My wife and I have been using reusable diapers for our two kids. We've made them from old curtains, old bedsheets, etc., pretty much all "recycled" materials.
They've been working perfectly fine, but every time I wash out the poop I can't help but wonder: compared to disposable, compostable diapers, is the ecological footprint of reusable diapers really smaller?
There's a few things to consider here:
- I hand-wash the diapers in lukewarm water with some detergent, prior to machine washing them. Sometimes I put them in the dryer (I don't live in a climate that always allows air drying, and I kinda need the diapers quickly after washing), but let's leave that step out of consideration for now.
- There are these cover-pants things, that you have to put over the actual diaper to make everything watertight. They contain some plastics, and they have to be washed too. However, on like 10 diapers you'd use 1 of these things. They're pretty indestructible, so we got them second-hand, and we plan on selling them on to the next parents when our kids grow out, but at some point they have to be disposed of...
The kids run around bare-butted a lot these days, so we're using like 3 a day or so. Back when they were babies it used to be somewhere around 10 a day. That contrasts with the diapers being much easier to wash when they are babies; toddlers tend to produce far more "sticky" material :)
Anyway -- we also used disposable ones in the past, made from sustainable materials and compostable, but I really don't know how to start comparing them. So does anyone know how these two compare?