If you’re a new parent, a diaper is probably one of those items that you feel was sent to make your life easier. Your baby does have a lot of poop and pee happening, almost round the clock! And what better way to hold it in place than the diaper?
I’ve used it for my babies too, but reality set in when I realized that apart from the rashes that a diaper causes on a baby’s bum, it also does a lot of harm to the environment. As a mom, I was already trying to reduce diaper use for my babies. But when I read about the many ways it is harming our home planet, I was terrified of the harm I was going to leave behind for my next generation.
Here are some of the things I found out:
1. Almost 500 Years To Decompose – Come to think of it, even that one disposable diaper that you throw away in the garbage will take anywhere between 250 to 500 years to decompose, more towards 500 years. And this is the time required for the ‘disposable’ ones to decompose! In reality, we are not actually ‘disposing’ that diaper, but adding it to a largely growing dump of diapers.
2. Manufacture Requires Massive Use Of Resources: Manufacturing ‘disposable’ diapers and nappies uses up a huge amount of resources as compared to cloth nappies. It uses up more than 3.5 times energy, 20 times more raw materials and double the amount of water.
3. Trees Gone – In the US alone, more than 200,000 trees are used up each year to manufacture disposable diapers.
4. Threat Of Contamination To Ground Water – The amount of disposable diapers that are piling up in the landfills each year add a huge risk of contamination to ground water. The faeces contained in the diapers gives rise to a host of viruses that can mix into local water supplies and cause water contamination.
5. Air Contamination – Landfills produce a large amount of greenhouse emissions that can lead to climatic changes. Soiled diapers also release a vast amount of methane in the air. When the amount of gases released are high in concentration, it creates an extremely flammable and explosive atmosphere. Methane also mixes in the air and replaces the amount of oxygen present.
5. Dangerous Chemical Storehouses – Diapers release a large amount of toxic chemicals, such as xylene, toluene, dipentene and ethylbenzene, which can lead to various health issues in human beings when exposed over a long period of time. The inner linings of diapers are treated with chemicals which cause allergic reactions, such as diaper rashes, as well as increase the risk of cancer.
6. Bioaccumulation In Humans – Bioaccumulation means the accumulation of harmful and toxic substances. Most disposable diapers contain dioxin which is a carcinogen, meaning it can lead to cancer. When released in the air, it can cause bioaccumulation in human beings as well as in humans.
7. Fuel Consumption – Imagine the diapers being manufactured and then sent across to various factories through transportation. From the factories they are then taken to the stores. From the stores they go to homes, from where they are again taken to the landfills. Quite a lot of fuel consumption in all this travel don’t you think?
There are various ways to reduce the use of disposable diapers. You can help your baby get potty trained, or try using cloth diapers that are reusable. We’ve tried these options at home, and yes, they do work out, with a little time and patience. If you’ve tried any of this, we’d love to know your experience.
Image source: Pixabay
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