and other cloth diapering bloggers to help reveal the TRUTH and LIES behind recent Pamper’s controversy.  You can help too – visit the RDA to find out more.

Are you pregnant?  Do you have a baby in diapers?  If so, you might have heard that Pamper’s disposable diapers are currently under investigation by the CPSC.  Why?  Pamper’s newest technology – Dry Max – has been accused of causing severe chemical burns and diaper rashes in numerous cases.  To make it worse – Pamper’s has *supposedly* pulled their Dry Max off the shelf – however; rumor has it that they have just repackaged those diapers into the old boxes.  If you take nothing else from this article PLEASE use caution when purchasing or using Pamper’s diapers – if your baby starts getting a diaper rash STOP using those diapers IMMEDIATELY! 

Pamper’s in their defense has issued a Myth’s vs Facts about their diapers (and disposable diapers in general).  I would like to tell you my TRUTH about disposable diapers vs cloth diapers – I hope that in the end you will consider using cloth diapers just like my family has.  It’s really just as simple to use cloth diapers as it is to use disposable diapers.

Pamper’s MYTH: Cloth diapers are better for my baby. 
MY FACT:  Why YES, Pamper’s they are better for my baby!  Of course you are trying to spread lies by telling us that this is not true!  The research that is available is skewed – look at who paid for the research to be conducted and WHEN it was actually conducted.  My personal story – my first son ALWAYS had a diaper rash when he was in disposables but I didn’t know that cloth diapers were this easy.  My daughter (and all babies) still gets minimal diaper rashes but I now know the keys to keeping diaper rash at bay.  You can ready my post on diaper rash HERE.  If my daughter develops a rash now (which is rare compared to my son) it is minimal and can be cured within a day or two.  The only reason that disposable diapers can keep your baby drier than cloth is because of the toxic chemicals that absorb the moisture – I don’t want my baby to be swaddled in the same toxic chemicals that were banned from tampons – just change your babies diaper and they will remain dry. 

Pamper’s MYTH:  Cloth diapers are better for the environment.
MY FACT:  **Did you know that I am an environmental scientist? No – I don’t research this topic for my job but I do know a LOT about the impact we all leave on the environment by our decisions.**  Pamper’s CLAIMS that the life-cycle assessment from the UK study doesn’t show any difference between disposable diapers and cloth diapers – I simply CANNOT understand how they can make this claim and feel like they are telling the truth.  Disposable diapers all end up in landfills (or thrown out on the side of the road, on the beach, in the ocean, or incinerated) where they will SIT for over 500 years.  No one knows for sure how long it takes for a disposable diaper takes to breakdown but I don’t want my great-great-grandchildren to have to clean up disposable diapers from my daughter!  My daughter is 16 months at the time of this post – we have about 35 cloth diapers that we have accumulated.  When my daughter is potty trained we will either donate or sell those cloth diapers to another family to use again and again.  If you start using cloth diapers with your first child you won’t need to purchase diapers for the rest of your children.  Yes – cloth diapers can wear out after time but most can be repaired with little effort.  And if you are like my mother – you can give your diapers another life by using them to clean around the house.  My mom used my cloth diapers to dust with.  I even ended up with a few of them to use on my baby dolls when I was a child.  Even if you add in the water and electricity used in laundering our cloth diapers you have to subtract 1) manufacturing costs of the 4,000-5,000 disposable diapers that a baby uses in the first 2 years of life, 2) the natural resources used in manufacturing those same 4,000-5.000 disposable diapers, 3) transportation from the manufacturer – to the warehouse – to the store – to your home (and I’m probably skipping a few trips between retailer warehouses) for those same 4,000-5,000 disposable diapers, 4) transportation from your house to the landfill for those same 4,000-5,000 disposable diapers, 5) the natural resources lost to dispose of those 4,000-5,000 disposable diapers (afterall since most end up in landfills – land is NOT a renewable resource), 6) you get the picture don’t you!  My 35 (+/-) diapers CANNOT create as much damage on the environment as 4,000-5,000 disposable diapers.  Unless you practice elimination communication (diaper free baby) diapering your baby is going to create some environmental impact – you decide for yourself which is worse – I choose cloth diapers so that our families environmental impact can be lessened and I honestly believe that as MY TRUTH!

Pamper’s MYTH: Disposable diapers  are harmful to the environment.
MY FACT:  Didn’t I just talk about this?  This is Pamper’s clever way to make disposable diapers look good.  While the disposable diapers that are around today (and in the future) will continue to use less natural resources by making the diapers thinner and thinner – or biodegradable – or whatever new technology they can come up with…can you honestly convince yourself that allowing 4,000-5,000 disposable diapers (per child) rot in the ground for 500+ years is NOT harmful to the environment?  Can you?  You have the ability to choose reusable and sustainable cloth diapers that are much better for the environment than disposables – make the right choice! 

Did you notice that Pamper’s didn’t even attempt to touch the cost analysis of cloth diapers vs disposable diapers?  In today’s tight economy cloth diapers are the clear winner in saving parents thousands of dollars in diapering their babies.  The exact cost varies depending on the type of cloth diaper you choose (prefold – pocket – all-in-one – etc) and the number of children you have (or the number of children each diaper is used on).  While my husband was hesitant to use cloth diapers in the early days he is more than happy to put extra money into our savings account each month that we would otherwise be spending on disposable diapers.  Where do you want to put your money each month – your savings account or into the deep pockets of the disposable diapering companies?

Do you want to learn more?
1) Read my old posts about cloth diapering to learn more about our journey.

2) Visit the Real Diaper Association.

3) Find other cloth diapering bloggers like myself.  Some of my favorites include Kim at Dirty Diaper Laundry and Emi at The Cloth Diaper Report

4) Visit the blogs of cloth diaper manufacturers and retailers like Kelly’s Closet – The Cloth Diaper Whisperer

5) Still have questions? Email, Tweet or Facebook me – I’ll be happy to help!  

This post is part of the Real Diaper Facts carnival hosted by Real Diaper Events, the official blog of the Real Diaper Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to cloth diaper education. Participants were asked to write about diaper lies and real diaper facts. See the list at the bottom of this post to read the rest of the carnival entries.

Looking for cloth diapering resources and tips? Visit my cloth diapering archives, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest.
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  1. says

    Calley – I loved this: “Where do you want to put your money each month – your savings account or into the deep pockets of the disposable diapering companies?” and your description of the manufacture and distribution of disposables was fantastic! thanks.

  2. says

    Calley – I loved this: “Where do you want to put your money each month u2013 your savings account or into the deep pockets of the disposable diapering companies?” and your description of the manufacture and distribution of disposables was fantastic! thanks.

  3. says

    Thanks for sharing this post! I had no idea that pampers used a toxic chemical to absorb the liquid. I was debating weather to use disposable or cloth diapers but after reading this, I will using cloth for sure. I will also go to the RDA and get more info to help if I can. Thank you Calley for letting us know about the lies that pampers are telling.
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