Is PUL bad for the environment? - Mothering Forums
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
Artisan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 5,329
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
One WAHM's website (I don't think it prudent to list it here) claims that PUL is as bad for the environment as disposables.

Do you think this could be true? She didn't really give reasons, but I would assume it had something to do with plastic.

Anyone else more in the know than me?
Artisan is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 06:25 PM
 
sweetfeet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dayton
Posts: 4,301
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well that gave me a chuckle. Even if processing the PUL is bad for the environment then surely because it reused over and over that alone would make it better than disposables. I wish I had hard facts to read. Just my first thought..off to research
sweetfeet is offline  
#3 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 06:29 PM
 
sm3247's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
well, it's not compost . . . but I really appreciate its waterproofing qualities and I have a hard time believing that a PUL cover and produced once and used 1000 times is as bad for the environment as 1000 disposable diapers produced, used once and thrown away.

I have a feeling the WAHM deals exclusively in wool.
sm3247 is offline  
 
#4 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 06:33 PM
 
sweetfeet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Dayton
Posts: 4,301
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
I have a feeling the WAHM deals exclusively in wool.
:LOL You read my mind. I'm a wool lover myself and I don't think this needs to turn into a debate but I would love to see all of the info provided to back the statement about PUL.
sweetfeet is offline  
#5 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 06:43 PM
 
MamaMonica's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: lalalala life goes on
Posts: 12,839
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I know any plastic is not the best for the environment, but PUL covers last so long- I have some that have been in use through two kids (ME AF covers) and so I think they are in the long run much better for the environment than disposables.

I use mainly wool, but PUL is great for on the beach or rolling around in the mud, watering the garden and when super-trimness is needed. I mean- a telephone is plastic- where do you draw on the line on what is toxic?

And a PUL Bummi sack is better than a plastic bag you don't reuse.

Being right is not always fair, but being fair is always right
MamaMonica is offline  
#6 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 06:48 PM
 
allformyboys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
LOL I make the statement that we were switching away from PUL to wool and the site says "Finding that PUL was not offering the breathablilty or the function we needed along with being almost as bad for the environment as the dreaded sposies we decided to get back to the basics." This said, my reasonings are way more function and breathability than the environment issue, I agree that PUL can be reused 100's of times and would obviously be a better choice than a disposable, but I was speaking of the manufacturing part of it, the chemicals and issues with PUL (and fleece) are comparable to making a disposable. That is diaper for diaper, not addressing the issues of reusability. I liked all my PUL diapers MUCH better than disposables, and would pick them ANY DAY over a sposie, but I would pick wool over PUL almost as much, (of course that is my opinion and my baby ) I didn't have a CLUE about wool, how wonderful it is and how much better it can make my baby's butt look until coming here and hearing such wonderful things. I have since switched from PUL (not only in diapering my baby but in the things I make as well) just because I like it better.

Now as for PUL and fleece (they are close to the same thing, man made chemicals and by products) they are great things that work very well for a lot of people, they are WAY better than sposies because of the reusablilty issue, however if your a purist and doing it for the environment, it isn't the BEST option.

I am trying not to make it sound like I am a all wool no room for wiggles kinda mom, I am really not, I still use my PUL, I am selling some but keeping some too, I just can do it all for the store so am picking the best (in my opinion) option.

Anyway that is my opinion and reasoning for choosing wool over PUL and fleece. I am still using micro on the inside of diapers, and I have some fleece AIO's and covers that I love (breathability is a serious issue with my little man) but I don't think PUL or fleece is a bad choice at all, still way better than the sposies!
allformyboys is offline  
#7 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
Artisan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 5,329
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Marnie,

Do you know what the specific issues are with the production of PUL and fleece? I really don't know; I'm trying to educate myself.

Thanks!
Artisan is offline  
#8 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 08:33 PM
 
lkblair's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: TX
Posts: 305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Here's an article that discusses this issue http://www.cutofcloth.com/article_ar...lmaterials.asp

I haven't read this, but the book "Cradle to Cradle" by McDonough and Braungart was also recommended on a list I belong to. It discusses the issue of being able to reuse materials at the end of the products life.

HTH some
lkblair is offline  
#9 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 08:33 PM
 
AnitaAddict's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: The Laundry Pile
Posts: 98
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Speaking as someone who has family in the industry, wool is not the greenest thing in the world either. Even if the sheep are raised in as natural a way as possible grazing still causes erosion and lots of grazing in a area can damage the water supply (because of the eerosion problem and because of excrement, although it isn't the problem it can be with other livestock.)

