Can Disposable Diapers Ever Be Green?

As a parent, one of your responsibilities is trying to make sure that your children inherit an Earth that is pleasant to live in. Changing some things in your life to be more eco-friendly isn’t really a big deal, especially when green options are just as convenient as the items you are already using, such as switching to CFL light bulbs. Diapers, however, are one part of parenting in an eco-friendly way that you may have some questions about. Diapers aren’t green, and traditional diapers can actually be one of the worst products for the planet available. There are some options that you can choose that are far more environmentally friendly, but just as convenient as the disposable diapers you are using right now.

The Scoop on Disposable Diapers

Going to the market to pick up diapers seems innocent enough, after all, thousands of parents use the same diapers as your family every day. There are some facts on disposable diapers that you may not know, however. Disposable diapers contain dozens of chemicals and have a silica gel interior that holds moisture. The chemical composition of the diaper is made to last when worn by an active baby, but did you know that a disposable diaper can also last for 500 years in a landfill? Some other facts on traditional disposable diapers include:

-Each diaper takes up to one full cup of petroleum to make
-One baby uses enough diapers to make a tower that is the same height as the Empire State Building
-Disposable diapers are the third largest amount of consumer items that go into landfills every year
-All diapers, including disposables, should be dumped into the toilet before throwing away

Amazingly, the same chemicals that absorb wetness and make a disposable diaper durable are also the same chemicals that make the diaper nearly impossible to biodegrade in landfill conditions. Recent studies have also shown that the chemical composition of the diapers that are currently being manufactured are also much harsher on your baby’s skin. There are some greener options for diapering your baby that are better for the Earth and your little one’s skin.

Better Options

When searching for better options for the environment and your little one, you may notice that the two main choices are disposables and cloth diapers. There are other options, however. Don’t think that you have to make your switch an all-or-nothing deal, either. Even using a greener option part-time will make a big difference. There are four main options for diapering your baby. You can choose from traditional disposable diapers, environmentally-friendly disposable diapers made with fewer chemicals and that are biodegradable, hybrid diapering systems that use cloth covers with disposable inserts, and cloth diapers. Here is the scoop on each of these types of diapers:

Hybrid systems of diapering are becoming very popular. This method of diapering uses a cloth cover and inserts, which are small pads similar in look and feel to disposable diapers. The inserts are biodegradable, and made to be safe for baby. You can check out GDiapers if you are interested in this option of diapering.

Green disposables, such as those made by Seventh Generation, are chlorine free and contain much fewer chemicals than traditional disposable diapers. Nature Babycare disposables are also chlorine free, and are made with natural, non-toxic ingredients.

Cloth diapers are the greenest and safest way to diaper your baby. Buying cloth diapers can be more costly in the beginning, but you will never have to purchase another diaper after your initial investment. If you don’t think you have time to cloth diaper because of work, then use cloth on weekends. You can pick up a few pocket diapers, with either snaps or velcro, and try them out. You may be surprised at how simple it is to use this eco-friendly option. Some of the most popular brands of cloth diapers are Fuzzi Bunz, Bum Genius, and Rumparooz. These diapers are very simple to use, and you can even email their maker if you have any questions about use or care.