Are Cloth Diapers Truly More Sustainable Than Disposable Diapers? - Judes Family Skip to content
Welcome to Judes Family – Now offering a 100-day trial period for diapering Welcome to Judes Family – Now offering a 100-day trial period for diapering
Search
Cart
Product Empty Cart Price QTY Product image
  • :

Subtotal:
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.
View cart
Your cart is empty

Are Cloth Diapers Really More Sustainable Than Disposable Diapers?

Judes Strand Meer Baby süß

Photo by @isabelplett

 

When I was pregnant, I came across cloth diapers. The idea that my child would become diaper-free much earlier was very appealing to me. Besides, they are naturally more sustainable. Or aren't they?

My husband disagreed. He believed that cloth diapers were not more sustainable, especially when considering water usage.

I didn't want to just accept that and did some research. How sustainable are cloth diapers compared to disposable diapers? I’ll tell you upfront. Cloth diapers are more sustainable than disposable diapers. But how problematic are disposable diapers really? The answer to this question shocked both my husband and me! (More on that later)

An advertisement made me notice Judes' cloth diapers. It looked incredibly simple, and I knew we needed these cloth diapers. Today, I can say: Our daughter feels visibly comfortable and prefers to play with the beautiful outer covers.

The company Judes Family made such a great impression on me that I applied for a job with them. I really wanted to write my first article about the shocking impacts of disposable diapers and show other parents how much more sustainable cloth diapers are.

In this article, I’m going to show you how sustainable cloth diapers are and how harmful disposable diapers can be.

Here are the 8 questions I found answers to:

  • What is the proportion of disposable diapers in our trash?
  • What exactly are disposable diapers made of?
  • What are other problems with disposable diapers?
  • What’s in cloth diapers, or specifically, in Judes'?
  • Why use cloth diapers instead of eco-diapers?
  • What role does transport play in the diapering equation?
  • Aren't cloth diapers less sustainable than disposable ones because of washing?
  • To what extent can cloth diapers be reused?

What is the proportion of disposable diapers in our trash?

The share of disposable diapers in our residual waste is significant. However, I did not think it would be this large. Each child requires approximately 5,000 disposable diapers, which equals about 1 ton of diaper waste.

10-15% of residual waste consists of disposable diapers

All children in Germany produce 154,680 tonnes of waste per year just with their disposable diapers, which corresponds to 10-15% of Germany's residual waste. In the EU alone, an estimated 33 billion disposable diapers are used per year, resulting in about 6.7 million tonnes of waste annually, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Our children produce a tremendous amount of trash in their first few years of life, which we somehow have to dispose of. These figures already shocked me, but I wanted to know more. So I moved on to my next question.

Disposable diapers can only be disposed of in residual waste

To be honest, I've never concerned myself with waste disposal beyond the bin in front of my house. What happens to our waste afterwards came as somewhat of a surprise to me. No matter if at home or on the go, regardless of being “biodegradable” or not, our disposable diapers end up in the residual waste. This can then take various paths. Normally, it ends up in a landfill and is then incinerated in a waste combustion facility.

Waste is mixed in incineration plants

In order for the residual waste to burn, various types of waste are mixed and well stirred together. Thus, wet disposable diapers end up in the incineration plant alongside, among other things, bulky waste. Depending on the waste mixture, more or less energy must be added to make the mass burn.

Incineration of Waste Produces Toxic Fumes

Although the burning of this mix of waste generates electricity and heat, it also produces CO₂ and toxic fumes. Primarily, the goal here is not the generation of electricity but the disposal of our waste. The fumes are captured by filtration systems.

What remains after the burning, along with the filtered materials, is hazardous waste and is taken to final disposal sites. Our waste is still present, albeit not in its original form. Here, toxic substances can seep into our groundwater over time. You can find a video on this topic from Spiegel Online here.

As shown, the disposal of disposable diapers is associated with considerable effort and correspondingly high costs, which are naturally passed on to private households through taxes.

