Are cloth diapers that much greener than disposables?

Illuminating answers to environmental questions.
Dec. 31 2008 6:59 AM

Should My Baby Wear Huggies?

Going diaper shopping for the Little Green Penlight.

In March, the Green Lantern wondered: Are cloth diapers really better for the environment than disposables? The piece is reprinted below.

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Regardless of your decision, it's worth noting that the diaper debate too often overshadows other wasteful aspects of baby care. It's curious how people feel so guilty about using Huggies but not about all the fossil fuels that went into making and transporting their brand-new bouncers, swings, and diaper pails. Really, would it be so awful if your young 'un inherited a secondhand Diaper Genie or crib mattress from a friend? But for the moment, alas, giving used baby-shower gifts seems to be a serious faux pas.

Is there an environmental quandary that's been keeping you up at night? Send it to and check this space every Tuesday.

Brendan I. Koerner is a contributing editor at Wired and a columnist for Gizmodo. His first book, Now the Hell Will Start, is out now.