Updated on 03.05.12

Use Cloth Diapers (64/365)

Trent Hamm

When Sarah and I first started cloth diapering, quite a few of our family and friends thought we were completely crazy. Rather than focusing on the mountain of benefits (it is incredibly less expensive if you have multiple children, it’s far better for the environment), they focused on one of the drawbacks, which is actually fairly negligible. It does take more time, on the order of two or three extra seconds per diaper change.

The thing is, when we started showing people the system we had set up along with the numbers on how much we were saving over the lifetime of our three children, they began to pay a lot more attention.

Cloth diapering is a big money saver. It puts less material into landfills. It can take a bit longer, but it doesn’t take very much longer if you have a sensible system in place.

Use Cloth Diapers (64/365)

There are a lot of different types of cloth diapers out there. We’ve tried several, ranging from the very inexpensive low-end (which I don’t recommend) to some of the higher-end diapers that function just as well as a disposable, such as BumGenius.

The calculations we used revolved around the fact that disposable diapers average about $0.20 a pop, so we would have to divide the cost of the cloth diaper by 0.2 to see how many times we’d have to use it before it would become less expensive than disposable diapers. The one linked above, for example, costs $17.95, so you’d have to use it about 90 times for it to be less expensive per use than cloth diapers.

We estimate that our children would use one of the cloth diapers about every three days while on diapers (up until about two years old), so, per child, a single cloth diaper would get about 240 uses. In other words, we would reach a point where it was cost-effective to cloth diaper with just one kid. Over three kids? Let’s just say we’ve used some of the diapers hundreds of times and they’re truly ready for the rag bag, but we got a lot of value from those diapers. One cloth diaper replaced multiple jumbo boxes of disposable diapers. We saved hundreds of dollars – no exaggeration – by cloth diapering.

So, what did our system look like? We simply had a single hamper in which we tossed the dirty cloth diapers after changing the baby (we also used cloth wipes). Then, once every three days or so, we would wash those diapers in a single load. Some of the particularly foul ones would get a pre-wash over the toilet basin. We’d then fold up the clean ones (usually while watching a movie or something after the kids were in bed) and put them in the usual places where diapers were needed (in the diaper bag and so on).

With disposable diapers, we still had to toss them, but we would also fill up our trash quite a bit more quickly, which meant more trips taking out the trash, which does add up to some significant time and cost (more trash bags, the potential for “extra garbage” fees), never mind the environmental impact.

One of the challenges of cloth diapering is the startup cost. Buying enough diapers to start a cloth diapering routine can be a daunting cost, particularly if you’re not sure you want to do it.

If you’re considering trying this, ask for cloth diapers at any baby showers you might be having. Specify a good brand that’s easily available via Amazon (like BumGenius) and use those as a starting-off point.

Also, you can mix cloth diapering and disposable diapering, something that many cloth diapering parents do because of the challenges of travel with cloth diapers. Use disposable diapers on occasion and use the cloth diapers while at home or at child care.

A single cloth diaper can easily save you $50 in disposable diapers if used consistently over multiple children. I’m speaking purely from experience as well when I say it’s nowhere near as difficult as you might think it would be, particularly if you get a system in place to handle the diapers.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere. Images courtesy of Brittany Lynne Photography, the proprietor of which is my “photography intern” for this project.

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  1. Baley says:

    Yay! My favorite money-saving tip! I wish Brittany had gotten a picture of a baby in a cloth diaper. Fluffy bums are so much cuter than disposable-clad bums. Anyway, thanks for this post. The savings really are significant!

  2. Matt says:

    If you’re just considering cloth diapering, there are NUMEROUS online retailers who will let you test them out for a time (Jillian’s Drawers being the one we’ve used, but there are several similar).

    You pay a nominal fee (around $10-20) and a deposit (usually around $150). You get a mixed bag of diaper types to try for a month or more. Then you send back the ones you don’t want (or even all of them) and can either get your deposit back or use it toward ones you do want.