German Waste is Exported

Additionally, our waste goes beyond our national borders, and we do not have full control over its disposal. Because when we are on holiday, the diapers also end up in the trash there. Depending on the country we are in, waste disposal can look completely different. Perhaps there are not the technically advanced landfills and incineration facilities. Likewise, our waste reaches foreign countries through partly legal, partly illegal exports. More on this in just a bit.

Disposable Diapers Cannot Be Recycled

Another question I had was about disposal. If the disposal of disposable diapers is so complex, why don’t we just recycle them? Recycling is not possible for disposable diapers. This is due to the many different materials that are combined in them. Additionally, the presence of fecal matter in the diapers complicates the process.

Judes against plastic waste ocean

Photo by Naja Bertolt Jensen on Unsplash

Are Our Disposable Diapers in the World's Oceans?

We all know about the massive amounts of plastic in our oceans. I also knew that these are threatening to marine life and ultimately end up in our bodies. However, the actual amount of plastic waste floating in the water and how much is added annually still surprised me.

Disposable Diapers Take 450 Years to Decompose

Scientists estimate the amount of plastic waste in our oceans at 150 million tonnes. Each year, an estimated 8-13 million tonnes of plastic waste are added. A disposable diaper takes about 450 years to decompose. While plastics do not fully decompose, they remain in the form of microplastics. Thus, microplastic ends up in marine animals and later in us.

Waste is Dumped into the Oceans by Some Countries

Various countries dispose of their waste in our oceans. China leads the way in this practice, along with Indonesia and the Philippines. But how do our German disposable diapers and other trash end up in the world's oceans? After all, we dispose of our waste in domestic incineration plants, right?

 

Illegal Waste Export Takes Our Trash Beyond German Borders

That's not the only path our trash can take. Germany exports waste. While this primarily concerns plastic waste, unfortunately, a significant amount of German trash is illegally exported. This means, it's not just our plastic waste that ends up abroad. Our disposable diapers, which should rightfully be disposed of in residual waste, also cross our borders. Weltspiegel provides an extensive video on the subject, which you can find here.

So, our waste is taken to landfills in other countries. These countries are not part of the EU and have very different hygiene standards than ours. Their landfills are not technically as advanced as ours.

Illegal Landfills Release Toxic Substances into Our Environment

Then there are the illegal landfills. The media often show images of huge piles of rubbish between houses or even entire islands of trash. Toxic substances can evaporate from these sites or easily leach into the groundwater. Our trash can directly impact nature, animals, and even humans.

But it's not just the export of our waste that is responsible for diapers in the seas. Diapers that are carelessly or accidentally disposed of in nature can be washed into the seas by rivers or through floods.

Judes cloth diaper inner diaper cover orange hands

What are disposable diapers made of, anyway?

I never read what ingredients a disposable diaper has. What could possibly be so bad in them? After all, they are designed for babies. I guess I was mistaken. All components of a disposable diaper contain plastic. This is not good, but not surprising either.

Nonwoven fabric can be made from natural or synthetic fibers

Furthermore, cellulose, nonwoven fabric, and adhesives can be found in a disposable diaper. Regarding the nonwoven fabric, it must be mentioned that it can consist of both natural and synthetic fibers, according to the Federal Environmental Agency. The so-called super absorbent polymer absorbs the urine, which is more chemical than I would like. I will tell you more about this later.

Cellulose is made from wood - Is this always sustainable?

I'll start with the seemingly most sustainable component of the disposable diaper. Cellulose is derived from wood. Here, the question arises whether this comes from sustainable forestry. The labels FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes) are particularly often used to mark sustainable forestry practices.

Moreover, even the use of cellulose can pose risks. This is due to chemicals such as bleaches and optical brighteners that are added to the celluloke during its manufacture.

The Absorbent Core in Disposable Diapers is Made of Polymers

The absorbent core also contains the previously mentioned superabsorbent polymer. This is primarily made of acrylic acid and sodium hydroxide. The cross-linking of these polymers requires additional chemicals.

Bio-based Absorbent Cores Contain Potentially Endocrine Disrupting Substances

Research is being conducted on bio-based superabsorbents, and a few diapers do contain them, but they have been criticized for various reasons. On one hand, they are not competitive enough due to their lower absorbency, and on the other hand, the use of food for their production is criticized.

