What you need to know about using Disposable Diapers

Statistics of Diaper usage & disposal in the US
Statistics of Diaper usage & disposal  in the US
Statistics of Diaper usage & disposal in the US

Yesterday, our latest House help who has been with us for less than 2 weeks, left.  The reason she gave was;

I didn’t know I would be required to wash nappies!

I have since come to realize that it was merely an excuse and chances are that she had found a job that didn’t require her to wash nappies, hence her realization 2 weeks later that she had actually been washing nappies, which she shouldn’t.

Why are we having so many house helps who will tell you the following words as you vet her;

Mimi sioshangi Nappy (I don’t wash nappies)

Are we as women becoming our own worst enemy by raising our kids on diapers thereby showing the helps that they can actually get jobs in homes where nappies are disposed of not washed!

The choice to use diapers or nappies is based on 2 factors only;

1. Preference
2. Cost factor

Its not always about the money as many might conclude. Sometimes its a question of being more pragmatic about your money and what you give more priority to when spending it. Using diapers exclusively cost  Ksh. 5,000 or more every month. This is money that would otherwise be spent on;

1. Saving to buy/build a house
2. An education policy
3. A medical cover
4. A pension Scheme

I chose to use washable nappies during the day and a diaper at night for very practical reasons. The only difference between a nappy and a diaper is that one is washable whereas the other one is disposable. If we may get to the heart of the matter- the poop.  It is something anyone changing a child will come into contact with. Encountering  it again when removing it from the washable nappies is a small inconvenience.

The Cost of Washable Nappies
– A pack of 12 Nappies and liners goes for about Ksh. 1,500 at most
– The plastic pants (7) go for Ksh. 1,500 at most also
Fasteners (3) go for 500
The total cost which is not recurrent unless you need to add more nappies, liners or replace the plastic Pants is not more than 5,000.

The Cost for Disposable Nappies ( Diapers)

A packet of 34 diapers goes for Ksh. 1,000, chances are, you need to use atleast 5 – 7 in a day
You therefore require the 64 pack one that goes for Ksh. 2,400
By the time the baby is potty trained (at about 3 years), you will have spent  Ksh. 86,400

The Environment

By using washable nappies, one not only saves on cost but we also becomes concious about the environment. None of us really know that most diapers are not incinerated ( the only safe way to  dispose of them ). Most of  those diapers are thrown into compost pits yet they do not decompose. Most of them end up in some forest, in the trenches and in our rivers.

According to an article written by Carl Lehrburger made available on  the Library of Awareness website, An entire generation is growing up believing that the term “disposable diaper” is redundant: There’s only one thing you put on babies’ bottoms. They’re plastic, you get them in huge bags and boxes at the grocery store or the convenience store, and you fold them up; and toss them in the trash when they’re dirty.

The product name itself is a misnomer, testament to the power of Madison Avenue and to our own Freudian neuroses surrounding our bodies and our wastes.

For Huggies and Pampers and Luvs are not “disposable” at all. We throw about 18 billion of them away each year into trash cans and bags, believing they’ve gone to some magic place where they will safely disappear. The truth is, most of the plastic-lined “disposables” end up in landfills. There they sit, tightly wrapped bundles of urine and feces that partially and slowly decompose only over many decades.

What started out as a marketer’s dream of drier, happier, more comfortable babies has become a solid-waste nightmare of squandered material resources, sky-rocketing economics, and a growing health hazard, set against the backdrop of dwindling landfill capacity in a country driven by consumption.

New Developments in Washable Nappies
There has been alot of development in the innovation of washable diapers made out of cotton that are still as comfortable and easy to use as disposable diapers. Washable diapers like the one below are available locally and because of their adjustable features, one can use on a new born till they are potty trained.



As Carl Lehrburger from PureVision Technology, Inc. concludes in his article

The single-use diaper has gotten a free ride for too long. It is time that parents, health care providers, solid waste managers and public policy makers begin to consider seriously the problems caused by, and the alternatives to, the single-use diaper. It’s time for a change!

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