The dirt on disposable diapers

First, I have to admit that we used disposable diapers for both of our kids. Do they really harm the environment that much?
Jan 12, 2013

 

The answer is a definite yes, according to Alita Kelly in a blog for the West Michigan Environmental Action Council. They also may be harming your children, she says.

Kelly's blog is several months old, but worth bringing up.

"In the past, disposable diapers were luxuries used primarily for vacations, doctor’s visits and other special circumstances," she wrote. "The trend has shifted from luxury to standard where most homes with children in diapers rely solely on the disposable type, dramatically increasing the amount of waste created by those with little ones."

Kelly notes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans make more than 200 million tons of garbage each year, and there's 27 billion disposable diapers in there. She said disposable diapers are the third-largest single consumer item in landfills.

"The average lifespan of a disposable diaper is 500 years," Kelly said. "An average baby will go through about 8,000 diapers in infanthood, according to the EPA."

Oh, but there's much more. Kelly describes the toxic chemicals found in disposable diapers — and she's not talking about the ones that children make in them.

To read more, click here.

Comments

rj18rad

EPA needs to be dissolved. Save us a lot of money!!!

Walking Alive

And our lives would be so much better, how? oh, by saving you all of your money you send them. I wonder, if they dissolved the EPA would it be toxic?

Walking Alive

I guess that Depends. lol And it is not all baby diapers. What about all the adult diapers I change at the home I work at?

GH55

Oh, yeah, we would save alot of money by not having safe drinking water because the Lake would be a sewer, our air would be unbreathable, check out Beijing lately! We wouldn't need a musical fountain because we could probably be entertained by a flaming Grand River like in Cleveland back in the day. So, we would have to buy water for drinking, never get to swim in the lakes, never see a sunset because of the haze in the air, and probably die early from emphesema or lung cancer. We should return to the days when the tannery just dumped its chemicals in the river, think of all the money Grand Rapids could save by just getting rid of any sewage treatment facility! Oil drilling leaks in the Gulf or pipeline breakes in Kalamazoo County, no problem, we probably wouldn't notice because of all the other crap already there.
Get rid of the EPA, yeah, right!

GH55

Oh, yeah, we would save alot of money by not having safe drinking water because the Lake would be a sewer, our air would be unbreathable, check out Beijing lately! We wouldn't need a musical fountain because we could probably be entertained by a flaming Grand River like in Cleveland back in the day. So, we would have to buy water for drinking, never get to swim in the lakes, never see a sunset because of the haze in the air, and probably die early from emphesema or lung cancer. We should return to the days when the tannery just dumped its chemicals in the river, think of all the money Grand Rapids could save by just getting rid of any sewage treatment facility! Oil drilling leaks in the Gulf or pipeline breakes in Kalamazoo County, no problem, we probably wouldn't notice because of all the other crap already there.
Get rid of the EPA, yeah, right!

Lanivan

Yeah - lots. The 2011 Federal Defense Budget = $861,000,000,000

The 2011 Federal EPA Budget = $8,600,000,000

Lanivan

oops - this was supposed to be a reply to rj18rad....

rj18rad

Let me know how it works for you when you have to pay 80 dollars for a 30 watt lightbulb, alright! Wake up!
Oh yeah, and by the way, Defense is Constitutional!

Lanivan

FYI, you'll be happy to know Home Depot has Phillips 60-watt Incandescent 4-pks for $1.47.

So - if something is constitutional it's ok to spend close to a trillion annually on it?

Wingmaster

Looks like the defense budget is underfunded. I have an idea, lets just remove all the "assault weapons" in society and give them to the government. Seems that would solve a couple of issues.

Lanivan

Great idea, Wing....can you imagine the increase in dirty diapers with that federal move? How about we just employ basic gun safety public policy and buy back the guns folks would like to unload? We could melt them down into scrap metal for spare parts for wind turbines.

Speaking of landfills, the explanation I got when I asked at my fitness center why they didn't have recycling bins for the thousands of plastic bottles they accumulate, was that it would be a costly add-on to their trash pick-up expenses. Fair enough. But then they go the expense of putting really nice flat screens in the locker rooms (wall art??). Then, to add insult to injury, they set them to Fox News.

Our defense budget underfunded? http://nation.time.com/2012/09/2...

Our environment is struggling to absorb all those dirty diapers and water bottles, meanwhile our Defense Dept is absorbing more federal dollars than all other developed nations x 100. And some just love to pile on the EPA....

murpbl

I agree with you Lanivan! I am constantly astounded at the ignorance in the world

Lanivan

murpbl - we just have to keep chipping away!

NSViews

For some reason I had the idea that this article would center more on the pros and cons of disposables vs. cloth. I continue to be fascinated by the directions taken by these conversations. From diapers to assault weapons in four easy steps. I think this could be a great new parlor game!

As to the subject at hand, I would agree that what was once a helpful convenience, like paper plates at a picnic, has developed into a full-time habit. I do see younger parents going back to cloth for a variety or reasons, from environmental concerns to costs. This is a good thing. Remember diaper services?

The good news is that we all have the ability to make personal choices based upon our individual needs and priorities.

Lanivan

Nice assessment, NSViews. I do think your idea of a new board game would catch on!

Your example of the discovery of diaper services by young parents is a good one. I do see our younger people approach their daily living with a more environmentally-sensitive attitude. Education is key. Having been involved in a "green" presentation to 4-5 yr olds, I was stunned at how savvy they were.

But then personal choice enters into the picture. At my fitness center, why do all those plastic water bottles accumulate? Why don't people take them home and put them into their recycling bins? Or use reusable bottles?

 

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