Another blog I read called cloth diapering an “accidental passion” and I’m beginning to understand why. When I began thinking about Cloth Diapering, I had the same picture in my mind as everyone else: cloth, pins, plastic pants, and a huge mess. I’m sure that’s what everyone picture when I tell them that we’re going to be cloth diapering our little Elliot.
But, Cloth Diapers have come a very long way in the past 15 years or so.. So, I’m going to explain WHY we choose cloth diapers in part 1. Part 2 will be about the type of diapers we’re using.
WHY WE MADE THIS DECISION:
1) The Economical Impact:
According to the Real Diaper Association (RDS) over 18 billion disposable diapers were bought in 1998 in the US alone. Based on their calculations: that number is up to 27 Billion disposables bought and used in 2010.
If you read the directions on disposable diapers, they state that all fecal matter should be disposed of in the toilet before the diapers are disposed of, but we all know that no parents really do that. What most parents don’t realize about their disposables is that 92% (according to RDS) of all disposables end up in landfills. And it is estimated that it takes a disposable diaper 200-250 years to decompose!
Compare that to Cloth Diapers: on average a cloth diaper is used 50 to 200 times before it is recycled into another product, such as a rag, or inside layer of a burp cloth. A friend of mine’s husband reuses her old diapers as cloths in his car shop.
2) The Health Impact:
Disposable diapers can contain traces of Dioxin, an “extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process.” It is listed by the EPA as the most dangerous of all cancer-linked chemicals, and in most countries, it is banned! but not in the states.
Disposables also contain Tributyl-tin: a toxin known to cause hormonal problems, as well as Sodium Polyacrylate: a substance that used to be used in tampons until it was linked to causing TSS.
These chemicals are part of the reason diaper rash is so common. In the 40’s, when CDing was the choice of most parents, cloth diapering was almost unheard of.
3) The Wallet Impact:
Again, according to the RDS, the average child uses an estimated 6000 diapers in the first two years of their life before they potty train. Thats a cost of about $3000 per child, assuming they use off brand diapers, and potty train before they turn two. That breaks down to about $70 a week, or $280 a month on diapers. Now, buying in bulk will save some of that, which is why the estimated cost per child is $3000 rather than $3,600.
There is the option of a cloth diapering service. This service will provide your diapers, pick up your diapers once a week, wash them, and return them to you in the same day. The cost of most services is an average of $17 per week, or $68 per month. Which adds up to about $820 a year. To me, the cost of a service doesn’t save me enough, which is why we’re washing them ourselves.
The average cost of a Cloth Diaper stash will be about $500-$750 upfront. Thats if we purchase enough to only do laundry once every two or three days. If we wash them ourselves, our water bill can be expected to increase an average of $35 per year, which breaks down to about $3 per water bill. That also adds an average of $24 dollars to a family’s electric bill, which breaks down to $2 per bill. (So an extra $5 per month) In All, the “Stash” and cost of washing add up to a total of $900 for two years. It’s also been proven that cloth diapered children potty train an average of 4 months sooner, so if we potty train early, that’s more money saved.
Also keep in mind, CDs can be reused per child. So if we have three children, rather than spending $9000 on disposables, we’ll spend an average of $1,100 to CD three children.
4) The Impact of being a Woman:
Personally, I’ve NEVER been able to wear pads. I’ve used tampons since the first time I got my period. Think about how uncomfortable it is to wear a Maxi Pad, then imagine wearing one 24/7 for two years. Also, think about the chemicals that you’ll be unclose and personal with for all that time!
5) The Fashion Impact:
And the reason that sold me immediately. They’re so darn cute!!
I’ll post part two in a few days, and talk about the different kinds of CDs we’re using. =)