Ok, it’s time to go get your green on. Do you feel like you’re constantly spending money on diapers, like every five minutes? Yeah, we used to feel that way too. With Lizzie, we made a conscious decision to go cloth, after finding that she got lots of rashes with disposables. We settled on the bumGenius all-in-one cloth diapers. What’s this all-in-one stuff about? Your garden variety, traditional cloth diaper involves a big wad of cloth, shoved inside a cover that keeps all the junk inside, lots of moving parts, not very user-friendly. An all-in-one, like the bumGenius, goes on like your average disposable. Inside, there’s a pocket that holds the various absorbent pads.
The all-in-ones are very easy to use. My wife refers to them as “Husband-Friendly”. Even the nursery workers at church can handle these things. They’re adjustable, and fit kids that are between 7 and 35 pounds. What’s the down side of these diapers? They’re not cheap. Like really expensive. Up-front costs are pretty high. The bumGenius diapers cost about $18 each. The folks at Kellly’s Closet sell larger quantities (12 or more) for a decent discount though (about $1 per diaper). Their “Starter Package” is right about $400, and includes 24 diapers. Based on prices for Pampers at Amazon, and Kelly’s Closet, as of Nov 6, 2008, here’s what I came up with. The primary assumption I made was that the child would wear diapers until they’re 3 years old, and used an informal poll between a few random sources, including our own experiences with our 2 children to come up with how many diapers per day would be used.
|Type||Per Box||Price||Cost / Diaper||Diapers / Day||Cost / Month||Months||Months of Use||Total Cost|
|bumGenius Starter Pack||1||$406.80|
|Extra Diaper Inserts 3-pack||4||$43.80|
Wow, that’s quite a difference, eh? So, if you’re willing to invest at least 7 months of time to devote to using cloth, you’ll come out roughly even ($440.48 vs $450.60). If you continue down the cloth road, by the time your child is potty trained, you will have saved a bit more than $1500. What does this comparison fail to account for? The cost of washing the diapers vs. disposal of the disposable diapers. Most folks buy bins like the Playtex Diaper Genie, which means you’re in for buying replacement cartridges, so more ongoing costs.
Maybe cloth isn’t for you. There’s certainly a larger commitment involved – you’ll be doing a load of diapers every day. You could stretch this to every 2 days once the child is a bit older, or if you get another 12 diapers, which would add another 50% to the cost. That means your time period to recoup your investment is closer to a year. Still, you’re ahead by about 2/3 in that case as well. For us, it’s totally worth it. And guess what? Lizzie doesn’t get rashes from cloth diapers, ever.
Financial and comfort issues aside, consider the potential environmental impact from using cloth diapers, vs. disposables. How often do you empty a diaper genie that’s full of diapers, resulting in a pile the size of your leg? Think about how large a pile of disposable diapers that is over the first few years of a child’s life. Go back up above, and multiply it all out, using the disposable numbers — that’s over 7,000 diapers. That’s a pretty large pile of diapers that will spend dozens or in some cases, up to hundreds of years in landfills (for the non-cotton components in the diaper). With a cloth diaper solution, what are you introducing into the environment, apart from the bio-waste? Water and detergent, just like washing clothes. However, with diapers, you use less detergent, and can always use a more naturally formulated detergent, further minimizing environmental impact.