Many parents struggle with busy schedules, which can make tasks like constantly washing reusable cloth diapers difficult. But there are also parents who insist they want to use environmentally responsible diapers.
If you are one of those parents, here is what you need to know about eco-friendly diapering.
Standard Disposable Diapers: Not Usually Environmentally Responsible
A single child can go through thousands of disposable diapers before finishing potty training. Those diapers end up in landfills around the world.
Some brands of disposable diapers never break down into organic materials again, at least not in a reasonable time frame. Estimates indicate that the process can take up to 500 years in some cases.
Cloth Diapers May Not Be as Eco-Friendly as They Appear
There is no doubt cloth diapers seem to be more eco-friendly than disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are washable, meaning fewer wind up in landfills.
However, they are not necessarily eco-friendly for reasons like the following:
- They are typically made with cotton, which is not eco-friendly to grow and harvest.
- The energy used to wash them can add up quickly.
- A lot of water is used when washing them.
Cloth diapers also are not exactly parent-friendly, as you may know if you are a busy parent. You may not have the ability to set aside enough time to constantly keep up with washing them.
That could cause them to accumulate in your home, creating a smelly mess. The alternative is to look for disposable diapers that are marketed as eco-friendly, but you must know which ones are before you buy them.
Confusing Supposedly Eco-Friendly Terminology
Diapers are often labeled as “natural,” “organic,” or “pure,” which are unregulated terms. Sometimes, those statements may only refer to one ingredient used, not the diapers.
Similarly, “sustainable” diaper brands sometimes use fewer chemicals in production, but they are not necessarily biodegradable.
Biodegradable or compostable diapers are usually much better options. Yet, you must still dispose of them wisely.
When you throw a biodegradable diaper in a garbage can, it may not break down fully for over 1,000 years. That is because garbage is taken to landfills.
Moisture, air, and sunlight are needed for the biodegrading process to take place. Most landfills lack those elements.
One alternative to cloth diapers is to find a biodegradable brand that is truly eco-friendly and disposes of the used diapers responsibly. When you buy these diapers, you can find several brands available that often cost less than 75 cents per diaper.
However, you still need to invest some time to either find a nearby composting facility or set up your own composting area on your property.