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Title: Earth Wise: Cloth Diapers
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From: USA
Registered: 11/21/2008

(Date Posted:02/17/2009 08:06 AM)
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Earth Wise: Cloth Diapers

By Liz “Ember” LaPosta

You should see the look on people’s faces when I explain to them that I use cloth diapers. It might just be the same look you have on now while reading this. I’ve had people tell me I’m crazy -- even my mother-in-law tried to talk me out of it. Some think I’m a fanatical tree-hugging dirt-worshiper, and you know what? They’re right! In an effort to encourage others to covert to cloth, here are some facts about both disposable and cloth diapers.

Originally invented in the 50’s, disposables were intended to be a convenience item when traveling or on vacation. They quickly came to replace cloth diapers, and in 1990, each day 18 billion disposables (aprox. 3.6 tons/year) were thrown away in the US. That’s 2.8 million tons of human waste dumped each year in America’s landfills, and 12 years later these numbers are sure to be much larger! Disposables are made from polyethylene resin, which theoretically decomposes in 300-500 years, though these numbers are only an estimate because these diapers have only been around for 30 years In addition to our landfills filling up, the untreated human waste is a health hazard as well! Urine and feces can contain over 100 viruses including live hepatitis from vaccine residues. Although the disposables instruct parents to flush solid wastes down the toilet, most do not. Last but not least, disposables are much more expensive than reusable cloth diapers!

Naturally, reusing cloth diapers is a cheaper and more “Earth Wise” choice. A cloth diaper can withstand 200 washings when using non-chlorine bleach. (Only 90 washes using chlorine bleach, which is not eco-friendly!) Now it’s a lot simpler than the old days of diaper pins. Velcro diaper covers make changing just as easy as disposables and helps to prevent leaks. If there is a diaper service in your area it’s even easier, though typically more expensive than washing diapers yourself. You can wash diapers in hot water using a chlorine bleach alternative such as borax or new peroxide-based bleaches, which eliminates the public health hazards in our landfills while decreasing our use of toxic chemicals. Drying diapers on high heat for 40 minuets will kill any remaining germs.

“Reduce-Reuse-Recycle”-- we have all heard this slogan before, some of us have heard this all of our lives! Reducing is the first, because it is the most important step! By using cloth diapers we will reduce the amount of truly non-biodegradable and possibly toxic trash entering our dwindling landfills, not to mention avoiding the $1 Million price tag to tax payers to build a new landfill. Disposables were never meant to replace cloth; originally they were intending for short-term use when away from home and are still great for this purpose. Even if we use cloth 50% of the time, it is a great improvement to the environment, and cheaper for our wallets!

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