Mother Earth Living

Best Diapers: Eco-Friendly Diapers

These tips will help you choose the best, eco-friendly diapers for your baby.
By Joyanna Laughlin
March/April 2006
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The average baby goes through 5,000 diapers before being potty trained. Some claim cloth diapers are gentler on the environment than disposables and healthier for babies; others say there’s no clear winner because both deplete natural resources and cause pollution. What to do? These potty pointers can help you decide.


• Convenient

• Super-absorbent disposables hold more moisture and wick it away from skin better than cloth.

• Chlorine-free brands don’t contribute to dioxin pollution.

• Contain dioxins (unless they’re chlorine free).

• Manufacturing causes pollution.

• Most aren’t biodegradable; even “biodegradable” styles don’t readily break down in landfills.

• May contain sodium polyacrylate (super-absorbent gel), which is banned from tampons because it’s linked to toxic shock syndrome.

• Chlorine-free disposables: Seventh GenerationTushies 


• Reusable, so fewer diapers are needed.

• Can be used for more than one child or recycled as rags

• Less likely to end up in landfill

• Cotton production uses energy, water and pesticides (unless grown organically).

• Contain dioxins (unless unbleached); manufacturing causes pollution.

• Laundering uses water, energy and detergents.

• Organic cotton: Under the Nile

• Insert can be flushed down most standard toilets.

• Don’t clog landfills

• Wet (not poopy) ones can be composted.

• Not for use in non-standard, root-infested or faulty plumbing.

• May not be appropriate for all septic systems.

• Limited availability

• Flushable diapers:

• Flushable liners: Green Mountain DiapersKushies

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