Re: cloth vs disposable diapers

From: Brenda Platt (
Date: Thu Sep 28 2000 - 06:42:34 EDT

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    ILSR did some research a number of years ago looking at the economic
    development impact of using cloth diapers.

    Here's what we found:

    Reusable cloth diaper companies tend to be local. Diaper services
    rarely serve customers more than 100 miles away. Over 300 companies
    nationwide collect and wash diapers for over 750,000 families, employing
    10,000 to 12,500 people. Each business employs between 5 and 50
    workers. Every 90 families that use a diaper service creates one
    full-time job. A complete switch to diaper services would generate an
    estimated 72,000 jobs nationwide in this service industry alone.

    In contrast, two companies together produce 87% of the disposable
    diapers sold.

    I know Mothering magazine has published some excellent articles on cloth
    vs. disposable diapers. You might give them a call and see if they can
    fax you any: 504-984-8116

    Also, here's some inf. from one of my cloth diaper catalogs (Babyworks,

    Cloth diapers: real fabric vs. paper and plastic laced with chemicals
    and perfumes
    Disposable diapers: chemical vapors (toluene, xylene, and styrene) are
    emitted; dioxin used in the paper bleaching process

    Babies have less diaper rash with cotton diapers because of their
    breathability (air circulation means cooler temps within the diaper).

    Some 40 million trees are felled each year to make disposable diapers.
    One baby in cloth diapers will save one ton of garbage containing
    untreated human waste from being buried in the earth. With cloth
    diapers, human waste is properly routed through the sewage system.

    Using cloth diapers will save parents money (likey $1,000 to $2,000 over
    a 2-year period and even more with more children). Washing diapers at
    home is even cheaper than a diaper service.

    Good luck with the talk!

    Brenda Platt

    Brenda A. Platt
    Institute for Local Self-Reliance
    Web: <>

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