Monday, January 22, 2007

Big Brother... should be wearing cloth diapers!

Current mood: determined

So I don't know if its my over active imagination which loves to indulge conspiracy theorys... or if this is something anyone else notices.. but the "sponsors ads" which pop up on myspace on my homepage now seem incredibly tailored to what could be seen as my personal interests... spirituality, natural and hippie shit, and parenting stuff... It kinda makes me wanna uncheck all the checked facts on my profile... "proud parent, christian other... etc"... I'm finding it all a bit creepy... *sigh* but then again I guess its not all that far out that big bro could very well be watching us all....

speaking of hippie natural shit... my newest and greatest scheme ( because of course everyone knows that I've always got my latest and greatest idea which I become completely obsessed with.. until the next GREAT idea ;))... is *DRUM ROLL........................* DIAPERS!!!!!!! maybe this mom thing is starting to somehow seep into my brain but lately I have developed this facination with all things cloth diaper related... (If any of you doubt how deep this obsession has run... ask my family how much time I've spent on ebay and browsing the web the past week or two searching for diapers, wool soakers, knitting patterns, handsewn covers and so cute crochet wraps (with adorable witte bees buzzing around on the bum!!! lol) ANyways.. on to the relevant part before my boy wakes up and I am forced to cut this short by his pleas for a feeding and some cuddling (not that I mind!), My Idea: I want to make and sell diapers... many many different diapers... some from knitting.. some from organic and some from cheap yarn... some plain some in interesting and funky color schemes.. but mostly I want to scour thrift shops and garage sales (and yes even my own closet and attic) for lonely and abandoned sweaters, T shirts, and flannel shirts that are no longer living in happiness.... And breathe some new life into them.. give them a reason to live again... an adorable little baby butt and all its poopy and glory :) (translated for those of you without a flair for the dramatics: I want to recycle old clothes to make new diapers.) I was attempting to start a business revolving around all sorts of natural and organic baby and maternity products... but so far it has not shown much potential for profit... rather it is draining my funds rapidly... and time is of the essence this year.. I NEED to have a solid business up and running... or at least on the upswing by this time next year.... I NEED it... I cannot bear the thought of having to go back to slinging espresso or selling cell phones 40 to 48 hours a week and paying someone else a fortune to have the pleasure of raising MY beautiful baby... I want to be able to be around to see all of Lennon's growing up... and I really would love to homeschool him... I need to find the way I'm going to support my new family for our future.. and so I can stop mooching off my poor parents asap!! So... hopefully this diaper thing will be my ticket to freedom (or at least will keep me from slavery a bit longer...) and hopefully it is something that will still seem realistic and doable once the initial euphoria and opptimisim, that comes from my grand ideas, wears off.... time will tell. wish me luck.. and if any of you need some diapers... or if anyone wants to donate some wool sweaters or flannel shirts..... you know where to find me!!!! Read on for some VERY interesting diaper facts..

Why choose cloth diapers? There are so many reasons. Cloth diapers are soft against your baby's skin. Cloth diapers are also free of the many chemicals contained in disposable diapers. Our common sense tells us that cloth diapers are the ultimate in recycling because they are used again and again, not entering a landfill until they are nothing but rags. Of course, some people want more than this common sense approach--they want facts. Here are a few well-documented facts to help inform your choice.


Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..

Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.

Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbancy tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.


In 1988, over 18 billion diapers were sold and consumed in the United States that year.4 Based on our calculations (listed below under "Cost: National Costs"), we estimate that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S.

The instructions on a disposable diaper package advice that all fecal matter should be deposited in the toilet before discarding, yet less than one half of one percent of all waste from single-use diapers goes into the sewage system.

Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill.

In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent annually just to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags.

No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone.5

Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.5

Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp.3

The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.3

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.6

In 1991, an attempt towards recycling disposable diapers was made in the city of Seattle, involving 800 families, 30 day care centers, a hospital and a Seattle-based recycler for a period of one year. The conclusion made by Procter & Gamble was that recycling disposable diapers was not an economically feasible task on any scale.17

Dryness and Rash

The most common reason for diaper rash is excessive moisture against the skin.

Newborns should be changed every hour and older babies every 3-4 hours, no matter what kind of diaper they are wearing.

At least half of all babies will exhibit rash at least once during their diapering years.

Diaper rash was almost unheard of before the use of rubber or plastic pants in the 1940s.

There is no significant difference between cloth and disposables when it comes to diaper rash.

There are many reasons for rash, such as food allergies, yeast infections, skin sensitivity, chafing, and chemical irritation. Diaper rash can result from the introduction of new foods in older babies. Some foods raise the frequency of bowel movements which also can irritate. Changes in a breastfeeding mother's diet may alter the baby's stool, causing rash.


We estimate that each baby will need about 6,000 diapers during the first two years of life. The following estimates are based on prices in San Francisco, California.

Disposables. For these calculations, let's assume that a family needs about 60 diapers a week. In the San Francisco Bay area, disposable diapers cost roughly 23¢ per store-brand diaper and 28¢ for name-brand. This averages to 25.5¢ per diaper. Thus the average child will cost about $1,600 to diaper for two years in disposable diapers, or about $66 a month.

Diaper Services. Subscribing to a diaper services costs between $13 and $17 each week depending on how many diapers a family decides to order. Let's assume the family spends roughly $15 a week for 60 diapers a week. This equals $780 annually and averages to $65 a month. Over the course of two years, the family will spend about $1500 per baby, roughly the same cost as disposables, depending on what type of covers are purchased and what type of wipes are used. If one adds in the cost of disposable wipes for either diapering system, the costs increase.

