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Eco-friendly Diaper Nest Desisngs

Are Eco-Friendly Diapers Actually Better?

There are several types of eco-friendly diaper options out there, and parents need to do their research to know which kind of diaper works best for their lifestyle, and their little bubs.

It’s difficult to argue the convenience of disposable diapers. As a parent or guardian, you know how many diaper changes are needed every day, and it’s no small amount.

The Cost of Convenience

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It’s estimated that each little bubs generally use somewhere between 3000 and 7000 diapers before they are potty-trained — and that’s just one baby! In North America, tens of billions of disposable diapers end up in landfills every year. 

Have you thought of switching to a sustainable alternative? More and more companies are emerging with eco-friendly diapers, but are they better than disposables?

What are Eco-Friendly Diapers?

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To put it broadly, eco-friendly diapers are often made of biodegradable or more sustainable materials than the majority of disposable diapers. Some of these diapers are still thrown in the trash, but offer less environmental consequences than run-of-the-mill disposables. Other types of eco-friendly diapers are reusable.


Consumers need to beware and do their research when companies make claims of having eco-friendly diapers. The term “eco-friendly” can mean any number of things. Unfortunately, there isn’t a regulatory body that certifies what is and is not actually eco-friendly, so the term can be flexible (and sometimes misleading!).


Without definitive criteria about what makes a diaper eco-friendly, parents need to look at characteristics of the product and brand, including:

  • The company’s use of renewable energies or materials
  • Their support of climate protection projects and environmental stewardship
  • Products that are made without unnecessary additives
  • Whether the company tests for harmful substances
  • Whether the company has certification for climate- or carbon-neutral products or processes

Eco-Friendly Diapers Vs Disposable Diapers

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No matter if you’re using eco-friendly diapers or disposable diapers for your little bubs, they function and fasten essentially the same way.


There are a few differences to know about. Eco-friendly diapers are made from a number of more sustainable materials, including plant-based products, biodegradable substances, and fabrics. On the other hand, disposable diapers are usually made with chemicals, like chlorine, and materials that are harmful to the environment, including polypropylene plastic from petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource that is not biodegradable.


Performance-wise, eco-friendly diapers tend to have less irritation for babies, and they draw less moisture from a baby’s skin, which can result in less diaper rash. Disposable diapers typically have a super absorbent sodium polyacrylate gel that keeps a little one feeling dry, but can be hard on their skin.


As for price, eco-friendly diapers are more expensive, but depending on the type of diaper, may be more cost-effective in the long run. Disposable diapers can be better for cash flow, but the not-so-secret cost to the environment is undeniable.

Types of Eco-Friendly Diapers

There are several types of eco-friendly diaper options out there, and parents need to do their research to know which kind of diaper works best for their lifestyle, and their little bubs.

Cloth Baby Diapers

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Cloth diapers are making a massive comeback, often using a fabric insert and cute diaper cover, like AppleCheeks diapers. Instead of throwing away every diaper, these eco-friendly diapers can be used again and again — and even passed down to future babies.


Unlike other types of diapers, cloth doesn’t stretch as much as other materials, helping it absorb a bit better and feel a little softer. When choosing this type of diaper, select materials like cotton or bamboo free of chemicals and dyes.


Solid waste in the diapers can be flushed, and the rest of the diaper can go through the laundry. This option does create an extra load or two of laundry each week, which uses up energy to run the machines, so there is still some environmental impact.

Sustainable Baby Diapers

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These types of eco-friendly diapers go by several names: sustainable, organic, or natural diapers, just to name a few. Sustainable diapers are very similar to regular disposables, except they are made of plant-based materials, like the diapers from DYPER.


Depending on the brand, the percentage of plant-based material varies. These diapers are good for babies with sensitive skin and need hypoallergenic materials, which is one reason to look for diapers made of 100 percent plant-based materials.


Bamboo diapers fall in this category. These diapers are more hypoallergenic, breathable, terrific at wicking away moisture, and made from a 100 percent biodegradable plant that replenishes quickly. If you’re familiar with the materials we use at Nest Designs, you know that we’re big fans of bamboo!


As the term is open to some creative marketing, some “sustainable diapers” are actually disposable diapers, but they’re free of fragrance, chlorine, parabens, and dyes. Read and understand what you’re buying before you pay for it.

Compostable and Biodegradable Diapers

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Before you get too excited, it’s hard to find compostable diapers. The technology exists, but these diapers are not readily available. If you do find them, these diapers break down if they’re composted properly, transforming dirty diapers into nutrient-rich soil. That said, just because they’re compostable, doesn’t mean your compost collection service will accept them. Make sure you check their guidelines before adding them to your compost bin.


Biodegradable diapers are disposable diapers that break down into their original form eventually — but eventually can be a long time (years!). Biodegradable diapers made of cornstarch can be composted, but they do not biodegrade in a landfill buried under other garbage. In all honesty, when a diaper says it’s biodegradable, it’s more likely that certain components of the diaper are biodegradable under specific conditions, but not the whole diaper.

How to Have a More Sustainable Diaper Routine

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Buying eco-friendly diapers can feel like a big change to some parents. If you want to be more sustainable, start with a type of eco-friendly diaper that’s as convenient as disposables, but made of healthier materials for your baby and the planet. While many types of eco-friendly diapers feel much the same as traditional disposable diapers, there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • It’s not only the diapers that should be eco-friendly. Switch out your wipes for a biodegradable option, like the Nest Designs Dry Baby Wipes.
  • Keep a soil sack in your diaper bag if you use cloth diapers. These bags will prevent dirty diapers from coming in contact with other items in your bag, and minimize smells. Just remember to remove the soil sack and clean the diapers when you arrive home.
  • Pack your diaper bag thoughtfully, and keep extra eco-friendly diapers in there, so you’re not leaving yourself in the position to pick up cheap disposables while you’re out of the house.
  • You don’t have to be tied to one type of eco-friendly diaper. You can use cloth diapers at home, and sustainable bamboo diapers when you’re out of the house or on vacation.

Our Small Actions Add Up to Big Actions When We All Do Our Part for the Planet

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Eco-friendly diapers aren’t perfect, but they’re a bit better for the planet than plastic disposables.


We’re all just trying to do our best for our kids and the environment. Every small act of kindness we do for the planet leaves the world in a better place for future generations. Let’s work together to make our carbon footprints smaller — even if it starts by switching to a more eco-friendly diaper.