Non-biodegradable disposable green diapers are not much better than conventional disposables.
I hesitate to even call these diapers green. I wouldn’t go so far as to say these are greenwashing diapers, but really what you should call them are less toxic disposables not green. Less toxic disposable diapers are only a very slender notch up from regular conventional disposable diapers and include choices like…
- Natural Choice Environmentally-Sensitive Diapers
- Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Diapers
- Earth’s Best TenderCare Chlorine Free Diapers
- Tushies Diapers
These non-toxic disposables have some perks such as…
- They’re usually made with chlorine-free tree pulp vs. chlorine. Some are even made with tree pulp from sustainable forests.
- The backsheet, topsheet, or other parts may be made with renewable resources; however, that doesn’t mean the whole diaper is renewable friendly, just parts. Part of this perk is that the diaper overall may take up to 30% less petroleum to make than conventional disposable brands.
- Some have zero oil-based plastic parts that could touch your baby’s skin.
- Made without fragrances or latex.
- Sometimes the diapers are packaged in packaging made with some or a lot of recycled content.
- Often the companies behind these diapers do much more (on a large scale) for the environment than big conventional diaper companies. For example would you rather buy diapers like Pampers, made by Procter & Gamble, a company who also makes a ton of icky, pollution causing, earth-harming products and who tests on animals? OR would you rather buy diapers from Seventh Generation who make very few earth-harming products beyond these diapers? Your money does speak for you. It’s always nice to buy from a greener company.
And the downside of less toxic disposable diapers…
- Not that different from regular conventional diapers. BUT usually cost a lot more. In fact the lack of perks vs. costs has driven many an official green mama to buy normal old conventional diapers, and it’s hard to argue that you shouldn’t.
- They still have Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP); a gel found in almost all disposables and is known to be toxic (although that’s a debate right now). Tushies Gel Free Diapers are the ONE exception and are 100% SAP free.
- Less toxic disposables sit in a landfill just like regular disposables and are a sad choice compared to biodegradable or cloth reusable diapers.
So should you buy less toxic diapers?
I think it’s a personal choice based on budget and how concerned you are about corporate lameness. Less toxic disposables just aren’t all that much better than conventional disposables. There’s a part of me that does suggest you choose a less toxic disposables vs. conventional brand based on your research into a company.
Supporting Seventh Generation who does mostly carry eco-friendly products and who is independently owned vs. mass corporate owned is a better choice to me than supporting a big bad eco-NOT friendly company. If you can research less toxic disposables, choose a company you like and then get natural diaper coupons or buy in bulk, that’s a good choice but there are way better choices out there, such as reusable diapers.