On September 29, an explosion at the Nippon Shokubai Co. outside of Kobe, Japan, caused severe damage to a chemical plant and left one person dead and 35 injured. As work to repair the damage began, speculation about the impact that the explosion could have on a major necessity began to take place.
Nippon Shokubai Co. is one of the world's largest producers of acrylic acid, a major ingredient in disposable diapers. Many industry experts predicted that disruption in the company's operations could result in a major diaper shortage throughout the world. Now more than a month after the accident, disposable diapers still remain well stocked on the shelves, but experts now believe that consumers may be asked to pay more for their favorite brand in the weeks to come.
In a time when budgets are already tight, many families simply can't afford to spend any more on cloth diapers, leading to predictions that cloth diaper usage may dramatically increase in the months to come.
All this means great news for the planet. The Real Diaper Association reports that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used and thrown away every year, comprising the third largest type of waste found in landfills. One diaper can take up to five centuries to decompose, which adds up to waste that our children, grandchildren and multiple generations to come will have to confront.
Making the switch to cloth diapers is also smart from a savings perspective and was even before the accident in Japan. Parents who use cloth instead of disposable typically pay only 10 percent of what those who opt for throw-aways will from birth through potty training, according to the Real Diaper Association.
Do you use cloth diapers? If so, how do you make it work for you? Share your story in the comments section to help other moms and dads who are considering making the switch to avoid paying more for their disposables.