Disposables and your non-IC-conscience

Not open for further replies.


Est. Contributor
  1. Adult Baby
  2. Diaper Lover
  3. Little
  4. Incontinent
There are times when I wouldn't need to wear dydees. In fact it is when I can enjoy them the most. It is when I am at home over the course of the day. When out(working or not) and when asleep, I need them. Other times I don't. But I still wear because as a DL, I enjoy it. But having recently read this article about recycling, my non-IC-conscience got really sore.

According to this site http://www.epa.gov/gmpo/edresources/debris_t.html
disposable diapers allegedly take 450 years(!) to decompose.

Now maybe I shouldn't post this to a DL-site since I don't want to spoil anyones fun but this doesn't stop bothering me.
We DLs seem to hurt our environment just for funs sake. Or do we?

What do you think about this?

Feeling really guilty at the moment.
babymt said:
I feel the guilt, but then I try to have as low an impact on the environment in other ways (like not owning any cars in our family and recycling as much as possible). Just wish we had diaper recycling where I live, it does exist...
Same here, minus the car. We depend on it. And I also just read about diaper recycling facilities. Nothing like that available here either, sadly.

Duality said:
You shouldn't worry about something far beyond your control like this IMO. Do what you can to do your part but don't let environmentalism ruin your fun.
I know where you're going and you are propably right. However I feel its never wrong to reflect about our behaviour and its possible impact on our surroundings. And I can't ignore the fact that a diaper stash has a great impact. For some its just a hobby like playing with a model railroad. While the latter doesn't produce 33oz worth of trash with every use. Some might advise switching to reusable nappies, but disposables are too much of an emotional anchor for many of us. This is a real mental conflict.

On the good side, a used disposable is at least not radioactive (or is it? :tongueout: ). Warning, far fetched excuse incoming...
Think of all the people using gaming computers that exceed 800W power consumption. Gaming consumes electrical energy which produces radioactive waste. So maybe we DLs actually have the more ecofriendly hobby. :tongueout:
Last edited:
Using tons of water, toilet paper and clogging up sewers is just as bad as using disposable diapers.
Several years ago, the UK Environment Agency published a paper examining the lifecycle impacts of disposables and cloth diapers, as used by children for the first couple years of life. At that time (2008), their analysis concluded that cloth could make less impact than disposables. Their analysis hinged, however, on the washing and drying choices made by the cloth users. Those that washed with 60 degree Celsius water instead of 90 and line-dried instead of using a clothes dryer made considerably less impact. Those that made all the wrong choices, though, drove cloth to a point where it was worse than disposables.

The trick, though, is choosing which thing you're going to focus on. Their study (as any European study of that time would) focused largely on CO2 emissions. It's not a bad standpoint, really, as it probably best captures the impact of the manufacturing and transportation phases. It captures the energy usage by cloth users to clean the diapers.

Despite their efforts to clarify the disparate impacts of both types, it becomes increasingly difficult to compare. Cloth diapers don't really go to landfill, as they wind up becoming rags and things after they've served their duty as diapers. But, cloth diapers use way more water than do disposables. Disposables use way more petroleum because of transportation and the fact that they're made from plastic (which is petroleum based).

The point of all this? I think it's good to question one's impact on society and the world around them. I think it's also important to realize that there aren't often clear-cut answers. I posted similar analysis to this here a couple of years ago, but I'll give it another go. Consider:

I live in a house built in 1940, in which the original plumbing fixtures are in fine functional condition. This means five U.S. gallons of water get used every time someone flushes a toilet in this house. Conversely, we have newer high-efficiency laundry machines. I can't find exact numbers for our model washer, but the California Energy Commission says newer models use 14-27 gallons of water. For conversation and easy math, I'll say ours uses 20 gallons per wash. I think I'd be fair in suggesting the average person uses a toilet about five times per day-once in the morning, once after breakfast, once after lunch, once after dinner, and once before bed.

In my (admittedly anomalous) house, toilet usage per hypothetical person would amount to 25 gallons of water per day. We all know many diapers can hold more than one go. Supposing disposables, that's 25 gallons of water not going down the drain. Supposing cloth diapers, let's say three per day in total, and that one can wash about three days' worth in one cycle. So, instead of 75 gallons of water, we're now talking about 20 gallons of water. Even supposing brand new fixtures, we're still not talking about much difference. A new high-efficiency toilet can use as little as 1.2 gallons per flush. Times five flushes, that's six gallons per day, 18 gallons per three days. That compares to our 20 gallons to wash the cloth diapers.

So like I say, it's not really all that clear cut in the end. Do you worry about filling the landfills? Do you worry about water usage? Do you worry about petroleum usage? Depending upon how you answer these choices, you as a diaper user can tailor your choices to match your ethical concerns. At least, you can make informed choices when you do decide to indulge.
  • Like
Reactions: DiaperedBunny and BenTennyson
Outside of my DL life (if you can, in fact, separate it out) I'm ecoconscious to a fault, which helps me feel almost no guilt whatsoever about wearing disposable diapers. In fact, I almost never think about the environmental impact of wearing diapers. I'm not bragging: I just don't.
hti24 said:
Outside of my DL life (if you can, in fact, separate it out) I'm ecoconscious to a fault, which helps me feel almost no guilt whatsoever about wearing disposable diapers. In fact, I almost never think about the environmental impact of wearing diapers. I'm not bragging: I just don't.

