The Quality of Life Commission has endorsed home use of reusable cloth diapers.
The nine-member San Anselmo panel unanimously agreed that, though they may require a bit more labor, they’re substantially better for the environment than disposable diapers.
Woody Weingarten, commission chair, cited these reasons: “Cloth diapers don’t clutter landfills, where disposable diapers can take from 250 to 500 years to decompose. Cloth diapers don’t contain many of the chemicals found in disposables. And the cost ratio of disposable to cloth can climb as high as 10 to 1, with disposables averaging up to $2,000 per child and cloth hovering about $200.”
Sita Khufu, a commission member, noted that disposables “are the third largest single item in landfills. As we are heading towards Zero Waste by 2025 (when the Redwood Landfill will be full), it would help to get disposable diapers out of Marin.”
Buyers can choose from at least three types of cloth diapers, most of which now utilize Velcro or snaps instead of pins — pre-folded, with three sections; fitted, with elastic bands; and “all-in-one,” with a waterproof cover sewn on.
For the first two, the essential waterproof covers (either hand- or machine-washable) can be purchased separately.
The Quality of Life Commission had considered a cloth-diaper endorsement for more than a year. Its unanimous vote came after Nikki Siminoff, a Ross Valley mom, attended at a recent panel meeting to voice support and supply information.
She told commission members that one infant can “need more than 6,840 disposable diapers over 30 months vs. 249 cloth diapers.”
Disposables, she explained, can create major hygiene and health issues at landfills.
And the disposables used each year, between 18 and 27.4 billion, Siminoff said, require “more than 250,000 trees and 3.4 billion gallons of oil” to produce.
She added, “As a stay-at-home mom with a modern washing machine, I was able to purchase cloth diapers for a couple hundred dollars and wash them with ecologically sound methods (vinegar, baking soda and eco-safe detergent).
“Two children later, I feel good about all the diapers I avoided adding to the landfill — as well as [not adding] even more toxic chemicals to our environment. I also saved thousands of dollars, which doesn't hurt!”