You are interested in cloth diapering because you care about your baby and the environment. Inevitably you will come across a cloth diapering naysayer, or even a piece of scientific research, reporting that laundering cloth diapers has a considerable impact on the environment. So is an extra 2-3 loads of laundry each week something to worry about?
Although common sense tells us cloth is inherently eco-friendly, there is truth to the aforementioned claim. Energy, water, detergents, additional flushes: laundering cloth diapers does require resources. So what does the research tell us about this impact? Compared to that of all stages in a cloth diaper’s life-cycle—from the cotton field to the eventual disposal of what have become tattered rags—one study found that the generation of the electricity (not the water) used in washing and drying is the main source of environmental impact. What is an eco-conscious parent to do?
The good news is this: you can easily minimize this “main source” of environmental impact, one load at a time. Chances are, your home laundering technique is already more efficient than that of the average household’s (or than the assumed practices used to produce results in research studies). Making a few simple changes to your laundry routine will benefit both the earth and your pocketbook!
Below are some helpful tips to maximize your laundry efficiency. Cherry-pick or use them all, whatever works best for you.
Keep these tips in mind for more than just washing diapers. They may change the way you do laundry! For more energy-saving laundry tips, check out ENERGY.GOV and American Council for Energy Efficient Economy.