I feel guilty for using diapers like I do (probably 1x/day on average).
I know it's an unnecessary luxury and fully wasteful. But I also know it's pretty much unavoidable for me because I'd be obsessed and stressed without :/

Like you though - in my regular life I am super conscientious of my environmental footprint. I recycle. I reuse things or wear them out before upgrading. I sell old working things. I reuse boxes for packing eBay goods. I turn off lights and conserve water. I ride my bike to work or walk in the nice months. So hopefully all that compensates a little for my little diaper habit.
BenTennyson said:
What do you think about this?

Feeling really guilty at the moment.
the thinking and the feeling are a bit conflicted in me, but, as a [former?] ecomentalist and given our situation, here in Britain, where we're over-populated by humans by at least ten-times, i've ratified my conflict by adopting a 'let's go to hell in a merry handcart' stance.
how's that for positive pessimism? :biggrin:
diaper choices

I am fully aware that there is major environmental impact by either cloth or disposables but mitagate that by using both.aswell as being incontinent I am a high function "quad" or as we are now reffered to as tetrapilegia.so obviously I use public transit para transit do not own a car or drive one. My toilet and shower use modern water conserving appliances as does my laundry ( in the toilet I have an "air power flush device" because my bm are large and very hard this keeps me from having to have the toilet sneaked after every use) and because I wear both cloth and disposable depending on what I'm doing I think I have minimized my
carbon footprint as much as possable. My bladder and physical conditions are progressive and degenerative and will lead to my death, I think I am doing my damnedest to cope with the hand I have been dealt and be a responsable citizen in the global community.
Just to clarify: I don't want any incontinent readers to feel offended by this thread. This was all about the 'fun' part of the diaper lovers under our members.
If someone depends on IC aids, then for gods sake he/she should use them without regret.
Of course any comments from ICs are welcome too.
I'm both DL and IC and was just referring to my time when I wouldn't really need them.

I'm sorry to hear about your condition, Tetra. I wish you all of best luck and I'm glad that you can cope with your situation as good as you do.
Thanks Ben I took no offence at the thread and cant honestly see why anyone would.
I do have a little guilt over the amount of waste I produce, but as mentioned there is still an environmental impact with cloth nappies or with using the toilet with water treatment and toilet paper. So whatever people do, except perhaps digging a hole in the garden and using that, there will be an impact.

On a side note I would love to try one of the modern all-in-one cloth nappies but here in the UK they seem non existent, other than padded pant things that look like they wouldn't hold more than a few dribbles and don't interest me.
Monkey just to make sure you know all AIO's are a big waste of money because both the dryer and the clothes line ( sun) strip the plasticiers out of the plastic very quickly and you are left with a cheaply made cloth diaper that you need to buy plastic pants to wear over it because the AIO's plastic has become brittle and cracked from the high heat or the sun's rays.you are much better off just buying a quality diaper and pant seperately. The heat and sun's rays do the same thing that petroleum based rash cream or ointment does.

If you have heard it before I am sorry.if this is new info I am also sorry to have to share that " nugget".
BenTennyson said:
We DLs seem to hurt our environment just for funs sake. Or do we?

What do you think about this?

Feeling really guilty at the moment.

First off, let's be honest here, environmentalism is a huge scam that is used to guilt the average person. Otherwise, people like Al Gore couldn't get away with flying in a private jetliner and then planting a tree to offset the "carbon emissions".

Second off, even if the whole "science" of environmentalism wasn't a scam, you shouldn't feel guilty of doing something that in the large scheme of things will have little impact (my personal diaper use is about one a day, compare that to the average nursing home and it's nothing).

Also consider all of the other things you use that are "wasteful", power still overwhelmingly comes from coal, cars overwhelmingly run on fossil fuels, packaging for anything is usually thrown out.

TL;DR, don't let sham science guilt you into feeling bad about anything.
If you want to feel guilty for hurting the environment, there's many worse things than filling landfills with slowly degrading diapers. Give yourself a break, and don't beat yourself up over it- in the big picture it's small peanuts.
I have feel eco-guilt about my diaper fetish from time to time. However, looking at the big picture, my DL activities are far from the worst thing I do to the environment and plenty of other interests I have are just as bad, if not worse for the environment. But I still try and do what I can to try and help out.
One thing I do to lessen my impact is only using and buying high quality diapers. One high capacity premium diaper will last me for hours and hours as opposed to a thin and crappy hospital diaper that would leak and fall apart many times during that same people. Both use almost the same amount of non-biodegradable plastic and I bet have similar levels of long term waste. But I'll use far fewer premium diapers in a similar amount of time.

This theory probably has some holes -- If not, shoot away :)
Not open for further replies.