    For less than the cost of disposable diapering for a month, I think it’s worth checking out if you’re at all interested.

  3. Laundry Lady says:

    As Trent said, there are many options for cloth diapers some of which run even less expensive, though not necessarily too much less inconvenient. You can sometimes buy items new or barely used on Ebay or Craigslist and sell any you end up not liking. After three kids, Trent is right that the diapers may be almost ready for the rag bag, but many of the components such as prefolds or the microfiber inserts from pocket diapers can be easily repurposed for cleaning and other household tasks, saving additional money on disposable cleaning supplies. As a cloth diaper family I can say this is a huge cost savings, and we are to the point where we rarely buy disposable diapers. The other plus is that the conversion to cloth diapers got us to reevaluate the other disposable products in our home and we have since significantly cut down on the usage of paper towels and other disposable cleaning products. As a family of three, soon to be family of four, we only produce one small kitchen bag of garbage per week. Try comparing that the bags and bags most families will small children go through every week. This literally does save us money since in our city we have to contract for our own garbage pickup.

  4. Adam P says:

    This is a good tip. Frugal, environmental, and admirable (in my eyes). If I ever have kids I’m going to give cloth diapering a shot. I just am a little weary of the..um…complications.

  5. lurker carl says:

    Cloth diapers really can save money. I recommend washing them daily rather than once every three days or so. The smell factor can be overwhelming by then and you can get by with fewer diapers.

  6. Jane says:

    I let the diapers soak in the washer with this great stuff called Bac-Out. You can buy it at Whole Foods and it really keeps the stink out. Of course if you are soaking in your washer, you have to plan around your other loads of wash.

    I am a casual cloth diaper user. We use a lot of disposables as well, but I like to have about 10 cloth on hand as well. When I motivated, I use them instead and figure I “save” about 15 cents each time I use one, if you factor in the water and electricity.

  7. rebecca says:

    The only challenge to this is often if you don’t have easy access to a washer and dryer. When our first was born, we lived 3 stories up and 1 building over from the nearest laundry facilities. That added to my C section recovery meant there was no way I could drag a bag of dirty diapers over there plus baby to do wash that often. When we were looking for our next apartment shortly after our son’s birth, my only demand, other than 2 bedrooms, was in suite washer and dryer. Especially a good choice given our second was born just days before the oldest turned 1.

    We used primarily prefolds (get good quality ones) and waterproof wraps and I think I spent less than $100 for everything for all my kids. I did need a few more wraps by the time #3 was born.

  8. Marinda says:

    Oh, I miss my cloth diapers! These were the fold myself kind and I loved them. We used a diaper service the first three months and then did it for ourselves. The one factor not considered is the wear and tear on a washing machine. But then I am writing to people who have babies and children and do loads of laundry daily, so wear and tear is to be expected.

    After the kids were out of diapers, these wonderful lint free cloths were amazing cleaning machines. Thanks for the post, it brings back great memories.

  9. Kai says:

    Are you seriously telling me that the first concern people had with cloth diapers is the extra time?????

    As opposed to smell, and concern about germs in the washer, and general ‘gross factor’ concerns?

    I’m not speaking against them, and I can see how any gross factor isn’t any worse than the rest of having a baby in general, but I really find it hard to believe that you could bring up cloth diapers to a group and have them wonder about *time*.

  10. Riki says:

    In my circles, cloth diapers are really popular. Most people I know get a diaper sprayer attachment that hooks onto their toilet and makes it really easy to rinse dirty diapers.

    The environmental benefits and savings make it an attractive option.

  11. Amanda says:

    This is one of those things were I weight the time/hassle vs. the money. I don’t have a lot of time these days, so I think I will take the tradeoff!! The time factor is more the extra laundry… you need to be around enough to run the load through the laundry several times in a row and then dry them. Maybe if I stayed at home full time…

  12. lurker carl says:

    We washed diapers as soon as the baby was changed. They were hand washed using a glass washboard in a small pail within a laundry tub in a mild bleach and soap solution. Rinse, scald, wring, and air dry. It only took a few minutes each time.

