Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers: What is the difference?

Disposable vs. Cloth Diapers: What is the difference?

Ah, the classic debate of disposable or cloth diapers. For some, this is a no-brainer. They already know what they are going to do with their baby and that’s great. But for others, there is a lot of learning and understanding that needs to take place in order for them to make a decision. 

Let’s first understand what is meant by these terms and options. We will look at 3 specific options: disposable diapers, biodegradable diapers and cloth diapers. 

Disposable diapers are the ones that most everyone knows about. It’s the Huggies and Pampers diapers. These diapers are often referred to as plastic diapers and “their inner padding is made with super absorbent polymers that contains a chemical called Sodium Polyacrylate.” These diapers are super absorbent and trim fitting. They are convenient and easy to use. However, it is not all good news when it comes to disposable diapers: 

Studies indicate that diapers in landfills take up to 500 years to degrade, creating methane and other toxic gasses in the process, and their manufacture uses volatile chemicals that also end up in the eco-system. In addition, estimates indicate that up to 200,000 trees are lost each year to make disposable diapers for babies in the U.S. alone.

To counter the environmental impact of disposable diapers some companies have created diapers that are marketed as ‘biodegradable’. An important note to keep in mind is even these diapers are not 100% biodegradable, however they are 85-90%. What does this mean? Basically, that they can be composted and do not end up in the landfill, taking 500 years to decompose and emit harsh toxins. 

Then we have cloth diapers. A lot of time people think of their grandparents when they think of cloth diapering. But that is nothing like how it is today. Today, cloth diapers come in so many different varieties. You can get ‘old-school’ ones that you have to fold yourself, or you can get ones that are just like a disposable diaper (where they are all one piece). It is really dependent on you and your baby. Cloth diapers are multi-use diapers that are washed between uses and last many years. 

Now that we all understand the difference between the options available let’s dive into the pros and cons of each option. Why would someone choose one over the other? Well, you will have to read our next post to find out!

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