When you realize how many diapers are thrown away each year, the numbers can be shocking. The average baby uses 6-8 diapers a day, which amounts to close to 3,000 diapers a year for one child. According to the National Association of Diaper Service, an estimated 18 billion disposable diapers are thrown away every year. The typical disposable diaper takes approximately 500 years to decompose.
In addition to increased landfill waste, single-use diapers use many times more raw materials to make than cloth or reusable diapers. Another economic advantage to using cloth diapers is that children who wear cloth diapers are, on average, potty trained about a year sooner than children who use disposable diapers. That's a years worth diaper costs saved right there!
OK, you're convinced. You probably were already convinced before sitting through my diapers and the environment rant above. So then, which diapers are Eco-friendly and which are the best options for you? Eco-friendly diapers as well as the pros and cons of each type of diaper is listed below.
Cloth vs Disposable Diapers
It's hard for many people to convert to cloth diapers because it sounds a lot more time consuming and, the bigger issue, a lot messier. However, with improvements in cloth diapering, such as easy to use snaps and easy to change designs, using cloth diapers can be as easy as using disposable, the main difference being a few extra loads of laundry. The good news is that babies that use cloth diapers consistently potty train earlier than those that use disposable diapers, so you may be done diapering a year or more sooner than you would be if you choose to use disposable diapers.
Watch Disposable gLiners Break Down
The Best Eco-Friendly Diapers
You're choices when choosing an Eco-friendly diapers boil down to either environmentally friendly disposables or reusable cloth diapers. Some of the options are outlined in the rest of this article.
- gDiapers: gDiapers are an excellent combination between using cloth diapers and disposable diapers. Their disposable diaper inserts can be flushed, tossed or composted. You buy the reusable covers and replace the inserts as needed. If you would rather, you can use the gPants (diaper covers) with cloth diaper inserts.
How to Change gDiapers
- Nature Babycare: In some cases, using cloth or reusable diapers may not be an option. Naty diapers by Nature Babycare are single-use, disposable diapers. However, they are chlorine and chemical free, made from renewable and biodegradable materials and use a corn film barrier rather than plastic.
Eco Friendly Laundry Detergent for Washing Cloth Diapers
- OsoCozy Unbleached Prefold Cloth Diapers: The OsoCozy cotton diapers received great reviews on Amazon. Because they are made from natural cotton and unbleached, they diapers need to be washed 2-3 times before being used to rid them of the natural cotton oils. I recommend using an Eco-friendly laundry soap for your cloth diapers, such as Eco Nuts shown to the right. You'll also need to use a diaper cover for these diapers.
- bumGenius: bumGenius diapers have easy to use snap buttons stretchy sides to fit your baby. The one size fits babies from 7 to 35 lbs.
- Bumpkins: These are flushable diaper liners. You can use them with a diaper wrap such as Thirsties. There are a few different options of diaper liners to choose from, but the Bumpkins were the best reviewed that I found.
- Planet Wise Diaper Wet Bag: If using cloth and washable diapers, you'll want to keep a wet bag nearby!
- Abena Bamboo Nature: These are another option of single-use diapers. They are free of chemicals and allergens and are 80% biodegradable and 99% compostable, which is excellent. Although they are a few cents more expensive than regular disposable diapers, but they are some of the most environmentally friendly single-use diapers you can find.
When you choose to use Eco-friendly diapers, you are making a big difference in the environment. In addition, environmentally friendly diapers are better for you baby because they don't contain chlorine, chemicals and plastics. If you choose to use cloth diapers, you even may be saving a significant amount of money during the diapering years. Please leave a comment if you have any thoughts or questions, or if you have found any diapers not mentioned here that you use and love.