    I can’t imagine saving enough soiled diapers to run a load in the washing machine. Yuck.

  13. Gretchen says:

    How can you count things like extra garbage bags but not the cost of running the extra loads of luandry?

  14. I spent $150 on a huge batch of cloth diapers a friend of mine had sewn for her children….

    So far I’ve used it for my first and am planning on using them for my second and third child (second is on the way soon). My son is the third using these diapers and they’ll cover five altogether. Isn’t that incredible?

  15. Angie says:

    It looks like I’m in the minority here, and I am pretty frugal with most things, but allowed myself disposable diapers and wipes.

  16. valleycat1 says:

    #15 Angie – I LOVED the convenience of disposables when my child was in diapers years ago. Of course, that was back when one still used diaper pins & had to fold cloth diapers to fit. And we could afford it.

    Now that the first grandbaby is on the way, their plan is to use cloth diapers after the first couple of weeks (someone gifted a huge batch of newborn disposables at a shower).

    Even many of the parents most vocal about cloth will use disposables when traveling or out & about during the day.

  17. pollyanna says:

    @kai well if washing cloth diapers in the washer grosses you out then maybe washing clothes that the diaper leaked in because oops the tab came loose. or when as they get older and get sick all over their bed and you need to wash sheets?
    I loved my cloth diapers enjoyed every moment of washing and folding them. disposables stink when i used them never had a stinky cloth diaper. oh they added about a load of laundry a week for me since i had to go to my mom’s to do them i know :)

  18. Kerry D. says:

    We appreciated saving money using cloth diapers, especially on our 2nd and 3rd kids. Occasional disposables to round things out.

    I wanted to add that the disposables did have plenty of leakage issues, so we found cloth at least as effective to contain everything.

    And, that using cloth helped our children feel the wetness, to be come aware of their body working. The disposables absorbed so quickly, that the message got lost. And the kids were less motivated to stay dry when they were older and learning to use the toilet.

  19. Gillian says:

    In terms of the environmental costs, I do think the same thing about sanitary protection, but the idea of reusable cloth pads (I can’t do the Mooncup) is really unappealing. I still feel guilty about the amount of waste it generates, though.

  20. Elysian says:

    Don’t you need a whole new sized set as the child grows? How many different sizes do you need? How many do you need in each set?
    Some practical advice on this vein might stop people from over-buying (not frugal!).

  21. Roberta says:

    Our fourth has been out of diapers for 10 years now so things may have changed but… from the first one born in 1989 through the last, I never had a child care setting which would take cloth diapers. Didn’t want to deal with the mess factor, I expect. So we used cloth at home and those were the days when the all in ones and diaper wraps were just beginning to appear so we used the fold them yourself and plastic pants. We may have spent more money on disposables, but it allowed our family all the benefits of my professional career. The tradeoff was worth it to us.

  22. Emma says:

    If one lives in rural area and has no water bill why not wash cloth diapers daily(small setting) or at least soaked them?

  23. Sara says:

    I can see why it’s difficult to find a photograph that fits an article like opting out of overdraft protection, but was this really the best photo Brittany could get for cloth diapering? How about, as Baley (comment #1) suggested, a picture of a cute baby in a cloth diaper? Or a stack of clean diapers on a changing table? Actually, the gDiapers ad that showed up at the bottom of the page is a much better fit for this article than the photo. IMHO, taking a picture of a web page on a laptop doesn’t show much thought or effort.

