Why Use Cloth?

Making the decision to use cloth diapers can be very simple when armed with the facts. There are three very substantial benefits to using cloth diapers: financial, environmental, and health.

1.) FINANCIAL: When a lot of parents/parents-to-be consider cloth diapers, the initial start-up cost can be intimidating. So I created a table with the breakdown of costs when comparing disposables and cloth diapers.
For easier math, I assumed there were 30 days in each month and used the averages in weight/number of diaper changes for my oldest son for the given time period.
I also chose Pampers Baby Dry diapers in the biggest box (as listed on walmart.com) because they are a middle-of-the-road diaper. There are cheaper and more expensive options. I also chose the basic Pampers baby wipes in the largest box for $14.50.

So, as you can see from the charts, the total costs for diapers and wipes would be $1580. I personally think this number is VERY conservative considering the fact that you usually don’t start out in size 1 diapers. It is also not taking into account disposable training pants or the extra garbage bags/Diaper Genie refills you would need to dispose of the diapers. But I also didn’t figure out the cost in water and electric to wash cloth diapers or the cost of detergent.

The cost to use cloth diapers can vary greatly. I have broken down the cost for three different cloth diapering systems. They range from a bare-bones prefolds system to an Organic All-in-One system.  For the cloth diaper numbers, I chose products from Kelly’s Closet because it is normally where I purchase my cloth diapers.

The cost to cloth diaper can range from $215 to $696.70. So your savings would range from $1365 to $883.30. If you average the cost of the three cloth systems, you get $496.13. So your average cost savings would be $1083.
Even if you never consider the health and environmental benefits of using cloth, the economic benefit speaks for itself.

2.) ENVIRONMENTAL: According to statistics on The Real Diaper Association's website, no one really knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be between 250-500 years! That's longer than any of us will ever be alive.  
Disposable diapers are also the THIRD largest single consumer item in landfills and in a household with disposable diapers, it typically makes up 50% of the waste the family produces.
Even though instructions on the packaging says to dump any solid matter in the toilet, less than one half of one percent of all waste from single-use diapers goes into sewage.
Just to produce disposable diapers for ONE baby for ONE year, it takes over 300 lbs of wood, 50 lbs of petroleum (yes, petroleum, as in crude oil!), and 20 lbs of chlorine. 

3.) HEALTH: When disposable diapers are manufactured, trace amounts of Dioxin (an extremely toxic by-product of the bleaching process) get trapped in the diaper. Dioxin is listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most other countries, but not the US. 
Disposable diapers also contain Tributyl-tin, a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal changes in humans and animals.
In 2000, a study was published. It showed that in boys that wore disposable diapers for a prolonged period of time, the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important to the normal production of sperm can be blunted or even abolished.

For our family, the choice between cloth and disposable was a no-brainer. We originally started cloth diapering to save money, it wasn't until after I dug further that I found out all the other great reasons to make the switch.