That said I like wool covers but I don't think they are much better for the enviornment than synthetics. I'd love to see a real good impartial analysis of this issue though.
AnitaAddict is offline  
#10 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 08:34 PM
 
Mattia's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Evanston, IL
Posts: 200
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think PUL is nearly as bad for the environment as disposables, BUT it also isn't the most environmentally friendly choice either. I personally prefer natural fiber dipes.
Mattia is offline  
#11 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 08:42 PM
 
natashaccat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: -40 F
Posts: 3,253
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Something tells me that sharonal is refering to the reasons for wool Diaperpin article?

IMO the production of anything is going to have some environmental cost. Granted, wool is a renewable resource but its not like sheep leave their ranges environmentally pristine and I'm sure that the production of all those beautiful wool yarns and fabric doesn't happen by magic.

If pul production consequences are making you not want to use something that you really like then I'd suggest going to the TP and looking for it used. Then you can really feel good about recycling and still use the cover type that you prefer.
natashaccat is offline  
#12 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 10:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
Artisan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 5,329
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Simone,

I'm trying to decide if PUL is bad for the environment. I agree with the poster who said that the production of ANYTHING will have an environmental impact. I'm just trying to evaluate the statement that PUL is as bad for the environment as disposables.
Artisan is offline  
#13 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 10:10 PM
 
Jachut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 1,095
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
EVERYTHING has some environmental impact. PUL would be like disposables I guess - it wouldnt biodegrade but heck, you only use a couple of covers in your child's babyhood versus thousands and thousands of disposables. But cloth takes resources to produce (cotton is very harsh on the environment), lots of water, detergent and electricity to wash - I do think about this one as we are now on second stage water restrictions in Melbourne, all those second rinses may not be a good idea. But keeping pasture fed animals like sheep, produces heaps of methane and contributes to the greenhouse effect. And the wool has to be shorn off the sheep and manufactured into something we can use.

Everything, disposable and cloth has to be transported around the country and the world to the point of sale.

All any of us can do is try to REDUCE the impact our actions have on the environment. There are many ways of doing this, and nobody is right or wrong - being in my fifth month of using cloth, I can certainly accept the argument that this is also quite environmentally damaging. I do it mainly for the health of my daughter anyway, but I do believe it is much less damaging than disposables.
Jachut is offline  
#14 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 10:17 PM
 
allformyboys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
as disposables, I am just thinking chemical wise the difference in shearing a sheep, and processing something with chemicals and artifical things. Sheep eat grass yes, as for the grazing causing erosion yeah it could if a pasture is over grazed and not rotated, but most farmers/raisers will consider this and rotate their pastures. The sheep waste goes back into the ground and re-grows the grass they eat, kinda the way God intended it ya know? the chemicals that are produced to make PUL and fleece (or any plastic for that matter) pollute the air and ground not helping grow anything, it is a natural cycle to use wool, but like I said PUL and fleece all have their benifits too.

I don't want to debate this, no one should feel bad about using PUL, I mean the fact that your using cloth diapers is SUCH a HUGE HUGE benifit to the earth I wouldn't sweat the fact that it is a plastic product, I personally choose wool, but like I said before it is more about the breathability of the wool than it was the environmental impact. I use disposable plates and cups in the summer a lot (*gasp* "shoot me now" ) but the plates and cups don't turn my kids all red and rashy. Ya know?
allformyboys is offline  
#15 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 10:21 PM
 
allformyboys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Jachut
EVERYTHING has some environmental impact. PUL would be like disposables I guess - it wouldnt biodegrade but heck, you only use a couple of covers in your child's babyhood versus thousands and thousands of disposables. But cloth takes resources to produce (cotton is very harsh on the environment), lots of water, detergent and electricity to wash - I do think about this one as we are now on second stage water restrictions in Melbourne, all those second rinses may not be a good idea. But keeping pasture fed animals like sheep, produces heaps of methane and contributes to the greenhouse effect. And the wool has to be shorn off the sheep and manufactured into something we can use.

Everything, disposable and cloth has to be transported around the country and the world to the point of sale.

All any of us can do is try to REDUCE the impact our actions have on the environment. There are many ways of doing this, and nobody is right or wrong - being in my fifth month of using cloth, I can certainly accept the argument that this is also quite environmentally damaging. I do it mainly for the health of my daughter anyway, but I do believe it is much less damaging than disposables.
EXACTLY what I wanted to say but said much better!
allformyboys is offline  
#16 of 21 Old 07-24-2003, 10:51 PM
 
allformyboys's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Michigan
Posts: 1,756
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have edited my pages on my site to reflect your point, it was well made and I have no clue if it was my site you were refering to or not, but I have changed the wording to more reflect my views on the subject. It was a stretch to say that they are as bad as sposies, I still stand by my choice that wool is better (at least for us) ~
allformyboys is offline  
#17 of 21 Old 07-25-2003, 12:19 AM
 
Sandra Dee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sipping peppermint tea and sucking on hard candy
Posts: 2,425
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My take on it is that PUL = Plastic - a non-biodegradable fiber that never will leave the earth. In that sense, yes - a PUL cover will be just as bad for the Earth as a disposable diaper.

