Thursday, April 16, 2009

Environmental Impact of Disposable Diapers

  • Most are bleached which produces dioxin, a highly toxic byproduct of bleaching.
  • Every year, around 82,000 pounds of plastic and 250,000 trees are used to make disposable diapers for American babies. (FYI, plastic is made from petroleum)
  • Emissions from the plastics and fragrances in disposables are linked to respiratory problems and symptoms of asthma.
  • Contain sodium polyacrylate crystals which have been linked to toxic shock syndrome, allergic reactions and is very harmful and potentially lethal to pets.
  • According to the EPA, some dyes and dioxin are known to cause damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, and liver.
  • Untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is a possible danger to contaminating ground water.

There is much debate regarding cloth diapering and if it is actually more eco-friendly than disposables. The thought here is that the amount of water and energy used to wash cloth diapers negates their benefits. I don't know, I think using a little more energy to wash a cloth diaper is better than all the oil and chemicals that get used to make disposables. Which will then end up in landfills for years upon years. Even those that are biodegradable can't really decompose in a landfill since there is a lack of oxygen. To make washing diapers more eco-friendly, use an energy star, high efficiency washer when possible. They use a lot less water and energy. Line dry you diapers instead of using the clothes dryer (a major energy hog). And do not use chlorine bleach. Instead opt for a chlorine-free bleach like ones made by Seventh Generation and Ecover.

What do you think? Which is better?


  1. I use both. I agree that washing and reusing seems to be less harmful then leaving disposables in a landfill.

    I hope you don't mind - but if your readers are interested in trying I do have 2 contests for cloth diapers at and a lot more coming... the contests are for softbums and kissaluvs. You can find the links in the sidebar area.

    Happy Buzzing!

  2. Using cloth, and using it responsibly, has be to better than introducing more waste!
    You can follow a sensible wash routine and further reduce impact! You mentioned not using the drier, but you can also use packagless, eco-friendly detergents or make your own.
    Reselling and donating your diapers when you have finished with them also helps reduce waste and introduce more parents to the wonderful world of cloth diapering!

  3. To be honest. I really struggle with this one. I would love to use cloth but it is not practical for my work/life/mommy balance. Maybe a good solution for me would be the G Diapers:

  4. I have heard great things about GDiapers and would like to invest in some type of cloth diaper... I just haven't. Truth is, disposables are much less work, and with more than one child in diapers, time is money. But I won't lie, I do feel guilty. Just not guilty enough to do anything about... yet.

  5. I use 2 disposables a day, nap and bed. She pees too much, I can't get combo for anything more than 3 hours. I hate the washing part but I know I'm doing my part!


Thank you for visiting my blog! I love comments, so please say hello and tell me what is on your mind.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...