Have you ever been to a landfill? Guess what, I have! One of my first jobs out of college was with a state environmental agency and I had to conduct annual inspections of landfills to ensure they were in compliance with state and Federal regulations. It wasn’t exactly a glamorous job but somebody had to do it.
I actually learned quite a lot about how landfills are designed and what happens to landfills when they are full. One of the main things that I learned was that trash doesn’t really ever disappear. Years from now the trash you throw away will probably still be exactly the same as when you tossed it – only maybe a little more compact from being crushed by the dozers.
When a cloth diaper is used it gets washed and reused again, and again, and again. As a baby becomes potty trained their cloth diapers can be saved for future children, donated, or sold to other parents who may not have the funds to buy brand new diapers. Even used cloth diapers that are in disrepair can be updated with new elastic and hook & loop (Velcro). Inserts can be used as cleaning cloths around the home. The life cycle of a cloth diaper can continue for years to come. I’m pretty sure that if I searched long enough in my attic I would probably find one of the cloth diapers (pre-folds) that my mom used on me as a child (back in the 70s – yes, I’m that old).
If we keep filling up our landfills with garbage and disposable products (like diapers) we will run out of landfill space. Sure new technologies exist to manage our waste (like incinerators) but these technologies only move the pollution for the ground to the air and the ash left from trash being burnt still needs to be disposed of. We need to be responsible citizens and reduce our use of disposable products.
Have you heard about the Great Cloth Diaper Change yet? Leading up to Earth Day (April 22nd) the Real Diaper Association (a non-profit cloth diaper advocacy group) is hosting Real Diaper Week (April 16-21st) and the 2nd Annual Great Cloth Diaper Change (April 21st).
Real Diaper Week continues tomorrow as I talk about how cloth diapers can help save you money. Until then visit these other fabulous bloggers in the community as they share posts about waste reduction and cloth diapers.