Did you know that there are over four million babies born every year in the United States, and that the average baby who uses disposable diapers goes through about 8,000 of them? Imagine that, 8,000 diapers per every one of those four million who are born annually in the U.S. It's a wonder how we're not already all drowning in diaper waste.
That isn't the case ... yet, but it's still horrifying to think about all those plastic-covered diapers that don't break down for millions of years, just sitting in landfills, with thousands more added to that pile every day.
So why hasn't anyone invented a more eco-friendly alternative to the commonly used disposable diaper? Oh wait, plenty of people already have.
Many may find the idea of reusable diapers off-putting or unsanitary, but that may be because they have the wrong idea of what reusable diapers are. They aren't just pieces of cloth that require hours of washing and gallons of soapy water before they can reused. Plenty of companies are producing diapers that are biodegradable or have easily removable inserts that naturally break down in the environment after they've been used.
Eco-friendly doesn't mean these diapers are less absorbent or necessarily more expensive either. Below is an alphabetical list of some companies that produce eco-friendlier diapers than the traditional Pamper or Huggies, and all have gotten very positive reviews.
Bambo Nature diapers are actually designed like traditional disposable diapers, but they are much thinner very absorbent with a unique layer that wicks moisture away from a baby's bottom, which means it does its job while creating less waste.
bumGenius diapers are cloth snap-on diapers that come with inserts made of natural fibers. This design means parents don't need to carry around bulky disposables everywhere they take their child, and can simply pack the inserts, which take up a lot less room. The company also produces an all-in-one diaper that can be adjusted to accommodate a baby's size as he or she grows, which is pretty convenient.
Cushie Tushies' diapers contain cloth absorbent boosters made of bamboo and organic cotton. According to the website, these diapers can last 3-4 hours between changes, while a lining also helps wick moisture away from the skin.
Earth's Best's mission is to provide natural and organic care products for babies and toddlers, including formula, soft baby foods and cereals, wipes and chlorine-free diapers. According to their website, the diapers are made of renewable resources and fewer petrochemicals than most commercial diapers.
G Diapers consist of reusable cloth covers with disposable, biodegradable inserts. The cloth is made of washable cotton that is designed to breathe to keep a baby's bottom dry, and they come in a wide range of fun colors and patterns. The inserts are designed so that can be flushed, composted or simply thrown away. That is a heck of a lot more convenient than figuring out how to roll up and dispose of a plastic diaper, which usually fills up the trash can pretty quickly.
Seventh Generation produces a whole line of eco-friendly products, including home-cleaning solutions, laundry detergents, recycled toilet paper, body wash, lotions and of course, diapers. With a mission on making diapers using only the materials babies need and nothing they don't, their green diapers are fragrance- and latex-free, and also do not contain petroleum-based lotions or chlorine.
Thirsties diapers are cloth nappies that made of high-quality fabric that are sourced as locally as possible, which means the diapers are not being made in places like China with substandard materials, then creating unnecessary carbon emissions during transport. Their website also says their warehouse is 100% powered by wind energy, with any carbon footprints created during production offset by Renewable Energy Certificates. Almost all of Thirsties' products are created while keeping renewability, recyclability and offsetting carbon emission in mind.