When we say that cloth diapers are making a comeback, it might bring to mind images of soiled rags and safety pins. But these days, there’s a new breed of cloth diaper in town—non-toxic, organic, reusable—and Millennial parents are making these cloth diapers the new norm.
Now that Millennials are becoming parents, they’re putting their own stamp on what it means to be a parent, and it looks like cloth diapers are a part of the package. These new diapers are easy to clean, easy to use and even come in bright and colorful designs.
But what are the big factors that have made Millennial parents rally around this old-fashioned trend from a time gone by?
It goes without saying that disposable diapers are perhaps the waste product of all waste products. The footprint made by their creation, with massive amounts of petroleum-based plastic and wood pulp along with deodorizing chemicals and superabsorbent polymers, would be bad enough for the environment. But on top of that, Americans throw away 18 billion disposable diapers each and every year.
Estimates say that disposable diapers will sit in a landfill for 500 years before decomposing. While reusable cloth diapers require frequent laundering, there’s no question that their environmental impact is far less, particularly when bought from smaller companies that use organic cotton. Local, organic products have a huge appeal among Millennials, which helps to explain the cloth diaper craze.
Price and Convenience
But when it comes to why Millennials are reviving cloth diapers, there’s another huge factor at work: Not only are cloth diapers better for the environment, they cost a lot less money.
The average cost of disposable diapers for one child—for the length of time she is in diapers—is around $2,400 or more. And while individual cloth diapers can cost about $15-$25 dollars each, a pack of 30 is only about $750. Yes, there is more an upfront cost, but this means Millennial parents can save thousands of dollars—in addition to saving on diapers for future children, parents can always use the same diapers again for a second or third child.
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– Healthier Option
Today’s cloth diapers are both easy to wash and easy to change, with hoop and snap closures and adjustable sizing. While it does mean doing more laundry each week, it seems that Millennials are finding cloth diapers to be a more convenient solution for the long haul of childrearing.
The Natural Movement?
In many ways, this move toward cloth diapers is actually rather predictable, when we look at the overall picture of Millennial parents. After all, Millennial parents have re-popularized the profession of midwifery in the United States, with many mothers choosing to give birth either at home or in a birthing center, eschewing the hospital births of their parent’s generation.
Cloth diapering, midwifery, and home births are just one part of the “natural movement” that Millennials are driving, with their preferences for organic food, natural ingredients, and clean labels.
The Bottom Line
There’s no question that cloth diapers are becomingly increasingly popular among Millennial parents, with a variety of amusingly-named diaper production companies such as Spray Pal, Allen’s Naturally, and Smart Bottoms leading the way.
Of course, the growth of a popular new industry always spawns new industries, and for families that don’t have a laundry machine—or just don’t want to put dirty diapers in their laundry machine—they have the option of getting their diapers picked up, washed, and returned by a local diaper service, which uses biodegradable detergents.
With the diaper industry seeing such an unexpected change of direction, who knows what’s coming next?
READ MORE: The GBrief