Arguments can be made for both sides of the cloth-versus-disposable diaper debate, but regardless of your preference, it’s easier now than ever to fall in step with eco-diapering. Thanks to innovative designs in reusable diapers, gone are the days of saggy cloth diapers that require pins.
Green disposables rival conventional disposables in performance, and they don’t contain health hazards such as dioxin (a highly toxic by-product of the pulp and paper’s chlorine bleaching process), tributyltin (or TBT, a hormone-disrupting chemical), and fragrances and latex (sources of allergies in some infants). Some of these diapers contain synthetic ingredients–a strike against them in some opinions, but we’ve included them here for a more comprehensive comparison.
The following eco-diapers passed the test on a healthy, active 7-month-old (all prices reflect this age group’s size).
Bummis Bamboozle ($20 per diaper, bummis.com)
Reusable, fitted bamboo diaper.
Pros: Eco-friendly, naturally antibacterial bamboo; snaps offer adaptable fit; sewn-in strip allows tailored absorbency; can also be used with Bummis flushable and biodegradable liners for easier cleanup.
Cons: Requires separate waterproof cover; no leakage, but wetness spreads throughout diaper.
bumGenius 3.0 ($18 per diaper, cottonbabies.com)
Reusable, one-size-fits-all pocket system with Velcro closure.
Pros: No need to size up as baby grows; absorbency customization; soft inner layer, waterproof outer layer; Velcro speeds up changing time.
Cons: Man-made fibers (Note: bumGenius offers bamboo styles as well).
Fuzzi Bunz ($20 per diaper, fuzzibunz.com)
Reusable pocket system with a microfleece inner layer and a waterproof outer layer.
Pros: Absorbency customization; variable snap closure for fit; soft on baby’s skin.
Cons: Man-made fibers.
gDiapers ($17 per diaper, $15 per 32-count package of refills, gdiapers.com)
Hybrid diaper with reusable outer cover and disposable inner lining.
Pros: Flush, toss or compost soiled linings; when tossed, lining biodegrades faster than other disposables; when flushed, waste goes through treatment facilities; bridges the gap between disposables and cloth; a certified cradle to cradle product.
Cons: Potential leakage around legs; can be tough on weak plumbing systems; petroleum-derived liner inside the cover; debatable safety of sodium polyacrylate gel.
Nature Babycare ($12 per 34-count package, diapers.com)
Disposable diaper made of at least 60 percent biodegradable materials.
Pros: Outer layer derived from GMO-free corn; no oil-based plastic touches baby’s skin; wood pulp from sustainable forests; compostable packaging.
Cons: Somewhat stiff; debatable safety of sodium polyacrylate gel.
Seventh Generation ($11 per 35-count package, babiesrus.com)
Natural, unbleached, disposable diaper.
Pros: Soft and cloth-like; conforming; stretchy leg gussets; hypoallergenic; widely available.
Cons: Debatable safety of sodium polyacrylate gel (studies have shown that sodium polyacrylate, an absorbent gel found in most disposables, is safe and non-toxic, yet the chemical makes many uneasy).
Tendercare Plus ($11 per 24-count package, drugstore.com)
White, chlorine-free, disposable diaper.
Pros: Wood pulp from sustainable forests; soft; GMO-free; hypoallergenic top sheet; conforming.
Cons: Debatable safety of sodium.
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By Jennifer Medley, Kiwi magazine