Last week Green Prophet introduced Sophie from Tinok Yarok, when she started her weekly column on ‘greening’ your baby. This week Sophie discusses the cloth nappy debate. Thinking about switching to the cloth diapers of yesteryear?
Here’s Sophie’s take:This week I am introducing you all to the cloth nappy debate. This is a big one so it will probably run for a few weeks. Next week I will take you through all the different types of cloth nappies available and will also talk about doing without; then there’s all those so called accessories, so stick around and let’s hear what you think too!
For today’s Eco-Mum, options are happily increasing all the time and nobody can say that it is like days gone by. Cloth nappies come in all shapes and sizes allowing mum and baby to find the best and comfiest option possible. So what’s all the fuss about? The average baby uses at least 5,000 disposables from birth to potty; this is a staggering number when you think how many babies in Israel alone are using them. All these nappies end up in landfill sites taking hundreds of years to break down, if at all.
Sadly this is not the end of the story– the super-absorbent gels continue absorbing and sucking up the groundwater that would usually help in the decomposition of other waste, and the kaki and pee pee may pose a health hazard. Did you know that even with disposable nappies you are supposed to throw the kaki into the toilet! And yes that is still not all the damage.
The manufacturing process of all these nappies requires huge amounts of natural resources such as oil for the plastic and wood for pulp, add in all the chemicals, bleaches, gels & glue and the environmental cost for your nappy becomes enormous.
So why use them? Nobody will argue that they do make life simpler but today’s cloth nappies are just so easy to use there really is no excuse any more; and if you really do need that disposable there are eco-disposables available that take around 100 days to biodegrade.
So what about all that electricity and water, especially in a water tight country like Israel? Well, today’s washing machines are becoming more and more efficient with water usage (you can also set up a water recycling system where grey goes to black, i.e. the to flush the toilet) and it is better to use your washing machine at night when the tariff is lower and the strain on the grid is less.
Environmental agencies have done the math over and over again. It is a tight race but cloth nappies are still in the lead as the healthiest, greenest system for your baby.
See also Nursery Madness.