composting diapersYour baby shower is long behind you and your bundle of joy has officially burned through the last of what seemed like a “lifetime supply” of assorted diapers gifted to you during that memorable, calm-before-the-storm soirée.

Of course this fateful diaper-purchasing day was bound to happen, but are you really ready for it? Take a deep breath. Some say that parenthood in general is a wild ride. Others insist that the greatest shock to one’s system is coming to grips with the cost of that very first 50-pack of diapers and the realization that you’ll be at the cash register repeating the very same transaction hundreds of times thereafter. There are so many decisions to make while standing in the baby care aisle of your favorite store. What is the most reputable diaper brand out there? Which company makes a diaper that fits as well as it absorbs? What materials are used and are they toxin-free? How much is this going to cost me? Hmm, I should also be concerned about what kind of ecological impact my final purchase is going to have on the planet. Alas, it’s not as clear cut as an eager eco-beaver might hope. Whether you like the idea of diapering your baby with disposable, washable or compostable options, each have their own distinctive set of pros and cons. However, if you have ever wanted a basic compostable diaper primer, perhaps the following facts will help you to make a more informed choice: What does ‘compostable’ actually mean? Compostable items, when exposed to living microorganisms, water, light, heat and/or air, will biodegrade or break down into naturally occurring organic molecules that enrich the soil. That is a pretty big plus since that means that your baby will not contribute as much waste to your local landfill as other infants that are diapered with conventionally manufactured products. Positive aspects of compostable diapers
  • Compared to mainstream versions, compostable diapers reduce landfill burden and ecological impact.
  • Like disposable diapers, compostable versions are convenient to use and easy to take on the road.
  • They are made with natural, sustainable, plant-based materials that allow the skin to breathe (rather than energy-intensive, synthetic materials).
  • Compostable diapers are produced without conventional skin irritants such as dangerous chemicals, scents, etc. Plus, they are typically hypoallergenic and latex-free.
  • The majority of today’s compostable diaper brands are stylish and esthetically pleasing.
  • Some are actually flushable!
  • If landfilled, compostable diapers will still break down in as little as 50 to 150 days rather than the 500 years that experts believe conventional versions require.
  • Nationwide, there are even multiple compostable diaper services that take care of the dirty work for you.
Negative aspects of compostable diapers
  • There are a relatively limited number of compostable diaper brands on the market today.
  • In many cases, compostable brands aren’t readily available at mainstream stores.
  • Eco-friendly diapers are typically a bit more expensive than conventional versions.
  • Special composting rules can be a turn-off. (It’s essential that you add only urine-soaked diapers to your bin and maintain proper temperature, moisture and aeration levels.)
  • Some brands only successfully break down when exposed to the high temperatures found in municipal composting facilities.
  • Plastic tabs on some compostable diaper brands throw a wrench in the whole eco-formula, making municipal composting facilities less likely to accept them.
  • Overall, compostable diapers suffer from a bad reputation. Conventional consumers are under the mistaken notion that the majority of compostable diapers are messy, ill-fitting, poorly constructed, inconvenient and even smelly.
  • Some brands (such as gDiapers) are made with a crystalline, petroleum-derived polymer called sodium polyacrylate that, while an effective absorbent material, is nevertheless linked to diaper rash, staph infections and immune system suppression.
Compostable diaper brands to consider