In her January 12, 2008 interview with Tereson Dupuy, owner and inventor of Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers, Claudia H. Deutsch of The New York Times asks some pretty tough questions. The article, Breaking the Habit of Disposable Diapers, is available online. You must register to view the article (although registration is free).
I'm always nervous when cloth diapering parents or manufacturers are interviewed. Not because I think they are incapable of sharing their convictions and their product with facts and figures, but because there always seems to be an unexpected bend in the road…something that is intended to level them and make the rest of mainstream America feel good about their choices.
I'm not sure that The New York Times did just that, but I do still find it to be somewhat diminutive in approach, simply because it not only asks the hard questions, but asks the hard questions and then isn't exactly answering how the other "team", disposable diapers, stand up to the same queries.
One of the questions posed to Tereson about her Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers was:
Q. It takes a lot of energy to make polyester, and it uses a lot of water to wash diapers. And if people use diaper services, you have to factor in the fuel used by their trucks. Aren’t you running counter to the “green” trend?
Tereson's response: Quite the contrary. If you ask people what “cloth diaper” brings to mind, they mention bleach, soaking, washing, lots of hard work. But use the term “reusable diaper,” and the first thing they say is “good for the environment.”
Although I'm not certain that was a complete answer to the question posed, I think the tables could easily have been turned where she wasn't defending so much as asking the same question. "It takes a lot of energy to cut down billions of trees, as well as incredible amounts of oil to produce the plastics in disposable diapers. If people are driving their cars to the grocery store and back every time they need another pack of disposable diapers, don't you have to factor in the fuel used by their cars and trucks? Not to mention the trucks used to ship the disposable diapers from the manufacturer, to a distribution center, and then on out to stores across the nation. Isn't that severely depleting resources and nowhere near the "green" approach as even a polyester cloth diaper would be?"
It is easy to turn a question - and that's just what was happening in this interview.Deutsch point out that "Still, polyester isn’t biodegradable. Doesn’t that pose an environmental disposal problem after the baby is toilet-trained?"Well yes, in fact, it does. That said, these diapers will last up to 5 times as long as other cloth diapers AND THEREFORE will be used on subsequent children. Can't say that for disposable diapers - which of course, already pose a problem in the landfills.The arguments get old. The questions go round and round and it begins to feel a lot like the chicken and the egg argument.Everything uses resources...everything.Everything leaves a footprint...everything.The point is to leave less of a footprint, to make wiser decisions in purchase choices, to reuse items that can be reused instead of chunking 12 diapers a day into the trash, that will later end up in my backyard.
When do we stop arguing and just get on board? Fuzzi Bunz pocket diapers are one of the easiest cloth diapering systems available. They are smart in that they wick moisture away from baby's skin, leaving baby's skin dry and rash free. The effect is that baby remains soft and comfortable. Another effect is that once the diaper is washed and dried it will go back on baby.It is amazing how we are such a throwaway society, but we don't throwaway the one thing that will make our world so much cleaner - our ridiculously unhealthy desire to maintain our lives of convenience.Eventually there won't be a choice.Who will be looking for polyester fibers then?