The report found that while disposable nappies used over 2 1/2 years would have a global warming impact of 550kg [1,212lbs] of CO2 reusable nappies produced 570kg [1,257lbs] of CO2 on average. But if parents used tumble dryers and washed the reusable nappies at 90C [190F], the impact could spiral to 993kg [2,189lbs] of CO2. A [Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] spokesman said the government was shelving plans for future research on nappies.I love that last line. In fact, the fun part of this story involves a cover-up of the original report. Apparently, the government has been telling Britons for years that reusable diapers are better for the environment. Oopsie.
All that said, this study did not appear to address the carbon footprint of reusables if handled by a diaper service, though most services probably don't skimp on the hot water, the tumble drying or the bleach, for that matter. And of course, you still have to deal with the environmental impact of the chemicals that go into disposables (like that yucky but effective gel and all that chlorine) so I suppose it's still not a slam-dunk. However, it does suggest eco-diapers like 7th Generation's (sold at Weavers Way, of course) are a pretty good way to go.