The Right Coast

April 27, 2004
Thank God for the Disposable Diaper
By Tom Smith

Let's be clear. You can attack a lot of things about modern civilization, but the disposable diaper should not be one of them. It should rank up there with anti-biotics as one of the boons of modern life. And they have gotten even better.

You'll have to trust me on what follows. It's something I know a bit about. Disposable diapers (DD's) have improved greatly over the past dozen years, my procreative span. They were good before. Now they're great. Inside of them now is a greatly improved, super-absorbent miracle of materials science that soaks up those smelly fluids while it leaves the surface dry. Much, much better than any cloth diaper can. Guess what? It's good for the baby. How would you like to go around with a wet crotch all the time? How about with a rash? You would be cranky too with a rash, and cranky babies make for unhappy parents. If baby ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

Cloth diapers take a lot of water and energy to wash. Out West, water is a lot more valuable than land fill land. Not everybody lives in an east coast city. And about landfills-- landfills are great. This is something every kid should be taught instead of half the rubbish they get on recycling. (I disagree with the implication in the link that you should want to accelerate degradation, but that's another debate for another day.) Half the nitwits who prate about recycling and the planet know nothing about the engineering of landfills, which is sophisticated these days. In a landfill, for example, you try to retard the decomposition of the garbage. Did you know that? The whole idea is for the stuff not to decompose. In some of the ancient Roman landfills, food has been discovered that had not rotted away over 1000 years. And that's good. Because if it doesn't rot, it doesn't release anything into the environment. You compress everything down, and maybe eventually build on top of it. Perfect. It's a much, much better idea than sending a load of baby poop into the ocean, rivers and streets. Much more hygenic. Fewer sick people, fewer dead people. And, as you should suspect from the principle that everything the "green movement" says is wrong, disposable diapers take up very little space in landfills, as do non-recycable fast food packaging, another good idea. (If you want to help do your bit for landfills, be sure not to recycle your newspaper. Yes, they take up a lot of landfill space, but they're also very stable and last time I looked, it was utterly uneconomical to recycle newsprint, a wasteful boondoggle. Much better to farm trees. You're saving resources everytime you don't recycle your paper. Just be sure to throw it in the can not marked "recycle".)

I feel about disposable diapers the way some people feel about guns. You can have my Huggies when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers. As for Jeanne, you should be worrying about your cold, dead fingers.