This will have to be a multi parter I think. Too much for this mommy to post at one time ;).
I think one of the biggest complaints people have about big families is the environmental impact and those people just assume (and we know what happens when you do that) that we don't care about the environment. It couldn't be further from the truth. I, of course, can't speak for everyone but I can tell you from my experience we are very concerned with it and we do our part to minimize the impact we have.
One of the reasons we large families do our part is frankly because its cheaper than to not. Our disposable culture has created so many things we "need" to buy - paper towels, cleaning supplies, name brand clothes, paper diapers and wipes ect. We actually don't "need" any of those things. I know mothers reading this are screaming, Wait! We need our diapers! Um, actually you don't. (screams of "But, But, But" are echoing in the cosmos)
The very best thing you can do for the environment related to diapering is Elimination Communication (here on out referred to as EC). EC is not early potty training. If anyone is being trained its not the baby but the mother and or father as the case may be. You can still use back ups of cloth diapers in case you miss a pee or a poo. There is no trash associated with this method. There is some water usage as you need to clean out the bowl, potty chair or flush the toilet. You may need to wash a few diapers if you miss a pee or poo.
If EC is not for you or if for whatever reason you can't do this (and yes there are legitimate reasons why you can't - no judging here), cloth diapering is your next best thing. Stop groaning! Its not that bad. Gone are the days of flats and pins, lap pads and stinky diapers swimming in a stew of bleach and poo in a pail. This is the new millennium; do you really think we can have video on demand and satellite on our cell phones and we wouldn't have improved our cloth diapers? You are gonna have more choices in diapers with cloth than with paper. We cloth diaper. Yup, with 8 kids we have time to cloth diaper, and have for 9 years. I didn't start till my 3rd was born. At that time my oldest was only 2.5. More than once have I had 3 in diapers. Now if you have more than a few kids and are saying you have enough laundry to do, I will remind you I have 10 people in this house. If I can do it, you can do it. Whats one more load?
There are those of you saying, "Yea well thats all fine for you but I am using eco friendly paper diapers." And I say, If you throw those away in a plastic bag going to a land fill they are no more eco friendly than any other diaper on the market. To break down those diapers need light and air, which they aren't gonna be getting in a plastic bag in a land fill.
For many large families its simply not possible to spend $2000 per kid on diapers. Finances and Ecoresponsibility often go hand in hand. The next time someone accuses you of draining the environment tell them you can't afford to!
I know people think its gross to clean out diapers. I guess it can be. But no more gross that being vomited on, peed on, pooped on, or waking up to a child who had diarrhea in their bed. I think by far the grossest thing I have ever cleaned up was dog diarrhea in the living room. That had to be the worst smelling substance known to man. Cleaning out diapers is nothing compared to that. Of course I make dh do it. But he obviously doesn't hate it enough to want to go to something else, after 9 years of it. I do my share. The compromise being I change the majority of the diapers, so he gets to participate too.