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The Issue (Science 2013) Diapers
Transcript of The Issue (Science 2013) Diapers
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped in landfills each year, this adds up to more than 3.5 million tons of waste. Natural Resources: Research shows that more than 200,000 trees each year are lost due to the manufacture of disposable diapers for babies in the U.S. alone.
It takes 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil every year to make diapers. Indeed disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials than cloth diapers, and many of these raw materials are non-renewable energy sources. Disposable diapers take about 500 years to decompose. The millions of tons of untreated waste added to landfills each year through diapers can contaminate ground water. This brings up the concern that viruses in a baby's feces could end up leaking into local water supplies when returned to the water system through runoff water. Disposable Diapers Chemicals Involved: Studies have shown that disposable diapers release organic chemicals. Toxic chemicals such as toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and dipentene which have been linked to negative health effects in humans with long-term exposure.
The absorbent layer of a disposable diaper is also treated with chemicals, which can cause allergic reactions. Diapers often contain dyes and dioxin. Dioxin is a carcinogen, which means it can cause cancer and dyes can cause allergic reactions. Disposable Diapers Chemical Property: Disposable diapers work by turning liquid into gel. Spreading in the diaper padding are crystals of sodium polyacrylate, which is a polymer with the capacity to absorb up to three hundred times its weight in water. As it absorbs fluids, it changes from its original, crystallized form to a gel, keeping the liquid inside the diaper. Physical Property: 1.Softness and pleasant feeling. Excellent water-resistant
2. Higher elasticity
3. Excellent, comfort qualities in contact with the most sensitive parts of human skin
4. Good sealing performance
5. Good laminating properties
6. Excellent hydrophobic properties
7. No residue, no shedding
8. Non-toxic, non-stimulated, can effectively protect the human skin. Cloth diapers are free of the many chemicals contained in disposable diapers. Research tells us that cloth diapers are the ultimate in recycling because they are used again and again, never entering a landfill until they are nothing but rags. In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent just to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags. Ideally, Cloth Diapers are much more efficient for the environment, and should be used more often. Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill, whereas, cloth diapers can be reused time and time again. Cloth diapers are made of many renewable natural materials, such as wool, bamboo, and unbleached hemp. By choosing cloth diapers the drain on resources is minimal as the diapers are reused many times and the resources needed to create the are renewable. There are many ways to lighten your carbon footprint when using cloth diapers, such as purchasing organic cotton fabrics, choose cloth diapers with a shorter drying time and have enough cloth diapers that you can wait longer to wash and reuse them. An average child will go through several thousand disposable diapers in his/her life. Since disposable diapers are thrown away after a single use, disposable diapers increases the amount of waste in landfills. By choosing to use the greener alternative, cloth diapers people are lessening their carbon footprint. Cloth Diapers Companies & Greener Alternatives: By using cloth diapers, companies will save more money each year on waste disposal and raw materials. This is because cloth diapers can be reused and contain more organic and less raw materials compared to disposable diapers. The only limitations on using this product in a large scale is that most cloth diapers are made with bamboo. Bamboo Forests are at risks of going extinct due to forest destruction as the plants are used to make various products including cloth diapers. Cloth diapers, however, can be made of other materials such as wool. Which Will You Choose? Cloth Diapers Chemical Properties: Cloth diapers do not use chemicals to help with the absorbency of the diapers but rather the physical properties of the cloth used to make the diapers. Physical Properties: Cloth diapers are all made up of very soft materials that are gentle on baby's skin and prevent rashes. The natural absorbency of the cloth makes them ideal to be used as diapers as well cloth is extremely easy to clean A baby will spend around 25,000 hours in a diaper and need about 6000 diaper changes in their first years of life. Your decision as to whether you are going to use disposable diapers or you are going to use cloth diapers could be made based solely on convenience or rather, it could be based on cost effectiveness and the impact to the environment. http://www.livestrong.com/article/149890-environmental-impact-of-disposable-diapers/