A War of Beliefs

A while ago, in an article entitled "The Ethics of Diapers", an American Parenting Magazine lamented that thanks to Pampers & Co, babies are taught an evil first lesson: i.e. immediately to throw away anything that has been used. And this in spite of the fact that, even now, the mountains of disposed nappies will "scar the planet for decades". When, soon after that, the Chief Editor of the American Magazine "Garbage" outed herself by publicly confessing to using disposable diapers on her own baby, there was a huge outcry amongst the militant anti-disposables league. 


Numerous Letters to the Editor called her a hypocrite. This war of convictions is going on in the US as well as in Germany. Even "ECO Test" are subject to harsh criticism from the "washables league", whenever a new nappy test is carried out. Mr. S.H. from Saarbruecken wrote to us that "Your calling yourselves Ecological, should be seriously challenged". And Mr. F.H. from Bremen let us know that "I have found your pearls of wisdom indigestible for some time now. The Eco-balance must be in favour of cloth nappies. Why donít you ask your Grandma..." 


However, the arguments, whether to wash or to dispose of, have still not been settled. Even if the "anti-disposables-league" doesnít like to hear this. For a very long time, the only serious study available on the amount of waste created by nappies was that carried out by Procter & Gamble in co-operation with the Technical University, Berlin. Based on this study, erstwhile Minister of Environment Klaus Toepfer answering a Parliamentary question put by the Greens, said that cloth or disposable nappies are considered equally damaging, ecologically speaking. 


At that time, the Minister stated that: "none of the two types of diapering show definite advantages, taking into consideration all aspects such as consumption of raw materials, waste, sewage, air pollution and energy consumption". 


An independent study undertaken by the Institute for Product Analysis and Environment, in co-operation with Darmstadt University, came to similar conclusions.