by Michael dEstries
Categories: Lifestyle.

snipshot_bx1ir6iktxvg.jpgNot on herself, of course. Though that would be kinky. Celebrity Baby Blog is reporting that Maggie Gyllenhaal, sister of her equally famous brother Jake Gyllenhaal, is using organic cloth diapers for her new babe, Ramona.

We applaud this action for a myriad of reasons; the least of which is the opportunity to save cash. Consumer Reports has calculated that the average baby will require about $1500-$2500 in disposable diapers over the course of three years. The bigger reason — and one that’s a bit more complex — is the environmental impact of choosing cloth over disposable. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword, however, and this article explains why perfectly:

“Most agree that reusable diapers require more water and generate more waterborne wastes through the laundering process. And home laundering uses more energy than commercial laundering.

The downside of disposables? It takes more raw materials to make them, and they are the third largest source of solid waste. Although some diapers are touted as biodegradable, the lack of oxygen in landfills means disposable diapers can take a long time to break down. Advocates of cloth also argue that disposables take up two percent of landfill space, adding 2.8 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper to landfills annually.”

So, neither choice is a clear-cut winner. However, using cloth diapers means you have complete control over how the process effects the system. For instance, a hard-core environmentalist might use water from a rain barrel to wash their cloth diapers. There are also cloth diaper services that clean in bulk and are more energy efficient than home washers. With landfills growing in size and consumption not abating, you might feel less guilty about contributing to a growing issue with cloth diapers.

Either way, we give Maggie the thumbs up on this decision. With nearly 80% of the babies in America using disposable diapers, it’s nice to see someone in the public eye showing people a greener alternative.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Dana

    I’ve never been able to decide which choice is the lesser of two evils, so I’m going with just not having babies at all. Hooray for negative population growth!

  • TNA

    I think it all comes down HOW you use cloth. I love options. Choice is good. You can choose to use organic and sustainable product (eg. hemp and bamboo organic cotton), you can choose to NOT soak, you can choose to wash as you do your ordinary clothing, you can choose to limit the use of detergents (no napisan or bleach and use half normal detergent), you can choose to line dry (no dryer and no ironing)

    Or you could choose whatever you like.

    I love my kids and I love spoiling them :D

    Well done to Maggie on making her choice.

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  • Regina

    Hey Maggie, Since you live in Brooklyn you should consider using a diaper service! Queen Bee Diaper Service is merging with Nature Baby Diaper Service and taking over thier current customers. If you are part of Nature Bbay then you don’t need to do anything. If not try calling 1888-345-5435 and we’ll sign you up. We wash in bulk and that greatly minimizes water and energy ussage, and in a few weeks we are switching to a new laundering system that uses 75% cold water and hardly any detergent, that means no chemicals! You won’t have to worry about laundery every few days (which is the reccomended amount of max. time you should wait between washes) we will pick up at your door step and deliver fresh clean beautiful cotton diapers to your door every week! Talk to you soon!

  • Sarah

    Actually, the myth that cloth diapers use more energy than disposable diapers was an ad campaign put out by disposable diaper companies in the 90’s in an effort to boost sales after the big Earth Day movement to cut back on disposable products. In fact there have been numerous real studies done on the subject that prove that without a doubt, cloth diapers are WAY better for the Earth. Here’s one quote from just one of the studies ; “throwaway diapers use 20 times more raw materials, 3 times more energy, 2 times as much water, and generate 60 times more waste.”

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  • Skye

    Well said Sarah! I love cloth for my babies bottoms and for the environment. Nothing beats a soft, squishy, fluffy bottom. Not to mention they are super cute nowadays-They are not like your mothers cloth diapers.

  • stephanie

    I agree with Sarah (3 years later). I heard that disposable diapers are water-laser cut to shape. Like, a powerful stream of water slices the shape out of raw materials. And the water is not recycled. So, doing an extra load of laundry every other day is not wasting more water than buying disposables.