More about those diapers

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I published a new and updated review of “green” diapers (Seventh Generation, Whole Foods 365 Private Label and gDiapers).

There’s a lot of new information, much of it gained from very recent email exhanges with the companies involved, as well as some more thorough research on the net.

The new review complements the old one with many new facts and considerations about:

  1. The safety of SAP
  2. The lack of biodegradation of (even) green diapers in landfills
  3. Polypropolene as an ingredient
  4. The biodegradability of gDiapers in sewage, and SAP again
  5. What does “chlorine-free” mean, what’s the difference between ECF and TCF, and does it make a difference, e.g., between green and non-green disposables?
  6. And where does the woodpulp hail from?

If the article concludes anything, it is that the choice of diapers is not as easy as it seems, even after you’ve made up your mind about “going green”. For instance,

if I accept that SAP is safe and non-toxic to babies and to the environment, all three diapers reviewed here, and indeed all disposables, are acceptable. But then I ask, what about the other ingredients? If the polypropolene bothers me, I should switch to gDiapers. But what about the wood pulp in gDiapers? Does it matter that it is only Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) and not Total Chlorine-Free (TCF)? Come to think of it, this ECF claim that is so intensely advertized to make the green diaper look better, also applies to much of the pulp used in Huggies, for instance? On the other hand,  how sure can be be of that? And also, some of the Huggies wood pulp comes all the way from Australia, where do Seventh Gen, 365 and gDiapers get their wood…

Suggestions and comments are welcome: please make them to this post (still haven’t figured out the comment-on-pages issue).

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54 Comments

  1. Ok, at the risk of offending the squeemish: our current diaper plan is to go w/g diapers and their compostable single-use inserts (vs cloth, to avoid bleach, water/energy use & health issues) and then COMPOST them all at home. We have been wanting to compost our kitchen waste. I’m learning there are issues w/composting human waste. I am looking online, but would love to hear from anyone with knowledge/experience in this arena. THANKS

    If we compost g diaper inserts, I am getting that we will have to pace this. Do you think that going with the compostable inserts 100% (over cloth) but only composting 3 wet only diapers/day and then “trashing” the others, is still a greener option than a cloth combo, where we would have to use bleach, water, energy, etc. to clean? I am finding it difficult to accurately evaluate this question. THANKS

  2. You don’t need to bleach cloth diapers. I would recommend going with a tan diaper rather than a white cloth, but we’ve never bleached ours and they look fine. You rinse immediately after a poop.

    And the amount of water to produce a plastic diaper is significantly more than the small amount of water used to clean cloth diapers.

  3. Thank you for your thorough investigation on disposable diapers! I especially appreciate that you not only looked at the content of the diaper but where they are sourced from.
    Thanks so much for doing this hard work to help the rest of us make the best ethical decisions we can.

  4. Hi, thank you for this well investigated article. There are several companies that sell bamboo diapers that claim they are compostable. Have you heard about these? Example: Andy Pandy

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