.. but, as I watch the diapers go through a fifth wash cycle to be stripped (they periodically need a deep clean), I wonder, how much am I actually saving?
So I did the math. While the calculation will be subtly different for each user, I think this makes for a good real-world example.
- 30 bumGenius one-size pocket diapers with liners.
- Samsung washer (WF393BTPARA) and electric dryer (DV393ETPARA).
- Snohomish PUD electricity, Alderwood Water District for water.
- Septic tank, so no usage-based sewer charges.
SnoPUD charges residential customers $0.09437/kWh during the winter (less during summer).
Alderwood Water has a tiered system, from a base level included, then from $2.40/CCF to $3.50/CCF. Taking the average of my last billing cycle, we will use $1.8625/CCF.
Our appliances are quite new and by most measures considered "Energy Efficient". The 3.9cuft washer has a Modified Energy Factor of 3.3 (cuft/kwh), and a Water Consumption Factor of 2.90. The dryer has a DOE rating of 3.01 (lb/kwh). The covers and liners weight 9lb.
Wash: ( (1/3.3MEF * 3.9cuft * $0.04237/kwh) + (3.9cuft * 2.9 WCF / 100CCF * $1.8625/CCF)) * 3 cycles / 30 diapers = ($0.05007 + $0.2106) * 3/30 = $0.026072
Dry: 1 / 3.01(lb/kWh) * 9lb * $0.04237/kWh / 30 diapers = $0.004223
TOTAL = $0.03030 per cleaned diaper.
Of course, there's an up-front cost too. Assuming the Amazon price of $17.99, plus a $39.99 sprayer, you have an up-front cost of $579.69. There is a healthy resale market, but I'm assuming buying new and keeping forever.
Now, let's compare to disposables. Costco's cheapest diapers (averaging equally between sizes 1-2, 3 and 4) cost $0.1831 / diaper, offering a potential profit is $0.1528 per diaper.
BREAK EVEN POINT: 3794 diapers.
National Geographic estimated a child uses 3796 diapers in a lifetime. As a father, that doesn't seem even remotely possible. I would take a wild guess, and place that number closer to 5000, and estimate a modest profit of $180. The profit increases more if you can reuse the diapers with a second child, or resell them.