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Posted on 05-06-2017
Cloth Better than Disposable for People and the Planet
Disposable diapers are the third most common consumer item in landfills. When even those labeled “eco-friendly” are covered by other debris after being discarded and hidden from sunlight and air, they don’t readily biodegrade.
Producing disposables also makes major demands on water, energy, nonrenewable resources like oil and renewables like wood. Many brands contain harmful ingredients such as polyacrylate, dioxin, phthalates and heavy metals that can be absorbed by a baby’s soft, developing skin and promote rashes.
According to SmallFootprintFamily.com, 90 to 95 percent of American babies annually generate 27.4 billion single-use plastic diapers, or 7.6 billion pounds of garbage. While comparable statistics on adult diapers aren’t available, Euromonitor International forecasts a 48 percent increase in U.S. sales to $2.7 billion in 2020, up from $1.8 billion in 2015. In a decade, sales of diapers for adults could surpass those for babies at Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble, attributed to bladder control issues related to health and age, according to the Urology Care Foundation and Mayo Clinic.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association advise that in all cases, fecal matter and urine should be rinsed and flushed down the toilet instead of put in the trash, so that contaminants don’t enter groundwater and potentially spread disease. Traditional cloth diapers are the way to go for several reasons beyond budget:
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