Babies + Kids, Non-Toxic Living

The Best Biodegradable Diapers

As a parent to a little one in diapers, you likely know the cost that comes along with them. Let’s not forget how many times they have to be changed and the amount of garbage that adds up too. 

We know that you are stretch thinned as a parent, which is why we are giving you all of the details about the best biodegradable diapers. 

You are obviously looking for a better diaper option because you care about our planet or maybe you are just a little crunchy like us. Either way, we are glad you’re here because we like the thought of biodegradable diapers as well. 

The average person may not realize it, but did you know that over a baby’s lifetime they will use about 7,000 diapers or more?! Can you even begin to imagine how many diapers are in the landfill? In the U.S. alone, it’s estimated that 20 billion disposable diapers make their way to landfill every year! And let’s not forget about the pathogens that are released into the air from solid waste! 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.

biodegradable diapers on a shelf in the store with label

What’s So Great About Biodegradable Diapers?

You’re probably wondering how biodegradable diapers differ from conventional diapers and why they are such a big deal. For starters, they are eco-friendly because they can be broken down naturally, turned back into the soil, and are made from renewable resources. This means that there would be less waste collecting on our planet and less pollution from the harmful materials that conventional diapers are made of. 

The average disposable diaper contains some natural ingredients, like wood pulp, but the rest of the ingredient list is full of toxins. The actual diaper portion consists of plastics, paper, and sometimes woven fabric. The sticky tab that keeps the diaper on contains polyethylene or polypropylene, and adhesives that can be toxic. Why would we want this for our babies when we could swap to a biodegradable one that is free from harsh chemicals?

How Long Does It Take For A Conventional Disposable Diaper to Decompose?

This is a tricky question. The first disposable diaper that made its way to the mainstream market in the U.S. was by Johnson & Johnson around 1948, since then other companies followed suit.  Studies are estimating that it takes up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose. This cannot be accurately tested yet, because they have not been around for 500 years to see if they actually break down then.

How Long Does It Take For Biodegradable Diapers to Decompose?

There are speculations that it takes about 50 years for a biodegradable diaper to fully decompose. That sounds like a long time, but if you are unfamiliar with decomposing times, let’s use a banana as an example. In a natural setting, it takes 2 years. In a commercial setting like a landfill, it would take about a month. While 50 years seems like a long time, at least it’s shorter than 5 centuries!

Are Diapers Recyclable?

No. While some diapers may use recyclable ingredients, not all of them do. But that’s not the biggest concern. It’s the human waste that poses the problem. Just as a used needle is considered a biohazard, so is a soiled diaper. 

Are Diapers Compostable?

For starters, composting means the process of breaking down organic material and most people use this as a fertilizer for lawns, farming, and home-grown gardens. 

Conventional single-use disposable diapers are not compostable because they contain synthetic materials that cannot be broken down organically or naturally. 

Some biodegradable diapers are compostable, but you should always refer to the label to be sure. According to Gardening Know How, you should only compose wet diapers, solid waste should be disposed of as usual. She also mentions that you should only use the inside of the diaper and diaper composting should not occur anywhere near food gardens. This is because average composting piles don’t get hot enough to kill bacteria and other pathogens to be safe enough for food, but are perfectly fine for plants and trees. 

Is There a “Right Way” to Throw Away Biodegradable Diapers?

Technically when disposing of a dirty diaper, you should dump the contents into the toilet, then dispose of the diaper. While most parents skip this step, sources say you should wrap the diaper in a plastic or paper bag and dispose of it in the trash. Here’s what the EPA has to say,” Disposable diapers fall under the category of municipal solid waste, which means the material is safe to be disposed of in a U.S. municipal solid waste landfill. Modern landfills are well-engineered facilities that are located, designed, operated, and monitored to ensure compliance with federal regulations, which aim to protect the environment from contaminants, which may be present in the solid waste stream.”

diapers opened on a blue and pink background

What are Biodegradable Diapers Made of?

From brand to brand, ingredients may vary but most of the time biodegradable diapers are made from natural resources and free from toxic chemicals. Bamboo is an ingredient that is widely used because it’s non-toxic and renewable. Another popular material is wood pulp. 

Some companies don’t disclose their ingredients but promise they are bio and plant-based. Most of those products will have a certification, so you won’t have to worry. 

You may also find natural oils and extracts that help with odor and irritations. 

How to Buy Biodegradable Diapers – Factors to Consider

Do Biodegradable Diapers Cost More?

Like most natural products, some biodegradable diapers do cost more. However, there are several brands and even diaper subscription services that cost the same as the conventional disposable diaper. 

Are Biodegradable Diapers Non-Toxic?

This varies from brand to brand. Just because a product is eco-friendly or uses other terminology on the label doesn’t mean that it is nontoxic. Diaper manufacturers aren’t required to disclose all of their ingredients. So be sure to check the labels carefully! We also composed a list of the best non-toxic diapers you may find helpful which includes ingredients you should avoid. 

Check out the Reviews!

Any time you are shopping for something new you check the labels, this is no different when looking for biodegradable diapers. See what parents have to say about the absorbancy, the fit, and if their child had any skin irritations. 

Another great option to consider when you are trying to move away from single disposable diapers is cloth diapering.

The Best Biodegradable Diapers 

Andy Pandy Premium Bamboo Disposable Diapers

These eco-friendly diapers are not only biodegradable, but are free from chlorine, phthalates, latex, PVC, alcohols, preservatives, and TBT. They offer durability and extreme softness. Andy Pandy diapers are naturally hypoallergenic which is great for sensitive skin. If you love a company that supports a cause, a portion of their proceeds benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. 

Earth + Eden Baby Diapers

No need to worry about lotions, latex, chlorine bleaching, or fragrances because Earth + Eden just wants to be gentle on your baby’s skin. The fluff is SFI certified, cruelty-free, and printed with nontoxic water-based ink. They are made in the US and produced in a zero waste to landfill facility. These biodegradable diapers are very affordable if you are watching your budget.

ECO BOOM Baby Bamboo Biodegradable Diapers

Here is another great option for sensitive skin. Since they are formulated from baboo, they are naturally soft. ECO Boom also doesn’t use harmful ingredients like chlorine, also, latex, or phthalates. 

Eco Pea Co. 

These natural diapers are biodegradable, eco-friendly, and non-toxic. They also have a wetness indicator and blow off guard, which you know is nice to have. Customers are ranting and raving over these luxury soft baby diapers! 

Many people let the amount of diaper waste slip their mind, but when you care about the environment and want a more naturally made diaper for your little one, biodegradable diapers may be the perfect solution! 

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