Ever thought about using cloth diapers?

Three cloth diapers in different coloursAre you a new parent dealing with all the excitement and fast pace of a little one? Have you noticed how many disposable diapers you go through in one day? Perhaps you are expecting your first little one and not sure what type of diaper to use?  Keep in mind that from birth to toilet training your baby will have about 8,000 diaper changes!

Consider this — on average, in Halton Region 7.5% of the garbage contains disposable diapers and sanitary products.

Before you rule out cloth diapers as inconvenient, hard to use and messy, it is important to know that the cloth diaper has come a long way since I used them over 20 years ago. They now come shaped like a disposable diaper with velcro closures and colourful designs. Many parents now consider using cloth diapers for several reasons including cost, health, comfort and of course, waste reduction.

Our Waste Management Services team has been asked many times now, “why can’t I just put my diapers in the GreenCart — don’t they compost?”  The simple answer is no.

Today’s disposable diapers contain multiple layers of materials depending on the manufacturer’s design.  The inner core contains cellulose along with what is termed a superabsorbent gel material made from synthetic polymers known as sodium polyacrylate. The liner that wicks the moisture away from the skin, the breathable cover that allows humidity to escape and the elasticized cuffs are all made from polypropylene or polyethylene (plastic).  Some diapers also contain fragrance to mask odours and adhesives to hold them together.  Overall, the majority of the material that the disposable diaper is made up of is not compostable.

While some municipalities allow disposable diapers in their organics program, Halton Region does not since diaper and sanitary napkin material can contaminate the final compost product meaning there is little to no use for it.  Including diapers in the compost program can also result in the compost not meeting Ontario provincial quality guidelines resulting in the compost having to be disposed of as waste. The less contamination there is in the GreenCart, the better the quality of the final compost product making it easier to use in things like agricultural and landscape projects.

There are cloth diaper suppliers as well as diaper services available in Halton Region that will collect your soiled diapers, wash them and deliver clean diapers to your door. How convenient is that?

So before you consider stocking up on disposable diapers, I encourage you think green and give cloth diapers a try — I promise, they have come a long way!

Also check out the HaltonParents blog where Halton Region Public Health Nurses and Child Development staff provide great information and support to all parents, no matter the age of their child.

About Shirley McLean

I am the Supervisor of Solid Waste Planning at Halton Region. My educational background includes a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph. My career focus is to work on programs and policies that lessen the environmental impact of waste on our earth.
This entry was posted in Disposal, Garbage, Green Living, Reduce, Reuse and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ever thought about using cloth diapers?

  1. Anna Blouin says:

    What a wonderful post! The more of us that encourage the use of cloth, the better for our children and our planet. Consider visiting the Real Diaper Association for more reasons to choose cloth. http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/
    Bear Bottoms Diaper Service, is a proud member of The Real Diaper Association which promotes the use of cloth, new cloth diaper technology and encouranges governments to advocate the use of cloth. We also have information on our website with several links, common questions and research of cloth diapers vrs. disposables. Cheers to cloth!! After all, “Isn’t is time for a change?”

  2. Andrea Scott says:

    Loved this post. My husband and I are expecting our first and we are planning on cloth diapering. Lots of friends and family have been asking why, thinking it will be too much work! Your post highlights some great reasons to use cloth diapers and I’ll be sure to pass on the information. Keep up the good work and thanks for letting your readers know about the HaltonParents blog.

  3. Pingback: Preparing for baby | HaltonRecycles

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