HOWEVER - the fact that you use them over and over instead of throwing them away after one use makes them a FAR *better* choice.

The *best* environmental choice for covers and your waterproof needs is wool - because the fibers will biodegrade.

I don't think that it's so much an issue of natural resources and pollution as it is "where will this end up when I am finished with it". I began to get concerned when a big stack of diaperaps and proraps started fizzling out for us - aplix was coming off - there were holes, etc (these were SUPER cheap back in the days when we couldn't afford much else)...they had been handed down - and down - and down and we finally knew it was the end. But, I was so bummed thinking with all my efforts that these would end up in a pile in the landfills...I know, a HUGE difference between the pile created by disposables and a tiny bag of PUL covers...but I still felt bad.

Plus, like everything else, these things will eventually end up in the landfill - at one point I had over 3 dozen pocket diapers (all PUL)...plus Bumkins AIOs and Bumkins wraps and so on and so forth. Granted, they are all in good homes now but that aside - eventually they'll stop functioning and be in the trash as well. At least the wool covers I'm using now will break down in a fair amount of time and return to the earth.

Just my take on the issues!
Sandra Dee is offline  
#18 of 21 Old 07-25-2003, 02:29 AM
 
Scarlet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Sun Diego
Posts: 231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
IMO the best bet environmentally would be a stained or holey wool sweater destined for a landfill that you make into a butt sweater.

Yes wool has an environmental impact, but it does have a couple of advantages over plastics such as fleece or PUL. First, a lot of water is used processing crude oil. We have a limited amount of crude oil in the world and there are some things we need to make out of plastic... some medical equipment for instance.

Wool doesn't offgas, organic, gently treated and woven plant dyed wool (which most covers aren't BTW)has no possible carcinogens in it. PUL may not, but we can't be so sure. Even if there are none in the final product, did the refining or polymerising release any?

Also it takes a lot more to wear out a good wool cover than a PUL cover (the coating eventually fails on pul) so it is more likely to be reused.

the more times something is used the less environmental impact per use there is.

Wool needs washing less often which means less resources used for cleaning. Yes, covers take up little space in a load, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who has on occasion had to run a load because we ran out of covers before the bin was full due to a misplaced cover.

All that said, I use PuL and fleece far more than wool... the environment isn't my only consideration...
Scarlet is offline  
#19 of 21 Old 07-25-2003, 02:33 AM
 
Scarlet's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Sun Diego
Posts: 231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
oh found this about polyester manufacture

"its manufacture may be hazardous to workers. Infants of female workers exposed to antimony have suffered from higher rates of miscarriage, premature birth, and stunted growth, and breathing antimony has caused lung cancer in some animal studies. "

oh and just for the record in case anyone is wondering, no, I'm not a WAHM. I do occasionally (perhaps once or twice every six months) sell covers and some are wool and some are plastic based such as PUL.
Scarlet is offline  
#20 of 21 Old 07-25-2003, 02:35 PM
 
Sandra Dee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Sipping peppermint tea and sucking on hard candy
Posts: 2,425
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally posted by Scarlet
Wool needs washing less often which means less resources used for cleaning. [/B]
That's another great point - I even HAND wash my wool covers - and don't dry them. With the PUL and Fleece I was washing every day or every other day (small stash) - twice (fill up on cold, soak, rinse, wash on hot) PLUS drying - sometimes twice because of thicker fitteds in the mix.

Now I wash CPFs every two days or so - and those dry in one cycle...the wool covers I handwash and roll in a towel! YAY
Sandra Dee is offline  
#21 of 21 Old 02-10-2019, 08:13 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2019
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This a very old question but just in case people are still reading it in 2019, I would like to add that PUL is probably not the best when compared to wool or other natural fibers. When you wash synthetic materials, friction in the washing machine causes wear which results in the releases of microplastic fibers that get washed away along with the waste water. Waste water treatment plants are not filtering everything out. Microplastic particles are now being found in our water, reacting with other pollutants, being ingested by fish, oisters, etc, and are contaminating our food chain. Not a good situation worldwide. Plush fabrics like Polar Fleeces and Minky type fabrics shed the most. You can purchase filters to add to your washing machine lines or special balls that you throw into the washing machine that collect some microfibers but they cant catch everything.
Marisza is offline  
Reply


User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 1,313

7 members and 1,306 guests
DeonIvan , Dovenoir , idler , lauritagoddess , LexFitz , Realdeal , [email protected]
Most users ever online was 21,860, 06-22-2018 at 09:45 PM.