Friday, January 28, 2011

A Matter of Money, Cuteness, or the Environment? I say all three.

When I was expecting William I looked at possibly getting cloth diapers to use on him. I almost spent a few hundred dollars on it, but couldn't bring myself to make the leap. Lately I have been looking at the prospect again. He still has at least a year more of diapering left before he is potty trained so it's would still be economical to make the investment, though not as much if I started when he was born.

So now I that I am looking at it again I am leaning towards an economical basic one size cover from Econobum. Then I want to get a bunch of Indian prefolds and sew them into fitted diapers with elastic and velcro so I don't have to deal with pins etc. I also want to get a diaper sprayer to make easier to clean the yucky stuff off the diaper. (The boys will be told upon threat of death or something that they cannot touch it.)

Today I wanted to do a details price comparison for cloth diapering vs disposables for what I buy. I get Sam's Club Member's Mark diapers and figured that William will go to a size 5 when he is 2 and won't potty train until 3ish. I guesstimated the amount of time a baby is in each size of diaper and took current prices for each item from Sam's Club and Walmart for the Parent's Choice size 1 and 2.

I know it's small so click on the picture to see it blown up.

The table says that for diapering a child in disposables from birth to potty training at 3 results in 6909 diapers costing $1,228. That doesn't include the cost of wipes. To get enough diapers from birth to potty training expecting to do laundry about every 3-4 days will cost $208.70.

If cuteness is a factor you could spend a lot more on covers. There are some way cute ones by Bummis that cost about $13 each but you would have to get some in each size. But even the Econobum covers come with 3 colors of binding to add a little to the cuteness factor. You can also make your own covers out of laminated fabric (PUL), heavy fleece or wool.

A lot of people site environmental reasons to why they choose cloth diapers. They say that a child from birth to potty training will contribute 1 TON of stinky waste to the landfills. That is a lot of stink and diapers can take from 250 to 500 years to decompose (source). To borrow from the same source:
  • Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp.
  • The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.
  • Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.
It sounds like I'm sold right? Well I have a neighbor that uses cloth diapers and she lent me some of her extras that would fit William. I have been trying it out and so far my only complaint is that they are a lot thicker than a disposable diaper. The poopy diaper and washing in the toilet thing is gross, but once I get the sprayer it will be a lot better (I hope). Finally it is really hard to beat the ease of a disposable diaper. I think I am still going to try it though. For William, instead of the almost $400 I will spend on disposables over the next year I can instead spend about $150 to get started with 6 covers, 24 diapers, and a sprayer.


KC said...

I sometimes gag on the diapers I change when the blue moon hits. I'm trying to envision how I will handle washing off a turd filled masterpiece from Will. Kinda makes me want to punch an environmentalist.

Brooke said...

The people I know that do it love it so I'm sure you will too. I don't think I could ever do it though and I don't think I could get Ben on board either. So we will be contributing to the stinky waste. :)

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