Furthermore, there are studies showing that bio-plastics can even more strongly affect our endocrine system than conventional plastics. Endocrine disrupting substances such as plasticizers are suspected of causing infertility when absorbed through the skin into the body.

Components of the Superabsorbent Polymer Are Considered Toxic

In the production of the superabsorbent polymer, so-called residual monomers are inevitably left behind. These are primarily the neutralized salt of acrylic acid and sodium acrylate, which accounts for about 99% of the residual monomers. However, sodium acrylate is considered hazardous to the environment, especially very toxic to aquatic organisms, according to the Federal Environmental Agency.

Components of the Superabsorbent Polymer Are Considered Harmful to Health

Acrylic acid is also considered very toxic to aquatic organisms. Additionally, acrylic acid is dangerous to human health. It is harmful upon skin contact and inhalation. Furthermore, it causes severe skin burns and can lead to serious eye damage. You can read more about this here.

How are the proportions of different components distributed in a disposable diaper?

You might think that the components themselves are concerning, but perhaps the distribution could change your mind? I'm afraid that won't happen. The superabsorbent polymer accounts for 33% of the total weight of a disposable diaper, followed by cellulose at 24% and nonwoven fabric at 21%. Other components include elastic elements and tape at 13%, plastic at 5%, adhesive at 3%, and other materials at 1% of a diaper's composition.

That might not sound too bad at first. Although only 5% of the diaper is made of plastic, the other parts can also consist of plastic. For instance, the nonwoven fabric can be made from plastic, just like tapes are often made from plastic as well.

Disposable Diapers Consist Largely of a Chemical Absorbent Core

Moreover, a significant portion of the diaper consists of a chemical mixture, which is increasingly used to reduce weight, gradually displacing cellulose from the diaper. When we consider the health concerns associated with a conventional superabsorbent polymer, disposable diapers acquire a particularly bad taste.

All in all, we have a plastic package filled with chemicals that we wrap around our children's intimate areas. This causes many children to suffer from a diaper rash (more on that below).

Woman with gloves working with chemicals

Photo by Julia Koblitz on Unsplash

Are the Chemicals in Disposable Diapers a Concern?

When I heard that disposable diapers contain chemicals, I was shocked. Of course, this is concerning. Babies' skin is much more sensitive to external influences than ours. Especially in the genital area, the skin is quite thin and absorbs chemicals quickly. Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to the effects of chemicals. This can have long-lasting and including serious health impacts, as found by the ANSES agency.

Why chemicals harm the sustainability of disposable diapers, you will learn later. First, I want to show you the direct effects of these chemicals on our babies and toddlers. Because what I have found, shocked me and I immediately wanted to switch to cloth diapers.

Disposable Diapers Contain Banned Chemicals

Researchers found more than 60 chemicals in disposable diapers, including some that have been banned in Europe for over 15 years, and other substances that are normally found in cigarette smoke or diesel exhausts. Disposable diapers, therefore, contain chemicals that are likely absorbed over time through the genitals, as biologist Katie O’Reilly explains. Long-term exposure to these chemicals increases the risk of asthma, certain types of cancer, and reproductive disorders.

Disposable Diapers Can Cause Various Diseases

Following a test, a French agency estimates that over 14 million European children could suffer from potentially very serious, variable, and latent diseases due to wearing disposable diapers, which could affect their quality of life throughout their lives. It is even stated that disposable diapers, since they are made of a quarter of plastic, are not suitable for prolonged contact with children's bare skin (see here).

Even though it cannot yet be proven that wearing diapers is harmful to health, there are many indications for it. One thing is clear: Disposable diapers contain a lot of chemicals that are concerning for our children.

What Do the Chemicals in Disposable Diapers Have to Do with Sustainability?

As promised, I will now tell you why the chemicals in disposable diapers also harm their sustainability. Since so many chemicals are found in disposable diapers, I'm concerned that Per- or Polyfluoroalkyl substances might be present. Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, briefly known as PFAS, are referred to as Forever Chemicals. This means they take an enormously long time to degrade, even minimally. We're talking about several thousand years. That’s why they are also called “Forever Chemicals.” These chemicals are found in furniture, cosmetics, or even food packaging.

