Babies do a lot of pooping. In fact, the average baby goes through 6-8 diapers a day. Unless you practice elimination communication, your baby will use between 6,500–10,000 diapers before potty training around 30 months old. If you use disposables and disposable wipes, this costs about $75–$100 a month retail—at least $3,000 per child!
According to a 2010 study, one-thirdof U.S. mothers are cutting back on basic necessities (such as food, utilities, and childcare) to buy diapers for their children. But as much as disposable diapers cost individual families, they cost us even more as a nation and as a planet.
Consider these alarming facts you may not know about disposable diapers:
Approximately 90-95% of American babies use 27.4 billion single-use, plastic diapers every year. This generates 7.6 billion pounds of garbageeach year—enough waste to fill Yankee Stadium 15 times over, or stretch to the moon and back 9 times. Every year.
Disposable diapers are the 3rd largest consumer item in landfills, and represent 30% of non-biodegradable waste. The only other items that outnumber the amount of disposables in landfills are newspapers and beverage and food containers.
Even though it may seem as if an individual child doesn’t contribute much to those numbers, each baby wearing disposable diapers creates about 2000 pounds of garbage over the course of two years.
(Yeah, that’s literally a ton of toxic waste. Could you imagine having to bury it in your yard?)
It takes hundreds of years for disposable diapers to decompose when exposed to sunlight and air. Since diapers are dumped into landfills, covered and not exposed to sun or air at all, nobody knows how many hundreds—or even thousands—of years they could be around.
Without sun and air, even so-called “eco-friendly” diapers labeled biodegradable do NOT biodegrade in landfills, and cause just as much of a problem as regular diapers.
Yet sadly, in the five minutes it will take you to read this article, another 200,000 throwaway diapers will enter landfills in the U.S. where they will sit for at least 500 years before decomposing.
In other words, if Christopher Columbus had worn Pampers, his poop would still be intact in some landfill today.
If the costs associated with needlessly landfilling diapers weren’t enough, consider that our landfills contain 5 million tons of untreated human waste—a breeding ground for diseases that could potentially contaminate our groundwater. The EPA notes that “…a significant portion of the disposable diaper waste dumped in American’s landfills every year is actually biodegradable human waste preserved forever.”
When you toss a disposable into the trash can, you are adding to the 84 million pounds of raw fecal matter going into the environment every year. Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and The American Public Health Association advise parents that fecal matter and urine should NOT be disposed of in the regular trash, because it contaminates the ground water and spreads disease.
In fact, printed on the side of every disposable diaper package are instructions for rinsing the diaper and flushing the fecal material down the toilet before putting it into the trash!
Have you EVER seen anyone rinse out a disposable, much less dump out the poop into the toilet?