When becoming a new parent you are bombarded with
information about the latest baby gear, furniture, clothing, and toys.Your registry grows and grows.Some items are necessities, but others you
think you want to make your life easier.So what about those things you MUST have for your baby?Unless you live outside, you're going
to need diapers, lots of them.Are
you ready to pay $800-1000 per year per child for disposable diapers?The following is a comparison between disposables
Cost of Cloth.
There are many choices when it comes to cloth.See our Cloth Types section for an explanation of the
different types of cloth diapers.One of the cheapest options is to use prefolds and covers.Depending on what type of covers you
use (sized vs one-sized) and number of covers, you can expect to spend between
$50-$150 for covers and $100-$150 for prefold diapers for a birth to potty
supply.Thats a grand total of
$150-$300 to diaper your child and your subsequent children.
One of the most popular options for cloth diapering is to
use One Size (OS) diapers.These
diapers will fit your baby from birth to potty, with a few exceptions of extra
small babies and extra large toddlers.A supply of OS diapers, depending on the number and brand you choose
will cost from $225-$600 for a birth to potty supply.
One of the most expensive options is to use sized diapers
where you will need a full supply for each size category; small, medium, large,
x-large, or however the manufacturer decides to size their line of
diapers.This can cost between
$1500 and $1900, depending on the quantity purchased.
In addition to the cost of supplies is the cost of
cleaning.You should consider the
cost of detergent, water, electricity, and drying for your specific area. Using
data from my own electric and water bills and this website (http://michaelbluejay.com/electricity/laundry.html)I have calculated that it costs me$0.55 per load or $2.75 per week for
water, electricity and detergent to wash our diapers. These numbers will change depending on
your utility costs and the method of drying.
Cost of Disposables
My friends who use disposables swear by using Amazon.com for
the best diaper prices, plus free shipping and discounts if you join a
club.I used numbers from
Amazon.com for Pampers as my low price estimate and I used Babies-R-Us as my
high cost range of disposables.(I
only selected BRU because they have their prices online)I also included disposable diaper usage
by size because there is a large cost difference between sizes.This is a simple estimate because there are many different brands, many different
retail options, and prices will change over time.
Amazon subscribe (Pampers)
up to 14
Cost for 2.5yrs
Cost for 2.5yrs
*Total diapers calculated on the average of the diapers/day range and
30 days per month
The price range for ~2.5 years of disposable diapers is
$1650-$3175 depending on your source of diapers. This does not include pull-up style diapers, which are
typically more expensive ($0.30-$0.53 per diaper).This assumes that you efficiently utilize your supply and there
are no extra diapers leftover when you move up a size.
In conclusion, the most expensive cloth diaper method is
comparable to the cheapest disposable method.In the end, cloth still wins out on price because cloth
diapers can be used for subsequent children as well as sold as used at ~50% of
retail cost if in good condition.
No one can deny that putting trash into landfills impacts
diapers take ~500 years to degrade.This is a best guess, since disposables have existed for less than 100
300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine
are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR6
Try out this calculation to see how many diapers are going
into a landfill every hour in your area.
The following calculator estimates the quantity of disposable diapers sent to a landfill each hour.
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2.Select your state, then a region of your choice
3.Type in the total Population, 2010 (circled in blue)
4.Type in the population under 5 (circled in yellow)
Based on the age assumption of all babies 2.5yrs and younger
being in diapers and that 90% of babies wear disposables, the results displayed
will reflect the number of diapers entering a landfill in your selected area
In South Carolina 47,178 diapers enter our landfills every
hour.In Richland county 3921
diapers enter a landfill every hour thats 65 diapers every minute or
more than 1 every second!
This is a touchy subject for some people, and rightly so.Some believe it is better not to expose
your child to the chemicals in disposable diapers, whereas the others say there
is no danger.Since there is no
public knowledge of a diaper epidemic, it comes down to your personal
beliefs.Just like the food we
eat, there are always other considerations that may take priority, like cost,
time, ease of use, etc.So is cloth
diapering an easy healthy choice? Of course.Have countless babies covered in disposable diapers grown up
without serious health problems? Of course.That said, here are the concerns that I have found regarding
the chemicals used in disposable diapers:
Dioxin is a byproduct to the chlorine bleaching
process used to manufacture paper. Disposable diaper manufacturers claim there
is no trace dioxin left in their diapers, whereas cloth proponents say there is
The little super absorbing beads in disposable
diapers are made from a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP).The addition of SAP to tampons was
banned in the 1980s for increased risk of toxic shock syndrome, but is used in
adult underwear and sanitary napkins.
Regrettably, there is not an unbiased study published on the
safety or environmental effects of disposable diapers.Every study has been done by someone
with something to gain, and are therefore not reliable in my mind.You need to decide for yourself what is
important to you and for your family.
6 Lehrburger, C., J. Mullen and C.V. Jones.
1991. Diapers: Environmental Impacts
and Lifecycle Analysis. Philadelphia, PA: Report to The National
Association of Diaper Services (NADS).