Chemicals are Everywhere in Our Environment and in Us

Both during their production and their use, parts of these chemicals can enter the air. But they also make their way into seawater and gradually spread throughout our entire environment. Through the cycle of nature, these chemicals end up in the rain, in our groundwater. Ultimately, they end up in our food and thus in us, if we haven't already inhaled them.

Forever Chemicals are Harmful to Health

But is it really so bad if PFAS are present in our environment? Yes, it is bad, because PFAS are considered harmful to health. Among other things, PFAS are considered carcinogenic, they reduce fertility and diminish the response to vaccines. In children, they can even delay development. If all that wasn't bad enough, the long-term effects of PFAS are still unclear.

Forever Chemicals Found in Rainwater Worldwide

Recently, a research team came to a shocking conclusion: PFAS are now found everywhere in the world in rainwater (and it doesn't matter where a sample is taken). The concentration of PFAS in rainwater has become so high that it is considered health-endangering by our health authorities (Spiegel reported on this here).

Judes Baby green cute cloth diapers

Photo by @isabelplett

What Are Other Problems with Disposable Diapers?

You've probably heard that children in cloth diapers tend to become dry faster than those in disposable diapers. But is there really any truth to that? Unfortunately, disposable diapers can easily lead to problems with becoming dry, as children can't feel when they're wet.

Disposable Diapers Can Cause Enuresis

Studies show that prolonged wearing of disposable diapers is increasingly associated with Enuresis, which is the medical term for wetting oneself beyond the age of 5 years. The longer wearing of disposable diapers causes these children to generate even more waste.

In a study conducted by Judes Family, more than 500 parents who used disposable diapers for their children were surveyed. The results showed that about 8% of parents diapered for 5 years or longer. Approximately one in four children were diapered for 4 years or longer. In contrast, the average diapering duration with cloth diapers: 2.2 years. Here you can find the results of the study with all the details.

Disposable Diapers Can Harm Male Fertility

Wearing disposable diapers can also have consequences for fertility, and not just because of the chemicals they contain, believe researchers from Kiel here. The prolonged use of disposable diapers can cause overheating in boys' testicles, leading to a low sperm count. More specifically, overheating affects their development. This can prevent the cells that later nourish the sperm from properly forming (see here).

Judes baby playing climbing cloth diaper

What's in Cloth Diapers or in Judes?

There are many different types of cloth diapers. Essentially, however, all cloth diapers are based on the same concept. The outer shell is waterproof to ensure that everything stays within the diaper. The core is designed to absorb urine while remaining soft on the skin.

Judes Uses a Two-Part System

Some models have an additional linings that catch solid waste. Judes consists of an inner diaper with a separate cover. Additionally, there is a diaper fleece (Poo Paper) and overnight inserts (Booster). The handling is self-explanatory, as it is super easy and almost like using disposable diapers.

Organic Cotton Sequesters CO₂

The Judes inner diapers are made from organic cotton with plastic Velcro closures. The advantage of using cotton over plastic also lies in the resources required. To produce plastic, one needs petroleum. Petroleum lies deep underground and is a limited resource. The cotton needed for cloth diapers grows on cotton plants and is a renewable resource that even sequesters CO₂.

Judes Can Support Potty Training

You might wonder what the advantage of cotton cloth diapers is. Diapers made from cotton are breathable, absorbent, and, most importantly, gentle on the skin (as you can also read here). By using organic cotton, Judes can help address issues such as delayed potty training or the overheating of the testicles.

If Polyester, Then 100% Recycled!

Unfortunately, cloth diapers can't completely do away with plastic. However, the choice of plastic can make a significant difference. That's why Judes covers are made of 100% recycled polyester.

The Required Plastic is Made to Last

On the inside of the cover, there is a polyurethane membrane to ensure water resistance. At Judes, this polyurethane membrane is protected by a second layer, so it has no direct contact with the outside. Since this membrane is sealed inward, it can be reused for an especially long time. Therefore, efforts are made to ensure that the necessary plastic is as durable as possible.

