A Guide to Selecting an Eco-Friendly Diaper for Your Baby

Mother changing babies cloth diaperThere are lots of things that you’ll have to do in preparation for a new baby and one of them is figuring out how you plan to effectively use diapers. It goes without saying that this isn’t really an issue you can ignore! Unfortunately, if you simply go to the grocery store and pick up the first brand of diapers you see, you will be exposing your little one to a bunch of chemicals, toxins and perfumes. Not to mention, selecting diapers is actually one of the most environmental decisions you’ll ever have to make if you’re a parent.

If you want to go the eco-friendly route, the good news is that there are options. For example, there are various brands on the market today with natural materials and that are also scent-free. You can also choose from a variety of cloth diapering options. There are far more choices out there now than there were years ago.

What is Most Sustainable?

If you are worried about renewable resources, you might not want to use regular disposable diapers at all.  Clean Air Council says that Americans throw away 49 million diapers per day. Plus, there is the issue of them decomposing over time.

Babies can go through 5000 diapers before they are toilet trained. Most of these diapers end up in landfills. The EPA says that diapers make up 3.4 million tons of waste each year.

Is Reusable Cloth The Way to Go?
Diaper or nappy safety pinIf you choose reusable cloth diapers, not only are you doing something very positive for the planet, but also you will save thousands of dollars over the course of your child’s baby and toddler years.

There are actually four different types of reusable cloth diapers: the All-in-one Cloth diaper, the fitted cloth diaper, the prefold diaper, and the pocket cloth diaper.

The one you choose will depend on your personal preferences. Basically, here are some points you’ll want to take into account.

-All-in-one Cloth Diapers are most leak proof. They don’t require a diaper cover since the cover is sewn in. Brands include bumGenius, Kissaluvs and Bamboo Baby.

-Fitted Cloth diapers do require a diaper cover. They dry faster than the all-in-one option. You can get adorable colors and prints.

-Prefold cloth diapers are the most like the old-fashioned diapers that you yourself may have once worn. They require a diaper pin and a diaper cover.

-Pocket cloth diapers usually are made from materials that can keep a baby’s skin dry. These have a few parts: a waterproof outside barrier, fabric and an insert.

 Outer Covers and Biodegradable Inserts

thirsties-diapers.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smartgDiapers are becoming increasingly popular. This system includes outer covers with cute designs along with biodegradable inserts. Through this means, you can throw away the dirty diaper, but you don’t have to worry about throwing everything away. It’s a far more sustainable route.

You can even get inserts and covers made out of natural materials like hemp. Other brands that include outer shells and inserts you can throw away include FuzziBunz and Thirsties.

Biodegradable Disposables

Mother with her boy in the supermarketYou’ll end up spending about $1000 more if you go with disposable diapers that are biodegradable, but you’ll know your baby is not being constantly exposed to chemicals. Plus, you will be taking less of a toll on our planet.

The problem with biodegradable diapers, however, is they contain gelling materials for absorbency. These can ultimately decrease sperm count and are linked to other health problems. They also require ample energy and fuel to be produced.

If you have to go with a traditional diaper, you’ll definitely want to opt for one free of chemicals and toxic scents. You won’t find anything like latex or chlorine, which, sadly, are found in other diaper options. Good brands include Seventh Generation Free and Clear. This is a good option for those who simply can’t make the commitment to a cloth diaper.

free-and-clear-seventh-generation-diapers.jpg.644x0_q100_crop-smartEarth’s Best also makes an eco-friendly diaper. Not only are they free of chlorine, latex, dyes, and perfume , but also they are made with natural materials like corn and wheat.

There are even diapers made out of bamboo, such as Bambo Nature Diaper. The company that makes them is actually certified by a green label due to the fact that they allow frequent environmental inspections. The diapers contain no chlorine, phthalates, and other toxic chemicals.

You can see an impressive breakdown of the benefits of various disposable diaper options at BabyGearLab. http://www.babygearlab.com/Disposable-Diaper-Reviews?n=5&sort_field=#top

Ultimately, the least expensive and most eco friendly option may indeed be cloth diapers. You can either wash them yourself (the cheapest option) or use a diaper service. The service would pick up your dirty diapers and deliver clean ones to your home. You will just have an initial investment at the beginning, which includes inserts, covers and sometimes liners. When the Real Diaper Industry Association did research in past years, they found that sales of cloth diapers went up 30% between 2000-2007!

The option you select, of course, is a personal preference. But it’s essential that you at least try your best to protect your child and also your planet. We are lucky that there are far more eco-friendly options than in years gone by. You don’t have to throw those Pampers in your grocery cart!

Posted by February 07, 2015 at 3:46 PM under Environment Home Living Tips

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