Cloth Diapers

In 1995, a study of the City of Sunnyvale's garbage, delivered to the SMaRT Station® found that disposable diapers characterized the greatest content of consumer goods disposed by Sunnyvale residents and businesses. The study found that approximately 840 tons per year of disposable diapers are thrown away in Sunnyvale.To create a mental image of 840 tons, imagine one 18-wheel "big rig" such as those used to transfer refuse from the SMaRT Station to the landfill.  Each big rig carries a 24-ton load, the equivalent of three refuse collection trucks.  Thus, each year it takes approximately 35 big rig loads (or 105 garbage truck loads) to move Sunnyvale's disposable diapers to the landfill. Collecting, transferring to landfill, and disposing of this amount of waste cost the City $111,000 in 1999. It costs even more today due to inflation and population growth. This expense is a cost charged to all of the City's refuse rate payers.

The City asks parents to use cloth diapers

If you are (or soon will be) the parent of a child that is in diapers, what can you do to reduce this financial and environmental burden?The answer is simple--reusable cloth diapers. Cloth diapers have virtually no cost to refuse ratepayers.  Whether provided by a commercial cloth diaper service or individually owned, cloth diapers are reused hundreds (if not thousands) of times and may find reuse for decades before they wear out. On June 8, 1999 the Sunnyvale City Council discussed the problems caused by diaper disposal and the benefits of reusable cloth diapers.  The Council directed staff to use public education and outreach methods to encourage parents to use reusable cloth diapers.Subscribing to a diaper service is less costly than purchasing disposable diapers. Owning and washing your own diapers is an even better way to save money--and reduce the environmental impact your child has during his or her "diaper years."  Please choose to reuse. 

For facts about cloth diapers, visit Benefits of Cloth.  Or, see the Cloth Diaper Brochure.

Return to Garbage, Recycling and Waste Reduction


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