A government report that found old-fashioned reusable nappies damage the environment more than disposables has been hushed up because ministers are embarrassed by its findings. (Well, at least they're trying to be transparent.)
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has instructed civil servants not to publicise the conclusions of the £50,000 nappy research project and to adopt a “defensive” stance towards its conclusions (e.g. Those are not the disposable nappies that I knew!).
The report found that using washable nappies, hailed by councils throughout Britain as a key way of saving the planet, have a higher carbon footprint than their disposable equivalents unless parents adopt an extreme approach to laundering them (in other words, make your kid wear the same one for three days straight and then wash them by pounding them on a rock).
To reduce the impact of cloth nappies on climate change parents would have to hang wet nappies out to dry all year round, keep them for years for use on younger children, and make sure the water in their washing machines does not exceed 60C.
The conclusions will upset proponents of real nappies who have claimed they can help save the planet. (Ya think?)
The report found that while disposable nappies used over 2½ years would have a global warming , impact of 550kg of CO2 reusable nappies produced 570kg of CO2 on average. But if parents used tumble dryers and washed the reusable nappies at 90C, the impact could spiral to . 993kg of CO2
So what can we conclude from this report?
1. Cloth diapers are a major pain in the butt that won't save the planet and so all you "greenies" that use them just to feel noble--sorry!! You are NOT reducing your carbon footprint so you'd be better off buying carbon offsets from my brand new company Plant a Tree for Gaia (TM).
2. Many entities with an agenda (i.e. the UK government in this case) will squelch reports that disagree with their preconceived notions and promote those that agree. This is called propaganda.
3. It's best to view studies with a critical eye, no matter what side of the debate you're on. This study may mean something, but I'm sure another study will come out in the future that contradicts this one. So I think one should just use a little common sense, not follow trends.
For example, I use disposable diapers because they are convenient, sanitary, and they reduce the risk of diaper rash because they are so absorbent. I'm not really concerned about the amount of waste that they generate because I live in Texas--there is a lot land here, much of it barren. Cloth or reusable diapers, on the other hand, are not convenient, not as absorbent, and use up a lot of water in washing them (Plus they have a high yuck factor). Water is a precious commodity in Texas, especially in the summer. Most summer we end up rationing our water for our yards. So there is no compelling reason to switch to disposable diapers.
As far as the argument for reducing one's carbon footprint, I'm all for saving energy (it saves me money) but I'm not convinced that reducing carbon output is going to make a bit a of difference in our planet's well being. As I said before, I'm agnostic on "global climate change" based on carbon output. There's compelling evidence on both sides of the debate. one of the biggest reason I tend to be skeptical is because Al Gore (a.k.a. the Goracle) is one if its biggest proponents and if you remember the 2000 elections, he tends to exaggerate everything. Plus he's a flaming hypocrite based on his owning a huge house and luxury boat, not to mention his jet-setting around the world. Basically, if the Nobel Peace prize committee and Hollywood love him, then I'm pretty sure he's full of it.