Are Disposable Diapers Better for the Environment Than Cloth?
Are Disposable Diapers better for the Environment than Cloth?
There are current debates as to whether using disposable diapers conforms to principles of environmental protection and the motives of green movements initiatives. Currently, disposable diapers have gained extensive use among families according to Natural Baby Company LLC. (1). The amount of resources required to manufacture disposable diapers is higher than that of cloth diapers. The costs include that of water and energy that are environmental resources. Cloth diapers demand the use of machines to wash that also use energy resources. Disposable diapers contribute to environmental challenges of solid waste pollution compared to cloth diapers. While proponents of disposable diapers attribute their use to a clean environment, critics support continued use of cloth diapers. Cloth diapers, however, are arguably better for the environment than disposable diapers.
From birth to toilet training, babies have the tendency of going through an average of 8,000 diaper changes. According to the environmental practitioners and experts, disposable diaper takes approximately 500 years to decompose in a landfill. Clothes and disposable diapers have extensive implications for the environment. Natural resources are invaluable during the production and manufacturing of diapers. In addition, manufacturing both cloth and disposable diapers requires the substantial amount of water and energy. Disposable diapers use the large amount of wood pulp and plastics from petroleum products. Moreover, cleaning cloth diapers demands additional energy and water. For instance, in the course of washing cloth diapers at home, it is estimated to take the same volume of water to flush the toilet six or seven times on a daily basis. Consequently, diaper services use high energy level and water efficient technologies in addressing the needs and expectations of the target audiences (Thaman 16).
Considering the extent of environmental pollution, both disposable and cloth diapers have the potentiality of causing harm to the environment. The critical concern about disposable diapers is disposal. Materials used in the manufacture of disposable diapers are non-biodegrade. They either take too long to biodegrade or remain in their original forms, hence causing soil pollution. For instance, materials such as paper, plastic, absorptive gel and sodium polyacrylate have remained in landfills for generations. It is recommendable that the users should be aware of the biodegradable disposable diapers under the influence of the cornstarch to the plastic products or materials. The influence of cornstarch is evident in the difficulties to recycle the plastic materials or products. This is vital in the generation of the biggest environmental plus for the cloth diapers, which is recyclability or reuse. Ability to recycle the cloth diapers lowers their environmental implication per diaper. Essential environmental concern for the cloth diapers is the usage of a cotton crop, which use more pesticides in comparison to other crops. In most cases, farmers have the tendency of using engineered cottonseeds, which might affect the ecosystem in diverse ways.
Notably, wastewater from washing of the cloth diapers might generate environmental harm. On the other hand, diaper services, as well as families generally exploit biodegradable detergent, thus the utilisation of benign (Steele 91). Similarly, manufacturing of diapers, regardless of the type, generates dioxin in wastewater under the chlorine bleaching of wood pulp and cotton materials. Dioxin persists for numerous years and has environmental implications. Individuals experience the exposure to dioxin under the influence of food under environmental pollution contamination (Pendry, Avril and Carole 14). Besides dioxin, wastewater from the production of the plastics, wood pulp and paper when manufacturing diapers contain solvents and additional heavy metals. Conclusively, various households utilise disposable diapers for convenience, thus the rapid reduction in the number of diaper services. Cloth diapers, however, have least implications on the environment.
Pendry, Louise F., Avril J. Mewse, and Carole B. Burgoyne. “Environmentally friendly parenting: are cloth nappies a step too far?” Young Consumers 13.1 (2012): 5-19.
Steele, Russell W. “Diaper care for happier and healthier babies.” Clinical paediatrics (2014): 0009922814540374.
Thaman, Lauren A., and Lawrence F. Eichenfield. “Diapering Habits: A Global Perspective.” Paediatric Dermatology 31.s1 (2014): 15-18. Print.
Natural Baby Company, LLC. Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers. 2015. Web. Accessed July 8, 2205,
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