Diaper Liner from Germany Catches Feces

In Judes diapers, a diaper liner is placed inside the inner diaper to catch feces. As mentioned before, disposable diaper liners often contain plastic. Judes diaper liners are made from paper (Made in Germany). The overnight inserts, like the inner diapers, are made from organic cotton.

 Judes inner diaper white soft cotton

Why Use Cloth Diapers Instead of Eco-Diapers?

Eco-diapers must be good because the word "eco" is in their name. At least, that's what I thought. Disposable diapers are popular because they are readily available and do not require the additional effort associated with cloth diapers. The idea of using an eco-diaper seems very tempting. It's definitely better than a regular disposable diaper.

Eco-Diapers are Not Compostable

But our problem with the amount of waste does not change. One might think that because of the many biodegradable components, the eco-diaper can go into the organic waste. However, disposing of feces in organic waste is prohibited. Moreover, there are still numerous components that are not compostable, including the superabsorbent and parts made of plastic. Thus, the disposal problem remains.

Bioplastics Contain Chemicals

Some eco-diapers use bioplastics to avoid conventional petroleum-based plastics. At first glance, that doesn’t sound too bad. However, studies have found that bioplastics, just like conventional plastic made from petroleum, contain a lot of chemicals.

Chemicals in Bioplastics are Concerning

The effects on humans of bioplastics have not been sufficiently researched. Studies have shown that bioplastics contain toxic chemicals for both humans and the environment. As an example, bioplastics sourced from agriculture were mentioned, which have been proven to cause changes in plants. Therefore, bioplastics are not necessarily better than conventional plastics.

Eco-Diapers Often Lack an Eco-Friendly Absorbent Core

I wondered if at least the superabsorbent in eco-diapers was less chemical or not chemical at all. Unfortunately, no, because most eco-diapers still contain the chemical superabsorber. This means that health concerns remain even when using eco-diapers. The fact that eco-diapers cost significantly more than standard disposable diapers does not make them any more appealing either.

 Judes Baby on its tummy, bottom showing, wooden toy on a snug blanket

Photo by @kerstinbrigitteposch

What Role Does Transport Play in Diapers?

This is probably something few people consider. Yet, it plays a role. Depending on where the diapers and their respective materials come from, more or less CO₂ is emitted.

Sustainability is Affected by the Mode of Transport

The outlook is particularly bad if these are shipped by airplane or boat, covering long distances. Road transport also has disadvantages. The resulting tire wear produces microplastics, which spread throughout our environment.

Pallets are Wrapped in Plastic for Transportation

When transporting on pallets, the pallets are usually wrapped in long sheets of plastic film. If many components need to be transported over long distances from A to B, an enormous amount of plastic waste is generated. Moreover, disposable diapers are ultimately purchased by consumers in plastic packaging and disposed of in plastic bags at the end.

Judes Ensure the Shortest Possible Transport Path

Cloth diapers usually do not come from remote areas of the world. Judes are manufactured in Turkey and, accordingly, have a relatively short path of transport. When packaging Judes for consumers, cardboard and paper are used.

Judes package cloth diaper box

Are Cloth Diapers Less Sustainable Than Disposable Diapers Because of Washing?

What can be bad about washing cloth diapers? Two aspects had to be considered regarding the topic of Diaper Washing. One is the question of water consumption, and the other is the electricity or energy consumption.

Water Consumption of Disposable Diapers

Without considering the production of nonwoven fabric and superabsorbent, the water consumption of disposable diapers is already 202 L/kg. During the production of wood chips alone, 179 L/kg of water is used. The wood chips are used to make pulp. On top of that, 26 L/kg is used for the production of the pulp and 0.5 L/kg for the manufacture of the diapers (Data from the Federal Environment Agency). We as consumers cannot change the water consumption of disposable diapers. Here, the production dictates the water consumption.

A child needs 5000 to 6000 disposable diapers until they are potty trained. If a disposable diaper weighs 50g, this results in an incredible 55,500L of water per child!

