Photo by Lori Ann.

Photo by Lori Ann.

Out of curiosity (and future assumption of laziness) this morning I did an Internet search for “eco-friendly disposable diapers.” It turns out they exist. The end game is that these eco-friendly disposables are at least partly compostable and are made without chemicals, making babies and creation happier.

We’ve been leaning toward cloth diapers because for many reasons they make sense – and because using cloth diapers will cause the smugness necessary for us to enjoy the smell of our own farts. But they aren’t without their own environmental downsides, such as hot water use, detergent use, and fuel and sometimes chlorine use if using a diaper service. We also do not have a washer and dryer in our apartment or building and use a laundromat, making cloth diapers a bigger commitment for us than if we had ready access to a washing machine. Handwashing is a more location-convenient option but still uses hot water and may not get the diapers as clean.

So what are middle-class parents with the privilege to have such worries to do?

Our options:

  • Eco-friendly disposable diapers
  • Cloth diapers
  • Cloth diaper service

Eco-friendly disposable diapers

Problem solved, right? They are convenient, easy, and environmentally friendly. Some of them even offer the same absorbancy as the “regular” disposable diapers, even without the synthetic chemicals used in conventional disposables. However, landfills are not always the proper place for any biodegradable object to biodegrade, and we do not currently have the capacity to compost (and I’m not sure diapers are what newbie composters should start with). But because living in New York City is awesome, we do have a compostable diaper diaper service (they deliver new compostable disposable diapers and pick up the used ones and compost them for you), but it’s the most expensive of the diaper services offered in the city and thus not a likely choice for us.

Cloth diapers

Washable, reusable, very long-lasting, and wallet friendly, though more labor intensive all around. For us the largest cost concerning cloth diapers is laundromat costs (and time). Using a laundromat isn’t the worse task in the world, and it in fact makes us much more efficient and conscientious clothes washers. Right now we are very infrequent launderers because we can be. But this changes absolutely when Number 3 joins us. The number of hours and dollars spent at the laundromat and the possible inefficiency of handwashing are certainly factors that make choosing a diaper service not as luxurious as it sounds.

Diaper service

You will not be shocked to know that New York City offers pickup and drop-off diaper services. What you may be shocked to know is that the diaper services are not just for rich people (New York City is a far more livable and accessible city than you may think). As the use of a diaper service has become a possible choice for us I’ve done some research and found two that I like. Neither use chlorine in the washing process and use biodegradable detergent and high-efficiency equipment, the diapers are organic cotton, and the trucks deliver and pick up at low-traffic and thus more environmentally friendly times (aka the middle of the night). The convenience of a diaper service is impossible to argue against. Crunching the numbers the service would cost us more than the laundromat per week. Another con is the carbon footprint (yes I said it) of the trucks.

The verdict

Our plan as of this minute on this day is to use cloth diapers at home and wash them at the laundromat while I’m on maternity leave and Tim is on summer break. We’ll use the eco-friendly disposable diapers when traveling or out and about. The diaper service may be deemed worth the extra cost per month once I go back to work. I will let you know if any of this works out.


2 Comments on “Diapers”

  1. Sandi says:

    I give it a week…two maybe…and you’ll be sending Tim to the all night bodega in the middle of the night for a box of the most expensive disposables you ever saw.

  2. Sara Baron says:

    Have you checked out g-diapers? They’re pretty cool.

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