Last month I began using gDiapers on Jack. When compared to cloth and disposable diapers, these “hybrid” diapers boast to be the best environmental option (other than no diaper – and, yes, some consider that an option). Unfortunately, in the diaper debate, nothing is simple.
Disposables – They are enormously convenient,super-absorbent and dry against baby's skin. Unfortunately, plastic diapers take up to 500 years to decompose. I know that Jack uses about 10 diapers a day. If he is in diapers until the age of three, we’re talking about 11,000 diapers!
Cloth – Soft, natural and renewable. Cotton diapers require washing. This can be done by a diaper service or by a diligent caregiver. Either way, harsh chemicals are added to the water supply and obviously a lot of water is being used during all these washings.
The decision of cloth or disposable is affected by a few factors. If your child is in daycare, there is no choice. Most childcare centers require disposables; as a former daycare director, I can understand why. The time and cost of cleaning diapers is just too much for financially strained childcare centers. If you are trying to make an environmental choice, you need to know the region you live in. If water quality is an issue, than cloth diapers may make that problem worse (this is a concern where I live). If landfill space is a concern, than disposables obviously add to that problem.
Hybrid diapers avoid both of these problems. To understand why, I have to explain how hybrid diapers work. Essentially, it is a cloth pant with a snap in water-resistant, breathable, liner. Both of these are washable. The absorbent, interior core (which fits into the liner) is made of tree pulp and polyacrylate. This core, which gDiapers refers to as “flushables” is just that. It can be flushed down the toilet, composted (if only wet), or can be thrown into the garbage. Either way, the “flushable” decomposes in about 60 days.
So what’s the verdict? Now that I have used the diapers for a month, I have a list of pros and cons.
- I'm cutting back on my contribution toward landfills and water pollution.
- The diapers are relatively easy to use. The only extra step is flushing the “flushables” (truthfully, I often put them into the Diaper Champ).
- They are not much more expensive than disposables when purchased in bulk.
- The diapers can not be left on as long as disposables and are also a little more prone to leaks. Because of this we use disposables at night and when we’re traveling.
- Because they are not as absorbent as disposables I have to change the diapers every 2-3 hours instead of every 4+, so I use more gDiapers than disposables which adds to the cost.
- I do have to wash the liners and, sometimes, the pants. However, they are not usually very dirty so I throw them in with my other laundry and hang them to dry.
Personally, I feel that helping the environment is worth the slightly higher cost and higher rate of “diaper turnover”. I plan to keep using them until Jack is potty trained. As for getting my husband to use them…that is another blog entry for another day.