I’ve read the argument that cloth diapers are just as bad for the environment as disposable, but I have to disagree.  Articles I’ve read that compare the environmental impact of cloth vs. disposable diapers often only consider the fact that disposable diapers end up in our landfills.  They say that the use of water and electricty to wash cloth diapers makes them just as bad for the environment as throwing away disposables.  But disposable diapers’ environmental impact doesn’t start when they’re thrown away.  The manufacturing and distribution of disposable diapers has a significant impact on the environment.  Cloth diapers are manufactured once, then shipped to the consumer once.  These diapers can then be used for multiple children.  I bought about half over Paulie’s cloth diaper stash secondhand, so another child has already benefited from them.  I plan to save Paulie’s diapers to use for his future sibling, and when my kids are done with the diapers, I’ll pass them on to someone else.  I’ll probably end up using 18-24 size small Fuzzi Bunz diapers, and about the same number of diapers in size medium.  So all in all, no more than 48 diapers will have to be manufactured for my children.  Compare that to the amount of disposable diapers that other children go through in just one week!

Yes, washing cloth diapers does use energy.  But so does the manufacture of disposable diapers.  And remember, diapers have to be shipped from their manufacturers to stores, and then disposable diapers also have to be transported to the landfills.  Fossil fuels, anyone?

There are a number of things that you can do to make cloth diaper use more convenient.  First of all, you don’t have to use cloth diapers 100% of the time.  I’ll be purchasing Tushies gel-free disposable diapers to use when we go out of town.  Even if you have to send disposables to day care, you can still use cloth diapers at night.  Flushable diaper liners can also make cloth diapers somewhat more convenient.  Kushies, Imse Vimse, Real Nappies, and other companies offer diaper liners that can be removed from the diaper and flushed, along with the  mess that they contain.  I’ll be purchasing Biosoft flushable liners to use with Paulie once he starts eating solids.  They seem to be the softest liners available.

I’ll also be using cloth wipes for Paulie, when we’re at home.  Most of the time I’ll probably just use them with warm water, but I’m going to try out Bumgenius’s Bottom Cleaner.  I’ll wash the wipes along with the cloth diapers.  Using cloth wipes doesn’t mean giving up your diaper warmer– Prince Lionheart offers a diaper warmer made especially for cloth wipes.

Happy diapering!