The Telegraph (UK) reported October 19, 2008, about the latest news on the environmental impact of disposable diapers ("nappies" in the UK).
A government report that found old-fashioned reusable [cloth] nappies damage the environment more than disposables has been hushed up because ministers are embarrassed by its findings.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has instructed civil servants not to publicise the conclusions of the £50,000 nappy research project and to adopt a “defensive” stance towards its conclusions.
The report found that using washable nappies, hailed by councils throughout Britain as a key way of saving the planet, have a higher carbon footprint than their disposable equivalents unless parents adopt an extreme approach to laundering them.
To reduce the impact of cloth nappies on climate change parents would have to hang wet nappies out to dry all year round, keep them for years for use on younger children, and make sure the water in their washing machines does not exceed 60C.
The conclusions will upset proponents of real nappies who have claimed they can help save the planet.
That's good to hear. When my son was born, I wanted to be a good mother, so I ordered a diaper service because everyone knows cloth diapers are better for the baby. But the parenting classes said that using plastic pants to cover the cloth would defeat the purpose of allowing the cotton to breathe. OK, I tried that, but an uncovered cloth diaper makes the baby's clothes wet too, and I was spending all my time changing baby clothes along with changing diapers. Within a couple weeks, I canceled the diaper service and had them send me disposables for the remainder of my already-paid-for month.
Vindication, however long delayed, is a beautiful thing.