Water Consumption of Cloth Diapers

In contrast is the water consumption for washing cloth diapers. The study by the Environment Agency calculated a consumption of 53L per load for energy efficiency class A at 60°C. Since a laundry load includes more than just 1kg of diapers, the difference from the 202 L/kg water consumption of disposable diapers is clearly noticeable.

If, as is usual with Judes, washing is done every 4 days, then we can count on 91 washes per year. With cloth diapers, children often become potty trained earlier (see here), so the diapering period is shorter than with disposable diapers. In this example, however, we assume that diapering lasts for 3 years: This results in 273 wash cycles. Thus, washing Judes generates a 14,000L water consumption. By the way, when washing Judes, household laundry can be added without hesitation. This would further improve the water balance of Judes.

Consumers Can Influence the Water Consumption of Cloth Diapers

With cloth diapers, we as consumers are responsible for the water consumption. A washing machine does not use nearly as much water per kilogram of laundry as is the case in the production of disposable diapers. Our modern washing machines are significantly more water-efficient than those from the study. Water treatment plants recycle the water, thus creating a cycle. Therefore, there isn't a real “consumption” of water.

Water Consumption in the Production of Judes

You want to know about the water consumption in the production of Judes? According to Vogue, organic cotton has a nominal "water consumption" of 243 L/kg. A Judes inner diaper weighs 100g, resulting in a rain-"water consumption" of about 24.3 L per diaper.

We purposefully put "water consumption" in quotes because it involves rainwater, which is naturally not extracted from groundwater. In contrast, disposable diapers utilize groundwater or treated water. This, in turn, means a higher energy expenditure for water extraction in disposable diaper production. In terms of water consumption, cloth diapers therefore still have a clear advantage.

Judes Baby summer outfit, cute baby nest, hat, cloth diaper

Photo by @kerstinbrigitteposch

Energy Consumption of Cloth Diapers

In addition to water, washing cloth diapers also consumes electricity or energy. The study by the Environment Agency calculated an energy consumption of 1 kWh per diaper load at 60°C for a machine with A+ energy efficiency rating. Current models have an energy consumption of less than 1 kWh.

The less electricity used for washing, the more sustainable it naturally becomes. Since a wash at 90°C consumes more electricity than at 60°C, washing at 60°C is recommended. Additionally, using green electricity further enhances the sustainability of the washing cycles.

Energy Consumption of Disposable Diapers

Our energy consumption of 1 kWh per laundry load compares to 4.98 kWh per kg of disposable diapers. The energy consumption for the production of wood chips is 0.11 kWh. In the production of pulp, the energy is divided into 1.75 kWh of steam from renewable energy, 0.47 kWh of electricity, and 1.58 kWh of natural gas.

The manufacture of the diapers then requires an additional 0.67 kWh of electricity and 0.05 kWh of natural gas. Transport accounts for 0.34 kWh. In total, we have an energy consumption of 4.98 kWh per kg of disposable diapers, with 3.21 kWh not generated from renewable energies. You can find all these data here. Even in terms of energy consumption, cloth diapers perform significantly better than disposable diapers.

What Are the CO Balances Like?

According to the Federal Environment Agency, the generation of 1 kWh of electricity requires 485 g of CO₂ equivalents (as of 2021). This includes all types of electricity (eco-electricity and non-eco-electricity). What are CO₂ equivalents? In addition to CO₂, other gases contribute to the greenhouse effect, which are considered in the CO₂ equivalents.

Since the All-in Set only needs to be washed every 4 days, we proceed with the following calculation:
Washing every 4 days for 3 years results in 274 laundry loads. 274 laundry loads require 274 kWh of electricity, thus emitting about 133 kg of CO₂ equivalents.

In contrast, according to the Environment Agency study, disposable diapers consume 550 kg of CO₂ equivalents per child. The share of green electricity in Germany amounts to about 41% (as of 2021), according to the Federal Environment Agency. The more people use green electricity, the better the average CO₂ balance when washing. The CO₂ balance of cloth diapers is already better on average than that of disposable diapers. Additionally, we have the potential to further improve the CO₂ balance of cloth diapers.

Judes wetbag washing machine easy cloth diaper

What Can I Do to Enhance the Efficiency of Washing Cloth Diapers?

