In his article, Disposable diapers cause environmental stink, Chris Kridler of Delawareonline.com writes about what he calls The Politics of Poo.
"Disposable diapers have been absorbing controversy for a long time, as environmental groups point out their nonrecyclable content and their tendency to accumulate in landfills.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, almost no diaper waste was generated in 1960. By 1970, there were 350,000 tons. In 2005, the number had risen to 3.6 million tons annually, with no significant recycling."
How can 3 1/2 decades accumulate 3.6 million tons of diaper waste? Easy. When over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill and with each child using an average of 1 ton of disposable diapers in the approximate 3 year span of diapering years, the numbers add up fast.
"In 1970, there were 350,000 tons of diaper waste. In 2005, there was 3.6 million tons." Kridler notes that while disposable diaper advocates try to cite "a British study that suggested all the washing and drying of cloth diapers meant their environmental impact was about equal to that of disposables", that the study has been criticized by environmentalists who point out that "the combination of chemicals in the diapers and their baby waste make for an unhealthy contribution to landfills and potentially ground water."
Julie Clark, owner of Earth Angels Diaper Co., and whose twins are pictured above, points out that poo should never make its way to the landfill.
"One thing that I didn't realize is that if you read the fine print on the disposable packaging, it actually says that you're not supposed to throw away fecal matter."
But disposable diaper companies don't advertise or educate on the importance of placing fecal matter in the toilet where it belongs. It isn't financially profitable to point out their product isn't as convenient as people make it.
Companies that sell cloth diapers understand the ramifications of poo in the landfills. In addition to educating their customers about the environmental benefits of cloth diapers, they can also boast money savings and baby's comfort.