Disposable diapers have long been a major environmental problem. Traditional disposable diapers can take up to 300 years to decompose. Biodegradable diapers, on the other hand, can decompose within months.
The Environmental Issue
Here are some facts regarding traditional (non-biodegradable) disposable diapers:
- In the US alone, over 18 billion diapers are thrown away each year
- Over 82,000 tons of plastic is used to make those disposable diapers each year
- Over 250,000 trees are cut down each year in order to make those disposable diapers
- Traditional disposable diapers take around 300 years to biodegrade. This means that no traditional disposable diaper has actually biodegraded yet.
- In many countries (including most states in the USA), it's illegal to dump human waste in landfills. However, this is exactly where disposable diapers are dumped once they've been used. This has the potential to infest the water with viruses such as polio, hepititis, dysentery etc
Benefits of Biodegradable Diapers
Biodegradable diapers will go a long way in eliminating many of the environmental issues related to disposable diapers. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, there aren't many biodegradable diapers on the market. Plus, most biodegradable diapers are only partially biodegradable. This will change though - especially now that we have products such as Safeties Nature Nappy, which is a fully biodegradable disposable diaper. There are various diapers that are partially biodegradable, but as far as I'm aware, at the time of writing, the Nature Nappy is the only 100% biodegradable diaper. (The term "Nappy" is an Australian term for "Diaper" - the Nature Nappy was invented in Australia).
Biodegradable diapers will need to comply with international standards regarding their biodegradability. The Nature Nappy complies with the EN 13432; ISO 14855; ASTM 6400-99 standards.
To learn more about this biodegradable diaper, check out this article on the Nature Nappy.