Contact Me:


Monday, May 17, 2010

LIES! Disposables vs. Cloth

My advocacy of cloth diapering does not just extend to this new green chic movement or the fact that cloth is free of chemicals. It also has to do with respecting the planet and making a conscious effort to reverse some of the damage that our disposable lifestyle is causing. Of course, if every baby was put in cloth diapers then companies like Huggies and Pampers would be in BIG trouble. So, what did Pampers decide to do to avoid competition? They decided to publish a completely mythical and untrue report trying to dispel the truths about real diapering. If you have a blog, please feel free to copy my post or write your own in an effort to end the litany of lies that seem to come from big companies that certainly do not have our children's best interest at heart.

This is what Pampers published, my commentary is in red.

Myth: Cloth diapers are better for my baby.
Fact: Disposable diapers like Pampers were developed to offer babies benefits that cloth diapers could not meet. That goes beyond convenience to helping keep babies' skin dryer and more comfortable by reducing leaks and locking wetness inside the diaper in a way that cloth doesn't. As a result, doctors and parents simply don't see the same level of diaper rash that used to exist before disposable diapers.
This is totally false. I have had leaks and blowouts in disposables, but NEVER in cloth. Furthermore, we have never had any serious diaper rash. In fact, her skin is so healthy because of cloth diapers, I still have 60% left of the tube of butt paste I bought before Olivia was even born. Never has a rash lasted longer than a day. Cloth diapers are made of materials that allow the skin to breathe, and are free of cancerous and irritating chemicals like disposables.

Fact: In October 2008, the United Kingdom's Environment Agency published an update to its 2005 Life Cycle Assessment study on cloth versus disposable diapers. The update confirmed the earlier study's findings that there is no clear winner in terms of environmental impacts between disposable and cloth diapers in the U.K., once all factors such as water, energy, detergent, and disposal are considered.
Myth: Developing countries prove that cloth diapers are better than disposable diapers.
There is no way that cloth diapering impacts the environment in a more negative way than disposable diapers. When considering disposables, you have to think of all the waste that is involved with factories producing millions of these diapers a year around the world. Cloth diapers can be washed in cold water if necessary and hung to dry. Especially now with the prevalence of high-efficiency washers less water is used. Also, homemade laundry detergents can be used to clean diapers so no harmful pollutants are dumped into the water systems. Millions of garbage diapers sit in landfills for years and years. Reusable diapers can be recycled and used as burp rags, wash cloths, and more. They can also be used for several children. Can Pampers do that? I do not think so.

Fact: Our product provides key benefits in terms of skin health, dryness, and even sleep. In China, for example, we've learned that babies and parents are frequently awakened during the night each time the baby soaks the bed, because the baby has no diaper or a very thin piece of cloth. As a result, studies have shown that a disposable diaper can help a baby there get a better night's sleep. In another test, we have also seen less fecal contamination spread around the home using disposables versus cloth or nothing.
Clearly, we have a lot to learn about how to help with basic hygiene needs in countries that have very different access to clean water to wash with, and how to best dispose of products after use. We've also learned about hygiene for older children through our Always feminine care business – where in many parts of the world girls are forced to miss school one week each month during their period because they don't have enough pads or fresh water.
We are working in those regions to better understand what they do with products after use, and how to work with local agencies and other businesses to ensure the best long-term system to manage it.
This logic is so erroneous and nonsensical I do not know even know how to start dissecting it. What in the world are they talking about? See how they tied in another one of their products into this so-called "informative" article? They are using China as an example of why disposable diapers are better, but China is a country that implements elimination communication more often than any Western country (although it is coming into the American natural baby mainstream more often in the recent years). Why in the world are they using China to prove this point??

Myth: Disposable diapers are harmful to the environment.
Fact: All of the component materials in Pampers diapers are gentle to consumers and safe for the environment. Pampers diapers are made of materials that are also frequently used in a wide range of other consumer products. We are committed to continuing to reduce our environmental impact. For example, Pampers has decreased its diaper weight by one-third and packaging weight by two-thirds. And innovative technologies, raw materials, and product design improvements have led to significant reductions in energy, water use, emissions, and waste at our plants. We are working so that our diapers in the future will have less impact on the environment than even today's diapers.
This is not true. Pampers are still made with chemicals and bleach which are worn close to baby's skin but also dumped into our water systems and in landfills. Not only do we have to consider the diapers themselves, but also the packaging of the diapers and production of the different materials used to make them.

Myth: The materials that make up Pampers diapers are depleting our forests.
Fact: The pulp used in our diapers comes from well-managed forests in North America. In some cases, we source our pulp from scrap wood chips from lumber and saw mills. Our pulp suppliers are required to be certified by an independent third party as practicing sustainable forestry. Certification includes standards and criteria for replanting trees, protecting biodiversity, water, air and soil, and for obtaining broad stakeholder input into the forest management plan.
Nothing is more sustainable than something that is reusable. Even if they do come from "well-managed" forests, they are still removing natural resources to create something that is not renewable and will simple wind up being trash several times a day for months and months.

*Stay tuned for more Cloth Diapering 411 posts. I have received a couple of e-mails from readers asking me to do so and I gladly will. Please e-mail me or post a comment with any questions you may have. And if I do not know the answer, I will find it!



Adriana said...

i totally suck at cloth cloth diapers ALWAYS LEAK. i ahve to change him like every hour when hes in the cloth. please help me. im ready to give up.

Heather said...

Val - I sometimes forget about the chemicals going into our water systems! Yuck.

Adriana - are you near a Real Diaper Circle? If not, feel free to email me at hdellarocca at yahoo dot com if you need support with your cloth diapers!

Valeria said...

Adriana, e-mail me and I would love to help you sort it out. We just need to figure out what is causing leaks because that isn't supposed to happen!

zookeeperjess said...

Love your stash picture and well said!

Adriana, you can email me as well. We can get this figured out as there are 2-3 reasons why your diapers could be leaking!