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Are Compostable Diapers a Thing? Here’s the Deal With Sustainable Diapers and Which Brands Can Be Composted

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Ah, the diaper days. If you have a baby in diapers right now, the last thing you’re probably worrying about is your carbon footprint. You’ve got a real-life baby to look after, milestones to keep track of, and so much more to think about now that you are getting way less sleep. But let’s be real — changing diapers is a huge part of having a baby. Diapers are a necessary evil, but they can be really costly over time and don’t forget, they’re essentially single-use. All those gross diapies you roll up and chuck in the trash? Yeah, they’re going straight to the landfill where they’ll likely never biodegrade.

Babies can require anywhere from 2,500 to 3,000 disposable diapers from the time they are born to the time they turn one. That’s nearly 3,000 diapers that you are sending to the landfill per year (and that’s just for one kid!). In fact, disposable diapers make up about 2 percent of the United States’ landfill waste. At this rate, your baby’s first word will be “yikes” — after all, he/she is the one who is inheriting the planet!

No wonder you’re looking for a better, more sustainable option, Mom (or Dad). Many parents question whether traditional single-use diapers are compostable and while you may know of a few sustainable diapering options, composting is perhaps one of the more convenient options (no laundering dirty diapers necessary). 

Are Diapers Compostable?

Sadly, traditional single-use diapers are not compostable. In order to be compostable, something needs to biodegrade on its own, which means it is made from natural materials and therefore able to break down naturally. When added to the compost, the thing would then naturally, over time, break down without any aid or help. Because most single-use diapers are made from various forms of plastic, it would be impossible for them to completely biodegrade and therefore, they could not be composted.