Humm…diapers that compost. Diapers that will disappear over a short period of time and leave nothing behind. Zero waste. I’ve found very few packages that make the claim their diapers are in fact, compostable. Most green-washed diapers claim “biodegradable and better for the environment.” How so?
Biodegradable does not mean compostable. Biodegradable means the plastic and diaper pieces break down into tiny bits of plastic and stay around forever. Hell, they probably end up in the plastic soup in the sea. Plastic soup you say? Google the Great Pacific Patch and see what you learn.
This is what I’ve discovered and learned in my short time as a mama (trying to tread environmentally lightly) while dealing with diapers. I’m sure I have much more to learn. This is also what the compostable diaper packages fail to stress…
1) Compostable diapers are not easy to find. Many packages claim biodegradable, few claim compostable. These two words are not the same. Don’t let them “green wash” you with advertising deceit. If it says the product is “eco” or “better for the environment,” go to the web site, read everything you can, email the company. Have them prove to you how and why they are seriously “environmentally friendly.” Don’t just take their word for it.
2) Compostable diapers are expensive, sometimes twice as much as a normal disposable.
3) We’d just been throwing them away thinking they’d compost anywhere. Alas, the land fill doesn’t get hot enough. They have to be composted, not buried. I couldn’t believe it. We’d wasted all that money buying them and then just throwing them away! Packages splash “can be composted” all over the package. Then with a tiny asterisk at the bottom it states– only if you have a commercial composting facility in your area that will accept diapers OR a diaper service who will come and pick them up for you and take them to a commercial composting facility.
And if you don’t have one of those composting facilities in your area?
4) We buried them in the back yard last spring only to realize that isn’t any different from a land fill. We were only burying diapers that claimed they were compostable. Again, the back yard doesn’t get hot enough!
The only way to compost diapers if there is no commercial composting facility in your town is to compost them yourselves.
So, we are.
We added brown (dead leaves), green (freshly cut grass), brown, green, with diapers in the middle and hid our compost container in the woods. It doesn’t smell at all. We made sure to empty all poop out of the diapers as poop does not break down. Time will tell with the results. To be continued….
P.S. We dug up the buried ones from a year ago. Guess what they looked like?
Please join us on our gardening adventures and my cooking failures (and victories) on my other blog G.I. Crockpot. I’m keeping the compost write ups for this blog. Gardening/composting—so much fun!
Excellent article! It’s not always “what you see is what you get” these days is it? It’s all in the “wording” and the fine print. This is a great heads up for young growing families. Good on you for going the extra mile, digging up the diapers and trying for a better solution.
I hope your composting experiment is successful! I do feel badly about all of the disposable diapers I used on my kids. I grew up changing cloth diapers on the kids that I babysat, so I’m not sure why I didn’t use them too.
You always have such good information. And really graphic pictures. Good luck composting.
Bless your heart . . . just saying & hugs
@Heidi—this is not a guilt post. Guilt be gone. Look at all that you do now. I think you well make up for something that you didn’t do before. Your blog posts and the things you do now inspire me and give me ideas constantly. Do you realize how much you’ve changed my life?
@Eldy—every single time I read one of your comments it’s like I get a hug. Did I tell you that already? How I wish you lived closer. I could use hugs every day.
@Jackie and Claudia—thank you for making me feel that what I’m doing isn’t in vain.