Environmental Impact of Disposable Diapers
Disposable Diaper Dilemma – How do disposable diapers affect the environment? The problem with disposable diapers, besides them being rather expensive for a growing family, is that they end up in landfills by the millions. These thrown away disposable diapers take an estimated 500 years to decompose! Additionally, they takes up huge amounts of resources including wood pulp and plastic during their manufacturing which contributes greatly to their unsustainable-ness < - not sure if that's a word.
Eco Fact: Americans throw away enough disposable diaper each year to stretch from the moon and back at least seven times. -Julia Butterfly Hill
Another point of note, is that only a small fraction of parents wash out disposable diapers before they throw them away. This is a huge problem because that means that millions of tons of potentially virus-infected diapers end up in our dump sites. This can result in the potential for hundreds of different viruses that are associated with the human feces can seep into our groundwater.
Disposable Diaper Alternatives
The alternative to disposable diapers are using cloth diapers. They can be reused at least a hundred times and will decompose in a few months. If saving anywhere from $500-$2000 a year with each child from not using disposable diapers sounds like a good idea to you then please use cloth diapers instead.
There are also several biodegradable diaper options available if you like the convenience of disposable diapers. There are several brands to choose from which we highlight below.
- gDiaper – you can either flush them down the toilet putting the poop where it belongs, or if you do throw it away, the diaper will decompose because it is made from organic ingredients. You could even put the diapers in your compost pile to return nutrients to your soil.
- Bambo Nature – These diapers are like ordinary disposable diapers but these have a much less eco-impact. They boast 75% biodegradable ingredients (as opposed to 35% in standard diapers) and they also claim to be certified free of harsh chemicals. As an added bonus they are certified non-toxic and hypoallergenic. Another really cool feature is that the diapers have a wetness indicator which is obviously a nifty way to see how wet the diaper may be.
- Seventh Generation Free & Clear Baby Diapers – Seventh Generation is known for making their products green. In the case of their Free & Clear baby diapers, they claim their diaper products are natural because they use “primarily natural ingredients and minimal processing”.
Alternative Cloth Diaper Options
And if you still don’t like the idea of disposable diapers even if they are biodegradable, then below are some useful options for cloth diapers.
- Thirsties – Are a Made in USA product. They offer a variety of different styles and comforts that are waterproof and made from microfibers and hemp cotton.
- BumGenius – BumGenius cloth diapers come with two inserts 1) for newborns and 2) for growing toddlers. The diapers have a special butterfly closure system for easy use but if you run into problems they have videos for proper usage available on their website for extra help.
- Fuzzibunz – We’ll let the video do the explanation on this one…
Photo Credits: gDiaper, Bambo Nature, Thirsties, BumGenius, and Fuzzibunz.
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