I am writing in response to your article in the May/June 2008 issue of The Mix, "The Diaper Dilemma: Minimizing the Enviro-Butt Print." While I appreciate the author's attention to cloth diapering options in the discussion of the most environmentally-friendly way to diaper our children, I believe she missed the mark on one major point. After her assessment of the g-Diaper System, she confidently states that this method is better for the environment than cloth diapers because the inserts biodegrade and "they don't use the energy it would take to clean traditional cloth diapers." This statement does not take into account that continually buying g-Diapers - a product that is made in a factory, packaged in plastic and trucked thousands of miles to get to our Co-ops in the first place - is NOT a sustainable option. On the contrary, buying one set of cloth diapers* for your child to be used repeatedly and washed in your home removes the need to continually have more diapers and liners produced for your family in a factory in the first place, therefore decreasing the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere from the production. We have been cloth-diapering our son, Jackson, for two years and intend to reuse his diapers for his sibling (due to arrive this summer). You can't tell me that using my high-efficiency front-loader washing machine to clean his diapers at home takes more energy than producing and distributing g-Diapers. Perhaps the only thing that could make our diapering situation more energy-efficient and cost-effective would be a clothesline in the backyard (which we hope to finally set up this summer).
Please re-think this issue from all angles. The article appeared to this reader as an advertisement for Seventh Generation disposable diapers and the g-Diaper System simply because the Co-ops are not yet selling cloth diapers in the stores. I do agree that the disposables mentioned in the article are the better choices for non-cloth diapers, but please do not discount the simplicity, energy-efficiency, cost-savings and downright good sense that cloth diapers represent. They may not be for every family, but your article did not do a lot to encourage new families to try them out, either.
Thank you for your time.
Seward Co-op member and The Mix reader since 2001
*Many cloth-diapering friends of mine have even made their own diapers and wool soaker covers at home, thus reducing the "enviro-butt print" for their families even further.