  24. Lilly says:

    @ #19 Gillian
    I probably sound like a huge hippie, but I will NEVER go back to disposable pads… of course it took me probably a year of hearing about cloth pads on cloth diapering message boards (and going “Ew gross”) before I tried them. They are infinitely more comfortable than disposable pads, IMO. The biggest issue is probably getting them washed if you aren’t already washing diapers. I can see where having to deal with the washing would turn people off (but once you have to deal with washing cloth diapers anyways, it’s easy to just rinse and throw them in with the diapers)

  25. Geoff Hart says:

    My wife and I used cloth diapers for our kids, but because we were both too busy to add so many extra laundry loads per week (we had to use a laundromat), buying our own wasn’t an option. Instead, we hired a diaper service that delivered a fresh load every Monday and took away the soiled ones. The economics were highly favorable because it was much cheaper than laundromat costs. Sadly, it’s been more than 20 years, so I can’t provide hard numbers.

    The one exception was that we used disposables when we traveled. We used to have a 10-hour drive back home to visit our parents three times per year (usually split into two 5-hour segments), and cloth diapers just didn’t work for that situation: they don’t hold enough liquids, and storing a dozen soiled diapers in an overheated car during the Canadian winter was a non-starter.

  26. Kevin says:

    I don’t buy the “environmental” argument. Aren’t modern disposable diapers made of a biodegradeable corn-based plastic? And the – *ahem* – “contents” of the diapers are, of course, completely biodegradeable. And even if they weren’t, and it took 10,000 years to break down, who cares? We bury them and build a park on top of it.

    As long as it’s not contaminating the water table or emitting radiation, who really cares what’s 50 feet beneath the grass? Sand, granite, diapers – who cares?

  27. Lilly says:

    We also use dish towels/rags/”unpaper” towels instead of paper towels. It has been almost a year since we bought paper towels and I don’t miss them at all :)

    Regardless of how ridiculous his blog has gotten, I DO have to give Trent credit for starting me on the road to cloth diapering. This blog is literally the first place I ever heard about cloth diapering, right around the time we found out we were going to have a baby (3 years ago) and I am very grateful for that!

  28. Lilly says:

    @ #26 Kevin, no I don’t think disposable diapers are biodegradable… I mean there are some eco-friendly brands that are, but the majority of mainstream brands are not (can’t post links, but google “are pampers biodegradable”)

    And I think the biggest thing is that, biodegradable or not, it’s one more thing getting thrown in the trash. Some people don’t care about that (you may not), but a lot of people do.

  29. Tom says:

    I consider myself cheap/frugal, but cloth diapers were too gross for me, and gross or inconvenient for my wife. We both really wanted to, and we both couldn’t stomach it. It’s one thing to wipe up after the baby, it’s another to dunk the diaper in the toilet prior to throwing it in the bin. Blech.
    The one linked above, for example, costs $17.95, so you’d have to use it about 90 times for it to be less expensive per use than cloth diapers.
    You mean less expensive than disposable, right?

    We estimate that our children would use one of the cloth diapers about every three days while on diapers (up until about two years old), so, per child, a single cloth diaper would get about 240 uses.
    This sentence is horribly confusing to me. It almost sounds like you’re saying you used the same diaper for 3 days when I think you mean that you got about 240 uses out of a given diaper over 2 years. Using the $18 per diaper above, that cost you about $0.08 per use.

  30. SwingCheese says:

    @Lily (24) and @Gillian (19): I made the switch almost 10 years ago now, and I regret nothing. And although I have had to spend a few times over the course of that decade (to buy more pads, for example), it is nothing compared to what I’d have spent if I were buying disposables. In my experience, the “Ew, gross” factor is what turns people off the idea, but once I got over that, it’s been smooth sailing.

