Over at Sierra Magazine, an article called “The Great Diaper Debate” has a question from a reader about the effect that using cloth diapers has on water usage:
“Cloth diapers require both water and energy to wash—two things California has in short supply. But disposables come from plastic, cotton, and trees, and clog our landfill. What’s the most environmentally friendly thing a new parent can do?”
The short answer: Most households waste so much water that they should focus on conserving it instead of worrying about how much it takes to wash diapers.
That’s been our reasoning as well. We chose cloth diapers for all of our kids, mostly because of the excessive resources used in the manufacture and disposal of disposable diapers.
We’ve been questioned about the water issue, and I have to say that for us, we’re pretty conscious of how much water we use in general. We don’t wash clothing that isn’t really dirty (which for most people is most clothing, unless you work at a job that entails getting dirty every day), and we don’t shower or wash our hair every day (gasp). I don’t wash my vehicle very often (a couple of times a year), and I don’t water the lawn with anything other than the graywater from our washing machine.
So we’re OK with the water usage involved in cloth diapering, and I completely agree with ‘Mr. Green’. Taking issue with one piece of the puzzle just confuses the issue, when we ought to look at our footprint more holistically – the overall impact of our actions on our resources and the environment.
What do you think? Is the issue really our overall water usage, or just the water used to wash cloth diapers?
Image: D Sharon Pruitt at Flickr