Use Cloth Diapers and Conserve Water!
Automatic clothes washing machines account for about 20% of total water use in the home. When you use and launder cloth diapers in your home, this figure may be a bit higher, and in some areas where drought conditions exist, this may present a problem. It is also a source of ammunition for disposable diaper advocates who are always looking to find reasons why using cloth diapers is comparably earth unfriendly. Of course, cloth diaper users know that they are acting in the best interests of mother earth, but in order to balance things out, we can always find ways to cut back on our water usage so that cloth diapers are simply not an issue. The first step you can take to reduce water usage is to use a dry pail method for laundering. Presoaking your diapers in a wet pail is not required to keep them clean, and it would help to conserve water by skipping this procedure entirely.
We can also help conserve water by buying an energy efficient washing machine. Traditional top-loading washers use between 32 and 50 gallons per load. Shop for a model that uses less water, and make sure that it has settings for using less water when washing partial loads. If you can afford one of the newer front-loading clothes washers, it would be an excellent investment. These machines tumble your clothes through a smaller quantity of water, rather than using an agitator. Most front-loaders today use about 24 gallons per load, or about 40% less water. They also use less energy and detergent, and discharge less water into your sewer pipe. Thus, you can save on your water, sewer, energy, and detergent bills. There are claims that front-loaders are gentler on fabrics, prolonging the life of your clothes.*
One of the most important aspects to consider when washing is to remember to wash full loads as much as possible. If you must wash a partial load, see if your machine allows the water level to be adjusted to fit the size of the wash load. By simply adjusting the water level to correspond to the load size, you may easily save as much as 12 gallons per week, especially if many smaller loads are washed.*
By following these guidelines you can see a significant difference in your water consumption; enough to make cloth diaper laundering a non issue. But why stop there? Many other water conservation tips can be used to lighten our environmental footprint even more. Consider these tips:
You can track the progress of your household's conservation efforts by checking your water meter. Consider setting a weekly target and monitoring your total water use for that period. Investigate how changing your habits or upgrading to water-conserving appliances and hardware affect actual water used. * By using these and other water conservation tips we can help to lighten the impact of cloth diaper laundering on our available water resources and say with certainty that our choice to diaper our children with cloth is the the most environmentally responsible one.
The Diaper Jungle