The environmental impact of cloth as compared to disposable diapers has been studied several times. In one cradle-to-grave study sponsored by the National Association of Diaper Services (NADS) and conducted by Carl Lehrburger and colleagues, results found that disposable diapers produce seven times more solid waste when discarded and three times more waste in the manufacturing process. In addition, effluents from the plastic, pulp, and paper industries are far more hazardous than those from the cotton-growing and -manufacturing processes. Single-use diapers consume less water than reusables laundered at home, but more than those sent to a commercial diaper service. Washing cloth diapers at home uses 50 to 70 gallons (approx. 189 to 264 litres) of water every three days, which is roughly equivalent to flushing the toilet 15 times a day, unless the user has a high-efficiency washing machine. An average diaper service puts its diapers through an average of 13 water changes, but uses less water and energy per diaper than one laundry load at home.
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