  31. Liz says:

    My husband and I are expecting our first, and while he’s not exactly enthusiastic over the cloth diapering plan, he’s willing to give it a try. I hope to make it as easy as I can on him at the beginning, since I changed my first cloth diaper when I was five (Mom hurt her back, and she was supervising, but she couldn’t move without wanting to cry). I honestly don’t think I realized there was another kind of diaper until my youngest sibling was almost out of diapers. And those were the diaper pins and plastic pants kind of cloth diapers.
    As an added bonus, which I think I’ve mentioned here before, my mother in law refuses to have anything to do with cloth diapering. Which, sadly, means she won’t be able to baby sit. I’m brokenhearted. Or something like that ;D

  32. Golfing Girl says:

    My disposable diapers (Target brand) run 14.4 cents/diaper. And Trent doesn’t factor the extra energy and water used to wash the cloth diapers. It’s probably closer to a very small savings when given that. However, it’s hard to put a price on the environment.

  33. Matt says:

    @ Golfing Girl – for what size diaper? As they get bigger, the cost per diaper rises quite a bit…

  34. tentaculistic says:

    #29 – “It’s one thing to wipe up after the baby, it’s another to dunk the diaper in the toilet prior to throwing it in the bin. Blech.”

    My doulla friend (cloth diapering 3 kids) is adamant that dunking cloth diapers in the toilet is outdated advice that is not necessary with today’s washers. Every site I have read so far about cloth diapers agrees. So I think maybe you were going about cloth diapering using (word-of-mouth?) methods from 20 years ago… it might not be nearly as gross to cloth diaper as it used to be. Plus new cloth diapers are just adorable. This is passed-on wisdom, but I figure a natural childbirth doulla would be up on the latest in natural child-rearing :)

    As to whether it’s grosser to wash poop-covered diaper in a washing machine, well that’s what washing machines do, and apparently it gets the diapers clean and doesn’t contaminate the next load of clothes. So it might be worth re-considering cloth diapers, if your kid(s) are still of that age.

  35. tentaculistic says:

    Oh – one other thing that would be of concern with working moms is that (by report of coworkers and family) most daycare won’t do cloth diapers. They require disposables – easier on them, and they don’t have to launder or keep track of whose diaper is whose, etc.

  36. Telephus44 says:

    I did some cloth diapering with my first son. Overall, it was a positive experience, but no one else wanted to deal with it – my daycare or my MIL who was watching him on a regular basis. I figured we used cloth diapers about 25% of the time. Now that we’re expecting #2, I realize that the start-up costs to purchase more cloth diapers aren’t going to save money if I use them that rarely. Unless I manage to use them about half the time, it’s cheaper to buy disposable. This is also the last child for us, so I don’t have the cost savings from using them for multiple children.

    It’s something I enjoy doing, and if I were a SAHM I would do in a heartbeat. But in my current situation I have a hard time justifying it. I do use cloth moon pads, and have no problem with the ick factor.

  37. Kevin says:

    @Golfing Girl:

    “However, it’s hard to put a price on the environment.”

    Again, I ask: How do disposable diapers harm the environment?

    They end up in a landfill. Agreed. We bury them under 50 feet of dirt. Agreed.

    Then what?

    They sit there for 10,000 years.

    So what? How is the “environment harmed” by having diapers sit under 50 feet of dirt and rock for an indefinite period of time?

    What’s 50 feet beneath your feet right now? Is it clay? Sand? Granite? Garbage? More importantly: Does it matter? If so, why? I submit that it does NOT in fact matter. The surface above it is plenty usable. I’m saying this whole “environment” nonsense is overblown, and there’s nothing wrong with burying garbage (with the caveat that hazardous materials are diverted appropriately, and the water table is protected).

  38. Tom says:

    “My doulla friend (cloth diapering 3 kids) is adamant that dunking cloth diapers in the toilet is outdated advice that is not necessary with today’s washers. Every site I have read so far about cloth diapers agrees.”

    I was taking instructions from my wife, who was likely getting them from her mother (so yea, the advice was 20+ years old :) )
    I’m not sure she would go for not-pretreating them. We got standard trifolds from Babies-R-Us. Never tried the more expensive kind, and now that our daughter is down to a few diaper changes a day, we’ll start again. But the convenience factor of disposables is a strong one!

