Monday, April 25, 2011
Response to Associated Press Article
I felt like this article was slightly biased and left out a lot of important facts.
My personal favorite part of the article was when Pampers general manager was quoted saying ,"Empowerment of women was a big piece of what was behind that". "Offering conveniences, offering more options, was clearly part of the culture at that time." This comment was made to imply women who use disposable diapers are offered more convenience and more options than those women who use reusable cloth diapers. That is simply not the case anymore. I personally do not find rushing to the grocery store at midnight because my daughter got a stomach virus and went through a pack of disposable diapers convenient. I also do not find washing load after load of bedding and clothing because the disposable diaper leaked through the night convenient either. I also do not find spending roughly $2000-$4000 on diapers over the life of my child convenient on my pocketbook.
There was also a woman quoted in the article as saying she chose disposables because she travels a lot. Traveling does not hinder reusable diaper use at all! It is just as easy to throw a used cloth diaper in a wet bag as it is to throw a disposable in a trash can. There are also hybrid diapers available now that allow you to use cloth or biodegradable inserts interchangeably. The disposable insert is biodegradable and can be thrown in the garbage, is flushable, or can be composted. So you can use cloth at home and disposable inserts when traveling if desired.
The arguments that disposables and cloth are equal environmentally is not proven either way. The fact is the study done on water consumption for cloth diapers was done by disposable diaper companies; therefore, one can assume it may show a little bias. Ultimately disposable diapers produce 2 tons of waste in landfills. They do require water and energy to manufacture. Yes cloth diapers must be manufactured as well; HOWEVER, you only need to produce them once! A disposable diaper must be produced to the tune of 2 TONS!! for each child. This is consuming God knows how much energy. Also you are consuming all the raw goods used to make the disposable diaper (over and over and over again). Plus having to produce each item used to make the diaper (ie. plastics) which also consumes energy and WATER! If someone did an actually REAL study on the environmental effect of disposables it would definitely be far grimmer than what these companies are trying to portray. They did a water consumption survey on cloth, but not on the production aspect of disposables (hoping you would just forget they had to be manufactured). So there is more to disposables than simply landfill waste.
People do not necessarily take care of their disposable diapers either. By law, you should dump the poo from the diaper before disposing of it in the trash. It is illegal to put human waste in the garbage, yet this is almost never done with disposables. If the garbage is not disposed of correctly that human waste can contaminate the ground and leak to nearby water. And who hasn't seen that nasty five day old disposable diaper laying in the parking lot of Wal-Mart?? Gross!
Finally, an issue that seems to not really be addressed is the economic factor. Reusable diapers can save families thousands of dollars. Especially if they have more than one child. Reusable diapers can be used by multiple children and on average will save about $2000 per child for a family. This is not something to scoff at- especially considering today's economic state.
I just wish a little more information would have been provided in the article. It seemed a little one-sided (in favor of disposables) and I would just like to add another perspective. It is up to each family to educate themselves on cloth diapers and decide the best option for them.