The Costs and Benefits of Disposable VS. Reusable Diapers
Robin @ Kids Matter
Many parents struggle with the decision of whether to use disposable or reusable diapers. Disposable diapers are easier to use both at home and in child care centers. However, it is better for the environment and a more cost saving option to use reusable/cloth ones. Paying for disposable diapers has been found to be one of the top causes of stress for low income parents and is a stressor for parents above the poverty line also.
Economics: The costs
Babycenter.com has a cost calculator to show how much your baby will cost. (http://www.babycenter.com/baby-cost-calculator ) It estimates one month of disposable diapers to cost $72 vs. $19 for cloth diapers that you wash and reuse. That is a savings of $636 per year by using cloth diapers. Depending on the cost of diapers in your area, and the age of your baby, the cost of disposable diapers may be much higher. Reusable diapers do require an initial investment in the original purchase of these diapers, but that money is quickly regained in savings. Instead of having people bring boxes of disposable diapers to baby showers, they could each bring a pack of reusable ones to help offset this cost.
Carbon footprints: The green side
Even the most environmentally friendly disposable diaper leaves a bigger carbon footprint than cloth diapers. The most biodegradable ones still have a portion of material that can’t decompose completely. Cloth diapers are not only reusable, but also are more biodegradable when they are disposed. According to the Real Diaper Association, disposable diapers are the third most common consumer product found in landfills today, and may take up to 500 years to decompose. (http://www.realdiaperassociation.org )
Maintenance: The work
Cloth diapers are more work. They need to be washed, folded, and sometimes stuffed with a liner. Picking up a new package at the store and going to the trash can to throw a used disposable one away, is much easier. Also, using cloth diapers when traveling can also be troublesome because of having to carry the soiled diapers with you and the availability of laundry facilities may be limited. Carrying plastic bags to wrap dirty ones in is fairly easy, but another option is to use disposable ones at times such as these. Many childcare centers these days will work with you to allow you to use reusable diapers during the time your child is there. The important thing here is to provide them with an easy and hygienic plan for how to store the soiled ones until you pick your child up.If you are interested in finding out more about using reusable diapers, the website for the Real Diaper Association has a user’s guide with tips to help you along the way.