The average kid will go through 8,000 diapers in a lifetime. If you go with disposables—as 95 percent of all American households do—that adds up to about 3.5 million tons of waste in U.S. landfills each year.
Yikes! Cloth diapers—which seem like the obvious solution—aren’t exactly guilt-free, either. Laundering them uses a ton of water, energy, and detergent, not to mention precious time.
So, there are pros and cons to each, and really, you have to consider whatever best fits your lifestyle. Whichever you go with, you can make smarter choices. In this video, health coach and expert mom Sara Snow shares her best tips.
For starters, if you’re all about the convenience of disposable diapers, look for gel-free, unbleached ones. Most conventional diapers harbor a chemical called absorbent gel material (AGM), which has been linked to asthma.
Prefer cloth? Using a service that picks up dirty diapers and drops off clean ones is actually the more eco-friendly way to go—it saves water, energy, and detergent overall. If you’d rather do your own laundry, wash with cold water and use a nontoxic, fragrance-free detergent in order to conserve energy and keep irritants and chemicals away from baby’s skin (and out of waterways).
There is a third option: use a combination of disposable and cloth, depending on the scenario. As Snow says, “Whatever works, works.” It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
Press play to get all of Snow’s tips!