Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Smelly business

According to an EPA report, the third largest item in today’s landfills are disposable diapers – or as they’re called across the pond, nappies. Yet disposable diapers won the battle against cloth. Today fewer than 150 diaper services exist in the US.

But disposables may have lost the war. It seems many new parents are foregoing the diaper altogether and using an age-old technique called elimination communication – or EC, the term having been coined and popularized by Ingrid Bauer in 2001.

With EC, babies are taught – as early as birth – to signal when they are ready to go so parents can take them to the bathroom. Both baby and parent get lots of practice communicating: newborns urinate every ten to 20 minutes.

So what are the repercussions if EC replaces diapers? For one, 25 billion disposable diapers will no longer grace our landfills each year. And we’ll save on all the ingredients that make up diapers, including 3 billion pounds of wood and half a billion pounds of petroleum feedstocks.

I’m not sure about that wood savings, though. If EC catches on, it’ll be very good news for the wood flooring business.

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