By Robert Lilienfeld
Green Right Now
My New Year’s Resolution
Fifteen years ago, the big environmental issue making headlines was whether to use cloth or disposable diapers. We were supposedly going to be buried by the disposables, as they were filling up our landfills so fast that we would soon run out of places to put our trash. To better understand the problem, my co-author, Dr. William Rathje of The Garbage Project at the University of Arizona, was dispatched by a variety of environmental, government and business groups to study the composition of landfills all across America.
What Bill and his associates found was not at all what people expected them to find. Diapers were actually a rather small part of the typical landfill makeup. Also, when all the data on production, transportation, water and energy usage were factored into the equation, the data indicated that disposable diapers might actually produce less environmental impact than cloth ones.