Disposable or Not disposable, that is here the question (diapers)

Lately, a lot of my friends became parents. Of course this is something we have to rather celebrate than blog about… If there wasn’t this issue of the disposable-diaper-fraction vs. the cloth diapers lovers. I couldn’t resist thinking about it.

As you all know, I am a big fan of sustainable development. However, the problem always is that an approach towards a green future is not always that straight forward, frankly speaking one has to understand the risks and downfalls as we have discussed in relation to solar energy, see again. For diapers, it is actually the same story as we would naturally assume that cloth diapers, since they are reusable, are the more “green solution”. The argumentations for cloth diapers at a glance

  • child gets dry faster
  • cheaper by up to $1000 per child
  • much less waste

Fair enough. Of course it is a huge difference if you are using 40 cloth diapers in total or a couple of thousand (!) disposable ones. But this calculation does not reflect the actual, let’s say “maintenance” costs of such diapers. They are:

  • you have to clean them, even iron sometimes…
  • before cleaning you have to store them in a bucket filled with water (you don’t want to know what happens otherwise)

These maintenance costs are not to be underestimated. Especially when we speak of a sustainable development. For me, the main question here is if these costs are not way more than in an effective industrial fabrication of disposable diapers. I just don’t know and any calculation we make now is pointless: who can calculate the true costs of energy? Certainly, I cannot.

Nevertheless, there is one argument that turns this whole debate around: the time until the disposable ones are gone. Long story short: several hundred years. Yep, hands down, discussion over, cloth diapers are the way to go for a green future since I am sure the demand for space and the ongoing pollution by garbage dumps are just way more environmental damage than cloth diapers (e.g. found here) can cause. Nevertheless, we always have to think of the pros and cons of “obvious” argumentations and I hope this blog helped you a little if you need a help to decide if cloth or disposable diapers are the way to go for you.


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