Diapers – Cloth or Disposable?

I use disposable diapers.  Cloth diapers just aren’t a practical solution for me, and I am ok with that.  I am not necessarily comfortable with the plastic and waste that ends up in our landfills from the use of disposables, nor am I a big fan of the energy and water used to launder cloth diapers.  But now there are new options; eco-friendly disposables, “hybrid diapers”, all-in-ones, and pocket diapers – all of which I will give you the low-down on so you can make your own decision.

From the information I have gathered, it seems that Nature Babycare Diapers are the best green choice in disposables.  They are 100% compostable, chlorine [and latex and fragrance, etc] free, breathable, and the packaging is biodegradable.  They use “absorbent pulp from sustainably harvested Scandinavian forests” as opposed to the sodium polyacrylate [SAP] gel found in most disposable brands.


Tushies are also free of SAP, chlorine, fragrance, and the like.  They also seem to be a bit easier to find in stores.


Seventh Generation does contain the SAP gel, but are chlorine, latex, and fragrance free.


Then, as we get closer to cloth, you have options like gDiapers, which you can flush, compost, or toss.  There is a washable outer pant and a plastic [and chlorine, latex, fragrance] free refill that goes inside.  They also contain SAP.


There are tons of choices for Pocket Diapers.  Basically, it’s a water resistant, washable outer layer with an inner layer that rests against your baby’s skin [most common inner layer is microfleece, but you can opt for other choices – including organic velour!].  Between the layers is a pocket and that pocket holds an absorbent insert.  A few pocket diaper options are:  Swaddlebees, bumGenius, Wahmies, Green Acre Designs [pictured below], and so many more.


Kushies [pictured below] and Bumkins seem to be the most popular brands of “All-in-One” fitted, washable diapers.


And then you have your flat, prefolds, contour, and fitted cloth options.  As well as picking the cloth diaper cover of your choice [and there are some cute ones!]  All of which are up to personal preference.  So, happy diapering everyone.  Oh – two quick things – don’t forget to flush the waste before disposing those disposables and I have a website to share with you.  Diapers.com They have all the brands I talked about and more, as well as tons of other baby products that are cheaper here in small bulk quantities than anywhere else I have found.  The link will take you to their green products page [naturally].

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  • May 20, 2009 - 4:20 am | Permalink

    The water and energy used to launder cloth diapers can be quite small, especially if you use an energy efficient machine. (Flushable diapers can actually use more water, being flushed 8-10 times a day at 1.6-5 gallons per flush, then water it takes it wash cloth diapers, which can be as little as 15 gallons a week.) Disposable diapers also take plenty of water and energy to be manufactured. Readers might like to explore the single study done on flushable diapers and how flushable they really are, when they hit the water processing system. http://www.cityofvancouver.us/wastewater.asp (contains the study itself plus G diaper rebuttal). You can find out much more about cloth diapers at twitter.com/babyworks, reading down a ways. We all have plenty of diapering choices, let’s just keep cloth diapers in context with other environmental choices – in a broad context, whether it’s more environmentally sound to wash and to reuse, or to discard, in all types of products. (E.g., plastic forks and paper plates vs. water and energy used to wash dishes?) Showers and baths, normal toilet flushing, watering lawns, regular laundering…..all are considered normal and desirable activities which use more water than washing cloth diapers. (And of course we’re all using environmentally friendly washing and cleaning products?) That said, people have reasons for choosing disposables and reasons for choosing cloth – this just refers to the environmental aspects of the choices.

  • May 20, 2009 - 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your comment and the info, Paula. I agree with you on the flushables. I use the eco-friendly disposables – we live in an apartment with no washer/dryer and paying for a laundering service for cloth is a cost we can’t afford, so we do the best we can. XO

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