    Regarding extra energy/water consumption from disposables, I haven’t run numbers, but its got to be just pennies per load. I think the washer and dryer cost less than $100 a year to operate total. Add on that, with a new family member you were bound to increase the laundry anyway…

  39. Tom says:

    *I mean “now that our daughter is down to a few diaper changes a day, MAYBE we’ll try it again”*

    and “extra energy/water consumption from REUSABLES*”

  40. Baley says:

    Apparently some comments are too long and get stuck in moderation. Oh well. Most issues have been addressed, but I’d like to add for the one person who asked that an easy (and frugal) way to get diapers is to buy them in the “one-size” size so they last from close to birth (about 3-4 weeks for small babies) to potty training. We actually used disposables for the newborn period, then just needed one set of 20 diapers for the rest of the diaper days. (And the disposables were all given to us at our baby shower). As to the environment, I suppose if landfill space weren’t a concern, maybe we wouldn’t need to worry about diapers filling up landfills and not biodegrading, but in addition to that there is the production costs to consider. Only one cloth diaper is needed in place of a couple hundred disposables, for one. Also, there are toxic chemicals in disposable diapers that aid in their absorption capabilities. Plus, raw sewage isn’t supposed to go to the landfills, it’s supposed to be flushed in the toilet and go to proper sewage treatment facilities. All of these factors are negatives for the environment, but if that’s not important for some people, there are still lots of other reasons to use cloth.

  41. Roberta says:

    Lilly at #27 – I’m just curious that you say you’d never heard of cloth diapers until Trent mentioned it. What do you think people used until the mid-1960’s or so when the first disposables came out?

  42. EngineerMom says:

    I always get the giggles when someone starts going off about the “sanitary” aspect of running soiled cloth diapers through a washing machine. Clearly, you have never actually changed a poop-splosion If the diaper is the only thing that gets dirty, consider yourself fortunate!

    I tried cloth diapering with both my kids. It didn’t work, even when we had the wonderful gift of a diaper service (does all the diaper laundry for us) with my daughter. My kids pee like crazy. I swear my son had a bladder the size of an adult on the day he was born, and my daughter is the same. By the time I had enough diaper thickness just to keep the kid dry for an hour or two, there was so much material between their legs it was ridiculous. And don’t even get me started on nighttime wetting. We tried everything with my son (microfiber inserts in cloth diapers, triple-stuffed cloth diapers, Huggies Overnights, etc.), and finally just bought enough extra sheets that we could change the bedding daily until he was old enough for the “UnderJams” which seem to hold more urine. The kid would just not wake up if he was wet – we’d go in to get him in the morning and he’d be sitting in a puddle!

    Cloth diapers are a great alternative, definitely much cuter than disposables if nothing else, but sometimes they really don’t work for certain children. Add to that the fact that infant and toddler clothing is no longer cut to fit around bulkier cloth diapers. My kids as infants were in the 99th percentile for height and weight. That means my 7-month-old is growing out of the 18-month clothing and will likely be in 2T stuff by her first birthday, just like her brother was. No room for bulky cloth diapers in the T-sizes!

  43. Lilly says:

    @#43 Roberta
    Honestly, I didn’t pay much attention to diapers before I was pregnant, so I probably didn’t even realize anything other than disposable diapers had ever existed. For being a reasonably intelligent person, I can be pretty dense when it comes to things outside my sphere of actual experience (case in point – I was in college before I realized there was a such thing as homemade waffles… I thought all waffles came in a box labeled Eggo.)
    I’m sure I would have found out about cloth diapers eventually, once I got involved in all the mommy forums… but I literally remember reading about cloth diapers on here before I even knew I was pregnant (I suspected but hadn’t tested yet) and spending an entire weekend researching all the different types and bookmarking cloth diapering sites.