Cloth Diapers. For cloth diapering, each family will probably need about 6 dozen diapers. The cost of cloth diapering can vary considerably, from as low as $300 for a basic set-up of prefolds and covers, to $1000 or more for organic cotton fitted diapers and wool covers. Despite this large price range, it should be possible to buy a generous mix of prefolds and diaper covers for about $300, most of which will probably last for two children. This means the cost of cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables, and you can spend even less by using found objects (old towels & T-shirts).

National Costs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 19 million children under four in 2000. We could probably assume that there are about 9.5 million children under two and therefore in diapers at any one time. Based on previous studies, we estimate that 5-10% of babies wear cloth diapers at least part time. We will average these figures to 7.5% of babies in cloth diapers and 92.5% in disposables. This means that about 8.8 million babies in the U.S. are using 27.4 billion disposable diapers every year13.

Based on these calculations, if we multiply the 8.8 million babies in disposable diapers by an average cost of $800 a year, we find that Americans spend about 7 billion dollars on disposable diapers every year. If every one of those families switched to home-laundered cloth prefold diapers, they would save more than $6 billion, enough to feed about 2.5 million American children for an entire year. Coincidentally, the 2002 U.S. Census reveals that 2.3 million children under 6 live in poverty.


Myth #1 - Cloth Diapers Are Expensive…

It is estimated that using disposable diapers can cost you between two and three thousand dollars per child, from birth to potty training. That is an astounding amount of money to spend on what is essentially garbage. Cloth diapers, however, are much cheaper in the long run, even if the initial investment is more. Assuming that you will not be sewing your own diapers…it is entirely possible to cloth diaper a child for 3 years for $100-300 dollars. These diapers will likely last for one or more subsequent children as well. Do the math…the numbers don't lie.

Myth #2 - Cloth Diapers Smell…

Cloth diapers do not smell any more then a disposable diaper does. The smell that emanates from a cloth diaper thrown in a diaper pail can not be more offensive then a soiled disposable diaper thrown in a garbage can. Innovative new diaper pails and odor controlling accoutrements in a variety of sweet smelling fragrances have eliminated this problem entirely. Odors are also held at bay by using a dry pail method for storing soiled diapers, where diapers are not left to sit in stagnant and possibly malodorous water. With these new advances, there are no reasons why cloth diapers need to "smell".

Myth #3 - Cloth Diapers Are Hard to Care For…

Many cloth diapering parents have adopted a dry pail method of storage. This means that they simply remove a soiled diaper, dispose of any solid waste by dumping it in the toilet, and then toss the diaper in a diaper pail until laundry day. While some cloth diaper users may still rinse diapers in a toilet or sink before putting them in the pail or perhaps soak them in a wet pail before laundering, these methods are not necessary. A no rinse, dry pail method has been proven to be just as effective.

Using cloth diapers will usually only mean another 1-3 loads of laundry a week. This should not represent a significant difference in workload on laundry days. Putting cloth diapers outside on a line to dry will not only alleviate some of this work, but it will also help conserve energy and work to "sun" out any stains that washing did not get rid of. All things considered, it is no more difficult to clean cloth diapers then it is to clean any other clothing types.

Myth #4 - Cloth Diapers Are Not Sanitary…

Cloth diapers need to be clean, plain and simple. They do not need to be absolutely sterile. Most adults probably do not find it necessary to sterilize their underpants, so laundering cloth diapers should be sufficient to ensure that they are clean and ready for use. Diapers should be washed with hot water and then dried in a dryer or on the line outside. Both of these drying mechanisms, providing either heat from the dryer or heat from the sun, will actually help to sterilize the diapers and kill any lingering bacteria that may be present. They should sufficiently clean and acceptable to diaper your baby with.

Myth #5 - Washing Cloth Diapers Wastes Electricity and Water

This argument is truly baffling. Washing cloth diapers does require water and energy usage, yes. However, advancing technology in washing machines and dryers has helped tremendously to keep the energy and water usage to a minimum. Even if you are washing cloth diapers with the oldest and most archaic washing and drying machines, the water and energy output in washing a few loads of diapers a week is infinitesimal compared to the energy wasted on disposable diapers.

Just consider the energy and fossil fuels used to cut down and transport thousands of trees to make the paper pulp used in a disposable diaper, not to mention the devastation this causes to our national forests. Water and energy are then used to create this paper pulp and bleach it. Even more energy is used to make the outer plastic shells and then assemble the diaper. These diapers are then packaged in plastic wrappings and put in cardboard boxes, which also had to be specially made for transporting these diapers. It doesn't end there, however; these diapers are then transported from the factory all over the country and all over the world using trains, trucks, and cargo planes, so that they can be delivered to the stores that sell them to the public. No doubt, more energy is wasted by the consumer who must drive to and from these stores to make their purchase. To make matters worse, these consumers use up theses diapers and throw them away, essentially throwing their money in the garbage as well. The garbage must then be transported to a landfill using even more energy and fuel. This energy consumption is never ending. Cloth diaper users reduce, reuse, and recycle. Can any disposable diaper users claim that?

Myth #6 - Cloth Diapers Leak…

Cloth diapers today come in many different styles and are made with a wondrous array of fabric and absorbency levels. Even parents of children who are very heavy wetters are sure to find a diaper that works for them if they search hard enough. Parents must consider though that disposable diapers are made with chemicals that allow them to be super absorbent and act as a high-volume portable toilet. Yes, disposable diapers may hold in more urine but is that really a good thing? The holding capacity of disposable diapers seems to be breeding laziness and unrealistic expectations in many parents. We should not lulled into the thinking that a diaper should last through several urinations before it is changed, simply because it inconvenient to change diapers every 2-3 hours or less. When a diaper is soiled or wet it needs to be changed…end of story. If diapers are changed immediately after they become soiled or wet, then leaks are rarely a problem.

Currently watching:
Vanilla Sky
Release date: 21 May, 2002

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