Updated March 1, 2022
Babies generate more than 2,000 dirty diapers in just their first year. So, for parents the decision about what kind of diapers they will use —cloth or disposable — will have a big impact on their finances, the health of their baby, and the environment.
Why use cloth diapers?
There are many good reasons to use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. If you wash your baby’s diapers at home, cloth diapers will cost about $1,000 less than disposables over three years. Cloth diapers are also more breathable and don’t contain harsh chemicals, making them more comfortable for baby and less likely to cause diaper rash and other issues.
Cloth diapers are also much more environmentally friendly. Disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials than cloth diapers. Producing a one year supply of disposable diapers for one baby requires more than 300 pounds of wood, 20 pounds of chlorine, and 50 pounds of petroleum. Disposable diapers also generate 60 times more solid waste. Over 90 percent of disposable diapers end up in landfills, where they make up 4 percent of all solid waste. Estimates are that it takes 250 to 500 years for these diapers to degrade in a landfill.
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