My little contribution to mother earth

Written by momof2As on the 22 May 2007

My little contribution to mother earth

Have you ever wondered how many disposable nappies that each child uses from birth to potty? It’s staggering 6000 disposables. In Canada and US alone 20,000,000,000 disposables discarded each year. Where do they go? They’re thrown into the landfill sites. Do you want to know what happen to them? As the landfill sites don’t provide condition for them to decompose, they become mummified and retain their original weight volume and form. Yep! They can’t degrade or decompose (as they're more plastic than paper), and they will stay there for at least 500 years.

On top of that, human faeces can contain harmful pathogens (for example, babies who have been vaccinated for polio will excrete poliovirus) when faeces are discarded with disposable nappies there is potential for public exposure (via rodents, pets, flies or birds).

We do like white diapers, don’t we! Do you know how they make these disposables so white? They’re made mostly from wood pulp which then undergoes whitening and softening process when it is exposed to chlorine-based bleaching agents. This process produces a harmful by-product called dioxin released into the environment which also remains in minute quantity in the wood pulps which are then transformed into disposables. Dioxin has been called the most toxic substance ever produced and has been associated with birth defects, miscarriage, cancer and genetic damage. No one knows exactly how much exposure to dioxin is required for disease to develop. It is toxic in very small amounts.

What is great about disposables is that they’re so absorbent. But, have you ever wondered why they are so absorbent. It’s because of another chemical in the disposables that is called sodium polyacrylate. This substance turns your baby’s urine into gel. Sodium polyacrylate can absorb 100 times its weight in liquid. This is why disposable diapers are so absorbent. The use of this chemical has been associated with severe diaper rash and bleeding perennial and scrotal tissue, because it pulls fluid so strongly that it excoriates human tissue. No neutral long term study of any kind has been done to assess the affect over time, of contact of this substance with vulnerable genital tissue.

I used to think that there’s no way I would use cloth diapers/nappies. Are you mad? My life is hard enough with two kids and I don’t need extra load of work, cleaning the floor, wet mattress, etc plus extra washing clothing, bed sheet, blanket etc, etc. But, after 3 months of looking at, smelling piles of stinking disposables diapers in our bin, I started to get fed up and did more research. Hey!! The modern cloth nappies aren’t like the ones we used to know. They’re cute, absorbent, easy to use, good for your baby’s health, and don't forget you're also helping the environment.

Many people would think that using cloth nappy is gross because you have to deal with poo. But, in my opinion, disposables are gross as you have this nappies with poo sitting in your bin for a week! With cloth, I use liners to line the nappies. You can choose paper, fleece or silk liners. The biodegradable, unbleached paper liner can be thrown in the toilet and flushed after being pooed, so no poo sitting in your bin. The fleece and silk liners are washable. Once it has been pooed, it can be sprayed with water spray gun (like the one in modern indonesian toilet) to remove the poo, then they can be washed. How do you wash these cloth nappies? I don't wash them but my washing machine does it for me;) Yep! You don't need to do anything extra, no need to soak them, just dump the dirty cloth diapers in the tight closed lid nappy bucket and wash them in the washing machine on the washing day (2-3 days in between). Easy peasy!! But, how do we deal with stain? The sun is a natural bleaching agent! Try it for yourself if you don't believe me.

To be honest, have you ever thought of being in your child shoes? How does it feel to sit on the disposable diaper? (not forgetting that most children walk around and sit on the bulk gooey diaper after they peed on it). We, adults, like to wear nice cotton/silk underwear while our precious little prince/princess are wearing plastic nappies/diapers!

<< Back to Articles