Cloth vs. “Disposables”

There is comfort in knowing your child can make a difference on this planet, starting with the day it is born! As our population continues to grow, the mentality of a throwaway society needs to slow down to save the Earth’s precious resources. Reduce your child’s carbon footprint by using cloth diapers from Baby Diaper Service.

Short history of the evolution diapers and politics of cloth vs. disposables

Cloth diapers were the standard until the 1961 when single use or disposable diapers were introduced. Disposable diapers ruled the market until the late 1990’s, when environmental concerns piqued the interest of eco-conscious families.

Almost around the same time, the cloth diaper industry saw a major hit in favorability when lifecycle analysis reports discredited the environmental benefits of cloth diapers, in favor of disposable diapers. What the general public did not know was that these same studies were funded by big-named disposable diaper manufacturers, who’s bottom-line would benefit from such preferable results. Lifecycle analysis reports funded by the cloth diaper industry published results in favor of cloth diapers. More publicity was put towards the results of the reports funded by the big-named disposable diaper manufacturers, with deeper marketing budgets.

According to Franklin Associates Ltd (reported for big-named diaper company), “If the area has landfill problems, it’s best to use commercially laundered cloth diapers. If in a drought, it’s best to use disposable diapers.” Best Food Forward states diaper service has the least relative environmental impact of land required for every baby each year from manufacturing to disposal, as compared to home laundering and disposables. It is presumable that the environment will continue to be of a concern for families as water and/or landfill space becomes limited.

Disposables – the truth about biodegradable and compostable diapers

It will take 500 years for a disposable diaper to biodegrade in a landfill. That means that no disposable diaper, since first manufactured in 1961 has ever dissolved. At a rate of 8,000 diapers per child in its diapering years, that is 18 billion diapers in an American landfill a year!

Watch this alarming study done by National Geographic on the impact disposable diaper use has on the Environment, our wallets and our resources.

There are currently no composting facilities in the Seattle area for disposable diapers. Therefore, although there are claims of compostable or biodegradable disposables, if these are being sent to a landfill they will not biodegrade.

Disposables are the 3rd largest consumer item in a landfill. Baby Diaper Service and its customers divert 1.7 million pounds of disposable diapers from the landfill each year and saves Seattle approximately $66 million a year in trash shipment costs (based on 2007 shipping price to Arlington, Oregon.)

Environmental Impact of disposables, diaper service and home laundering

Diaper Service                          Home Laundered                                  Disposable


5,249 ft.                                        7,545 ft.                                                    14,107 ft.

Source: Best Food Forward

Footprinting is a method of assessing environmental impact by measuring it in terms of land use. It looks at the whole lifecycle of a product from its production, through its use to its disposal.

Referred Resources

In her book Cynthia Crossen discusses…”how the demise of the cloth-diaper industry was influenced by questionable statistics published by Procter & Gamble – the leading supplier of disposable diapers.”

What impact do you have on the world around you? More than you might think, according to this humorous and fascinating National Geographic program exploring the many ways in which each person has a substantial effect on their environment and on other people. How many words will you speak? How much waste will you produce? How many people will you know? Get a sense of the staggering numbers with this intriguing documentary.