Washing does not diminish the sustainability of cloth diapers. That should be clear by now. But what can I do to make my laundry process even more sustainable and perhaps even more economical?

In some cities, a diaper service is offered. This service collects cloth diapers and washes them. This ensures efficient washing. Such a service is certainly nice, especially since you don't have to do the washing yourself. Whether you save more time with it is questionable. Cloth diapers can also be washed at home without much effort efficiently.

To wash cloth diapers efficiently, the machine should always be fully loaded. A washing temperature of 60°C is recommended, as it uses the least energy while still delivering the necessary hygienic performance.

Studies Confirm the Influence of Consumers on the Water Consumption of Cloth Diapers

The impact consumers can have on the sustainability of cloth diapers was also demonstrated in a study by the Environment Agency in 2006. It was found that users of the cloth diapers studied could have the potential to improve the impact profile of diaper use per child over 2.5 years by up to 40%.

Consider the Sustainability of the Detergent

In addition to water consumption, the detergent plays a role too. Many liquid detergents contain microplastics and are packaged in plastic bottles. Powder detergents, depending on the brand, are also often sold in plastic packaging. Whether powder or liquid, it should definitely be a sustainable or eco-friendly detergent if you want to focus on sustainability.

With Judes Family Care, our all-purpose detergent, washing cloth diapers becomes easier, more sustainable, and gentler on the skin. Our detergent is also excellent for gentle and thorough cleaning of children and baby clothes.

Does Drying Harm the Sustainability of Cloth Diapers?

This is a question that likely concerns many. Yes, drying cloth diapers can indeed diminish their sustainability. Air drying is naturally always better than using a dryer. If you must or choose to use a dryer, it's important to opt for a model that is as energy-efficient as possible.

Air Drying is Easy and Fast

Air drying cloth diapers is not rocket science either. Outside in the summer, it naturally dries particularly fast. But even throughout the rest of the year, cloth diapers dry quickly. Models with separate inner diapers and covers, as is the case with Judes, dry especially quickly. Judes are also much thinner than other cloth diapers, making them dry even faster.

Cloth Diapers Have Lower Environmental Impacts Than Disposable Diapers

On the whole, it can be said that with optimal energy use and optimized water consumption, cloth diapers have significantly lower environmental impacts than disposable diapers. This is also the conclusion reached by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Judes cloth diaper sky dry clothesline

To What Extent Can Cloth Diapers Be Reused?

The reusability of cloth diapers speaks to their usage. You buy a certain amount of diapers and just need to wash them over and over again. There are no ongoing high costs incurred.

Stopping to think about the reusability of cloth diapers at this point is not thinking sustainably enough. The more children you have, the more worthwhile it is to use cloth diapers. If you have only one child, you can resell the diapers or you can buy them second-hand yourself.

Cloth Diapers Can Be Repaired

To get the most out of cloth diapers, more can be done. It’s best to adhere to the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. If a cloth diaper gets damaged, it doesn’t have to end up in the trash. A repair not only saves the environment but also saves money.

 Judes blue cloth diaper baby playing book

Conclusion: A Brief Summary on Why Cloth Diapers are More Sustainable than Disposable Diapers

That was surely a lot of information for you. Therefore, I'll summarize it once again. My research clearly shows that cloth diapers are more sustainable than disposable diapers.

Apart from the general plastic problem, disposable diapers are a huge waste issue. They contain chemicals that can harm the delicate baby bottoms. The health of our children is also at risk, with impacts that affect their entire lives. I'm talking, among other things, about disruptions to reproduction or overall development.

It’s not only during their use that disposable diapers can cause harm. Throughout their entire lifecycle, disposable diapers generate a lot of waste and significant environmental damage. Unfortunately, eco-friendly disposable diapers do not offer an environmentally friendly alternative.

Cloth diapers provide a sensible solution to the waste problem and require significantly less plastic. Also, in terms of washing and drying, cloth diapers fare much better than disposable diapers. Not to mention that by using cloth diapers, we do something for the health of our children and our environment.

Did you like my article? Feel free to write your thoughts in the comments!

 

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.