Why Choose Cloth Diapers?

Choosing how you are going to diaper your child is yet another thing to consider as a parent. The fact that you are considering cloth means that you are informed and as a parent that is the best thing to be. You need to be aware of where your baby products come from, where they go, how they are made and any dangers they may pose. Below we have tried to outline some of the major points of how cloth compares to using disposables.

These facts are a little disturbing and are a few of the main reasons for opening EcoTykes Cloth Diaper Service. We understand that there will always be the parents who wish to clean their child's diapers themselves, just as there will always be those who choose to use disposables, and thats fine with us. Our hopes are to help convert those parents who were conscientious enough to think about and look into the benefits of cloth, but decided against it because of the cleaning or 'yuck' factor. Every baby bottom converted to cloth is less garbage and human waste that ends up in our landfills and thats important to us, important for our planet and generations to come. EcoTykes is here to offer some convenience in cloth diapering and can take care of the dirty work for you. So, if we can help, give us a call or email if you have any questions. (865)356-5334 or email us at info@ecotykes.net

Environment

Disposable diapers are one of the largest sources of solid waste in the world! There are billions of disposable diapers used each year and contribute to millions of tons of waste to landfills. Also, because they are not really biodegradable, disposable diapers can take hundreds of years to decompose. That means just about every disposable diaper ever made and used is still in a landfill somewhere and will be for a long time to come!

Another issue is the amount of human waste that is added to our landfills from disposable diapers. Even though the packaging instructs to rinse or at the very least shake out any solid feces, no one really does this. Raw sewage has to be treated and is not meant to be in our landfills because it can seep into our groundwater and/or cause diseases to spread (through groundwater or airborne). Human waste is disposed of properly with the use of cloth diapers and is not being thrown in a landfill somewhere. Disposable diapers also use many, many more raw materials while being produced than it takes to grow cotton and sew a cloth diaper. In fact, over 300 lbs. of wood are used (wood pulp is used inside to make the diapers absorbent) to produce enough disposable diapers for one baby each year!1

Cloth diapers prevail here once again because they are completely reusable and are not added to the landfills until they are unusable. It is estimated that each cloth diaper will get anywhere from 50 to 250 uses before they are used as rags (they are great for cleaning after diaper use). EcoTykes even passes on our diapers to mechanics, car washes, maid services, etc. once we can no longer use them for our customers. Using cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers is the ultimate in reuse and recycling!

 

Baby's Health / Comfort

Unfortunately, disposable diapers are made with all kinds of chemicals and chemical bi-products even though they appear to be sanitary and sterilized. A single disposable diaper contains up to 60 different chemicals! Of these are two that you may have heard of: Dioxin and Sodium Polyacrylate.

Dioxin is an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process and has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Green Peace as a carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemical. Dioxin has also been linked with birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases. It has banned in most countries, but NOT in the United States. Infertility, hormonal disorders or imbalances, cancer, and stunted immune systems can also be caused by exposure to Dioxin.1

Sodium Polyacrylate is commonly referred to as SAP, super absorbent polymer. It is the stuff that turns to gel when wet and pulls the moisture away, making the baby feel dry. This is the chemical that makes an overly wet diaper look so bulky because SAP can hold 200 to 300 times its weight! Ladies might be familiar with SAP because it is the same chemical that was banned from tampons in the 1980's due to causing Toxic Shock Syndrome. However, it is still used to improve absorbency in children's diapers and its use is promoted because it prompts fewer changes. This creates a chain reaction because fewer changes can prompt a higher rate of diaper rash.

In addition to all the different chemicals used in disposable diapers, they also contain compounds, perfumes, dyes, glues, etc. all kept closest to your baby's most sensitive areas. These chemicals and other additives have been proven to cause diaper rash, allergies, asthma, and even infertility in males. Babies in disposable diapers are exposed to these chemicals up to 24 hours a day. Cloth diapers have nothing but 100% cotton, and are obviously the safer and more comfortable choice to use for your baby.

The plastic that encloses disposable diapers does not allow for your baby's skin to breathe, (it is your body's largest organ). Because air cannot reach your baby's skin, it gets very hot and can cause bacteria/yeast growth. The next step is usually what we all know as diaper rash. Diaper rash is also caused by leaving a baby in a diaper for longer than needed, also causing ammonia and bacteria buildup. Cloth diapering significantly reduces diaper rash and the need for all those creams because cloth breathes and air can get to your baby's skin as well as more frequent changes. It is estimated that 78% of today's babies and toddlers have diaper rash. Interestingly enough, in the 50's, prior to the arrival of disposable diapers, that number was estimated to be about 7%! 2

Archives of Disease in Childhood, published in May of 2000, shows that the scrotal temperature in increased in little boys wearing disposable diapers. Prolonged use of a disposable diaper can blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis, also known as infertility.

Cloth diapers are safer on many levels and are more comfortable as well. They do not promote the unhealthy side effects of disposable diapers, nor hold harmful chemicals next to your baby's skin and sensitive areas. Cloth diapers breathe much better than disposable diapers. This can significantly reduce the health risks of diaper rash, asthma, allergies, as well as more serious issues such as infertility, hormonal disorders, and cancer. Not to mention that cloth is simply more comfortable to wear than disposable diapers!

 

Cost

Cloth diapers in general are more economical than disposable diapers mainly because they can be reused so many times. The cost of our diaper service may be about average to (less depending on the brand) the cost of disposable diapers, but you are getting the peace of mind that your baby is not exposed to all those chemicals and the cloth diapers are the cleanest they can be with less water usage per diaper. We also make sure we use all natural, eco-friendly products with no harsh chemicals in the washing process. The best part is that you can let us take care of the dirty work while you spend more time with your family!

You will also save money on diaper rash creams because a rash is much less likely to occur with cloth diapers. The biggest difference in cost will be felt when your child finally becomes potty trained. Typically, children using cloth diapers potty train up to a full year sooner than with disposable diapers so that is a huge savings!

For more detailed information, check out our Resources/Links page.


[1] Characterization of Municipal Solid Waste in the United States: 1990 update. (1990). U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA 530 SW-90-042. Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office
[2] Lyman, F. (1990) "Diaper Hype" Garbage: the Practical Journal for the Environment, 2 (1), 36-40.