  44. Laundry Lady says:

    @#26 Kevin
    Actually the problem is that disposable diapers do contaminate the water table because they are filled with raw sewage. The waste is supposed to be dumped out and then the diaper thrown away, but almost no one does that. Instead we wrap them in more layers of plastic to cover the smell assuring that they will never biodegrade. The average American child will produce 1 ton of garbage in the form of diapers and disposable wipes (not including diaper genie bags) before potty training. (This assumes potty training at age 2, and many children don’t. That stat is courtesy of Real Diapers and Kelly’s Closet).

    I will admit whenever anyone says that the environmental factor of additional washing makes cloth diapers equal to disposables I wonder if those people also use only disposable plates and cookware as well as disposable clothing. After all, clothing and cloth diapers are made of many of the same ingredients and I’ve yet to have anyone propose that it would be more environmentally friendly to throw away my baby’s clothing rather than wash it.

  45. zoranian says:

    I cloth diapered my son for about 9 months, and it was relatively easy and definitely cost effective, but when he started crawling he got a horrible rash around his thighs. I’ve tried it a few times since then and he still gets the rash, so I think he developed a reaction to the elastic or it the cloth is just too thick between his legs. He has very dry, relatively sensitive skin. Apparently the disposables are better for his particular skin sensitivities.

    As far as # 44, the laundry lady, most newer landfills are lined and covered so that the garbage (much of which is full of toxic chemicals, not just diapers) does not leach into the water table. One of the main environmental impacts is actually that disposable diapers are shipped all over the country (using oil for gasoline) and that petroleum-based non-renewable resources are used to manufacture the super-absorbent chemicals in diapers, including most of the “green” chlorine free diapers. With regard to landfills, we would make a lot more impact mandating recycling programs for businesses than switching to cloth, eventually even the cloth diapers do get thrown away.

  46. Kate says:

    I have grown children, but I was an on again-off again cloth diaperer. Were I to do it again, I probably would do the same thing.
    We have a huge problem in this country with the idea that something that is corn-based is biodegradable. It is–under optimum biodegrading circumstances. Which almost never happens. I went to a conference that was all hyped up about the fact that it was earth friendly because it was using corn-based throwaway cups. I brought two of them home and left one out in the yard and put one in my compost pile. Two years later, the cup in the yard is still a cup and the cup in the compost pile is crunched from the pitchfork but still a recognizable cup. Either would (or should) be considered litter if I threw it out my car window.

  47. jim says:

    As others have pointed out, landfills are designed to capture and contain the garbage so that it shouldn’t escape into the water table.
    The EPA has a big pile of rules that landfills must adhere to and laws do regulate landfills. But that doesn’t mean they are always obeyed properly or that the rules are enforced aggressively.
    While landfills *shouldn’t* contaminate the environment, they *could* if things don’t work properly and the leaks aren’t found and fixed.

  48. Joanna says:

    @Laundry Lady: I always wonder that same thing about people’s clothing, etc. Plus, the cloth-is-just-as-bad-for-the-environment set always complains about the water. To that I say “do you not flush the toilet when you use it?” How do you think that’s flushing.

    As for the gross factor, we’re cloth diapering an 8 month old right now. When she was exclusively breastfed we did absolutely nothing to the diapers prior to washing. Just took them off and tossed them in an old trash can that was lined with a wet bag (like a trash bag but reusable). On diaper day it all (including the wet bag) got tossed into the washer and off we went. Now that she’s on solids it’s even easier and less stinky. Since her poop is solid it just falls off into the toilet. No sprayer, no scraping, nothing. Then we toss the diaper, free of poop, into the same pail. It doesn’t stink at all b/c there’s no poop. We do use disposables at day care and actually toss that poop in the toilet as well b/c I don’t want it sitting around in a trash can. (Now THAT is gross!) IT really is unbelievably easy. The only downside was the transition period between ebf poop & solids poop. Oh, and no blowouts with cloth. None. We use bum genius primarily. (Though I also love fuzzibunz!)

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