Using Cotton for your Cloth Diaper
You already use cloth diapers to reduce your environmental impact, but did you know that the type of material you choose is just as important? Cloth diapers are safer for the environment. They reduce the waste in landfills and use less harmful chemicals than disposable diapers. Many new parents choose cloth diapers for this reason. Materials for cloth diapers and covers range from bamboo, cotton, fleece, wool, and polyester.
When it comes to saving the environment, organic cotton is the best.
So, what makes organic cotton diapers so special? Well, a lot! Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 reasons why cotton is better for the environment.
Keeping Marine Life Safe
The “Save the Turtles” movement goes beyond ditching plastic straws and using the iconic Hydroflask. One study found that washing synthetic fibers such as acrylic, fleece, and polyester resulted in microfibers being released into our waterways. There are an estimated 1.7 million tons of microfibers that threaten marine life. Oceanic life makes up about half the oxygen we breathe, houses the 6th most eaten protein, and is the largest ecosystem on Earth.
But what are microfibers? In a nutshell, microfibers are small pieces of plastic that fish and other animals consume. It causes various health problems and could result in death, thus disrupting the ecosystem.
Several cloth diapers are made with synthetic materials, and with all the times you are washing your cloth diapers, it is important to understand your potential contribution to microfiber contamination. Using cotton reduces the risk to marine life.
The takeaway: cotton is a natural fiber and does not produce microfibers when washed. So, you don’t have to worry about the risk to marine life!
Anything organic avoids the use of man-made pesticides, and this is no different when it comes to cotton crops. So even if you can’t verify if your cotton cloth diaper is 100% organic, have no fear! The U.S Department of Agriculture estimates only .09 ounces of pesticides are put on each pound of cotton produced. So let’s do some math!
500 pounds of cotton makes about 3,000 cloths diapers
We know.09 oz of pesticides is per 1 pound of cotton
1 gallon = 128 oz
With me so far?
Based on these numbers-
It takes 45 oz of pesticides to make 3,000 diapers.
This is less than half a gallon! You are buying more milk each week than pesticides are being put on cotton crops.
The takeaway: even if you can’t find 100% organic cotton, there are very few pesticides that are put on cotton crops.
Clean Water, Anyone?
Speaking of pesticides, several crops contaminate the groundwater due to the excessive use of pesticides.
The crops that do put down pesticides only put them at surface level. Why? To avoid nitrogen run-off and groundwater contamination. Several cotton farmers also have several incentives to use fewer pesticides, find more water-conserving ways, and give back to the environment.
The takeaway: fewer pesticides mean cleaner water in a world where clean water is more important than ever.
Keeping our Food Healthy
If you are interested in cloth diapers, the sustainability of cotton, and reducing your impact on the environment, I bet you want your food to be healthy too. Even though cotton isn’t a food, cottonseed oil is, and it’s found in many things we eat.
The oil itself is found in Vitamin E and Crisco. Cottonseed fibers are also spun and put in food.
Using cottonseed for various foods is better because it keeps the pesticides and additives out of our food. It is used as a non-harmful filler.
Cottonseed fibers are spun into cellulose which is found in the following foods:
●Dairy products: cheese, cream, milk powder, flavored milk, ice cream, sherbet, whey products
●Processed fruits and veggies
●Some gains: pre-cooked pasta, pre-cooked rice products, breakfast cereals, rolled oats
●Other: Vinegar, mustard, soups, cider, seasoning, sweeteners
How many of these foods do you eat?
The takeaway: cotton fibers are used as a non-harmful filler for foods. These are a good way to avoid dangerous pesticides and additives.
Returning to Earth
No, cotton crops didn’t go to space! They are, however, biodegradable. Furthermore, since cotton is an all-natural product, it is completely safe for the environment. This means the material can break down back into the Earth on its own when thrown away.
Various cotton-made items, such as cloth diapers, are safe to toss out because they do not sit in the landfill. In addition, it only takes a cotton clothing item about 6 months to decompose, whereas disposable diapers can talk at least 500 years! And the conditions have to be just right.
The takeaway: cotton diapers can return to the Earth when thrown out. This reduces landfill waste and waste in our oceans.
Choosing the right material for your cloth diaper and diaper cover is just as important as deciding to start using them. Cotton is a great choice when your goal is to be as environmentally friendly as possible. It is all-natural, which makes it much safer for our oceans, water quality, and landfills. In addition, cotton keeps our babies and Earth healthy.