I was asked to list my sources for my entry the other day, specifically about the Disposable diapers take 500 years to decompose comment. I realize now that I should have taken the time to find and list my sources within that entry, but I was upset with Pampers "Facts" and wanted to address them immediately, even if it was only with my anecdotal arguments.
I found multiple sites that said the same thing, disposable diapers take 500 years to breakdown, a few sites listed anywhere from 250-500 years, based on a study by Ann Link, Disposable nappies: a case study in waste prevention. April 2003. Women's Environmental Network. The EPA site states 450 years. After further looking into it I found that these are educated guesses seeing as disposable diapers have only been around for roughly 60 years, so no one knows for sure. Also when guessing, most appear to be basing that on ideal circumstances with optimal exposure to light and oxygen. Considering disposable diapers are most often rolled and secured into a tight ball, placed in a plastic bag, then in a garbage bag, before they are tossed into the landfill where they will soon be buried under more trash, I doubt they are getting the ideal light and oxygen required for breakdown.
There was also a question about my statement regarding the detergent. I do not have any statistics or figures or studies to support that statement. However, cloth diapers need to be laundered with special cloth diaper detergent because a lot of the ingredients in regular detergent will cause build up in the diaper, making them less absorbent and water repellent. Commercially available cloth detergent (Charlie's Soap and Rockin' Green to name a few) are made with natural ingredients, non toxic, and biodegradable. Overall better for the environment than regular detergent. Its also important to factor in that cloth diapers are washed with less detergent than regular clothes, a general rule of thumb is less than half of what you normally use. I personally use Rockin' Green and use 2-3 tablespoons for 1 load of diapers. So while the statement I made is not backed up by statistics and studies, I feel it is a safe assumption that parents who cloth diaper are not out there using detergent that could damage the diapers.
I hope this helped clear things up for anyone who was confused, and hopefully for now at least has helped keep me from sounding like a crazy extremist who makes things up as she goes along. ♥