Vetting Diapers: How to Know if They're Actually Eco-Friendly

6 Min Read
how to vet your diapers

As your baby will likely go through thousands of diapers in the first year of their life alone, it’s important to consider how all those diapers could impact the environment, and your child. While many think that the only eco-friendly diapering option is cloth diapers, that’s not necessarily true. There are disposable diaper brands, like Eco Pea, that provide a product that has the least amount of negative impacts on the environment (and your child) as possible. However, it can be really tricky to find these brands, as there is so much information floating around about what does, and does not, constitute an eco-friendly disposable diaper.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of questions to ask when considering a disposable diaper brand. These questions can lead you to the true story of how friendly a certain brand’s diapers are to the environment.

Have these diapers been third party tested for toxicity and biodegradability? Third-party testing of a diaper’s toxicity and biodegradability is so important because it allows the quality, safety, and eco-friendliness of the diaper to be tested against relevant health, safety, and regulatory standards. Essentially, this testing helps to ensure that a legitimate outside source has verified the toxicity and biodegradability claims a brand is making. This is so important to us that we had the toxicity and the biodegradability of Eco Pea diapers tested by SGS, one of the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing, and certification companies. See our Transparency page for more.

How transparent is the diaper brand about ingredients? Have you noticed that many brands are pretty vague about what is and isn’t in their diapers? This is because diapers are not generally regulated in the way you might expect, and brands are not legally required to disclose their ingredients. This can be pretty frustrating when you’re trying to make an informed decision about an item that will be on your child 24/7. Because of this, we suggest opting for a diaper brand that has a page dedicated to transparency about their diapers. 

Do they say their diapers are “plant based”? Reading that a diaper is “plant based” can be pretty confusing, as this is a broad, umbrella term that usually refers to the wood pulp that’s part of the absorbent core of the diaper. So, a diaper brand that uses wood pulp, but doesn’t use “plant based” materials for the other parts of the diaper, might still call themselves “plant based.” This can be misleading, as it sometimes leads customers to assume that the entire diaper is made of plants and will therefore decompose easily. However, this is not usually the case.

The gist: we recommend digging a bit deeper when you find a “plant based” diaper brand. If they disclose their ingredients and also use “plant based” materials for other parts of the diaper, they may be a decent brand to support. For example, at Eco Pea we use bamboo pulp for the diaper’s absorbent core, and bamboo for the top and back sheets. You can find the full list of our diaper ingredients on our Transparency page.

Are the diapers TCF, totally chlorine free? We highly recommend selecting diapers that are TCF, as the chlorine used to bleach some disposable diapers is not only bad for the health of babies, but the health of the environment as well as the methods used with chlorine creates Dioxins. Often, after chlorine is used to bleach diapers it makes its way into local water supplies where it mixes with minerals and other elements that can result in dangerous toxins. These toxins can cause mutations and sterility in wildlife, and could even contribute to the extinction of certain species. 

In addition to polluting water, these toxins can leach into soil, potentially contaminating food sources for animals and humans. The air is also impacted, as factories that use chlorine bleach emit toxins into the atmosphere. This can result in respiratory irritation in those exposed to the air, and ozone depletion. 

While researching these questions when trying to find the right diaper brand for your baby takes time, it is well worth the effort. Gaining an in-depth insight into what you’re putting on your baby’s skin can help ensure you’re selecting a product that will not only be safe for your baby, but the environment as well. Your baby and the planet will thank you for your diligence. You can find a full break down of the ingredients in our Eco Pea diapers and wipes, why we use it and what kind of environmental impact it has on our Transparency page.