Bit of an eco-warrior at heart, but don’t have the time or stomach for washing cloth diapers? Then you might have heard of the alternative – biodegradable diapers!
We’ll tell you this upfront: there’s a whole lot of differing opinions around biodegradable diapers, and just how eco-friendly they are.
Some people swear by them, attracted to their natural materials and lack of chemicals. On the other hand, others question their effectiveness as a biodegradable product, asking “how much better for the environment than regular disposables are they really?”.
We’re not here to sway you one way or the other, because there’s not necessarily a right or wrong answer. Besides, that’s not how we roll!
What we will do, however, is offer lots of information about both sides of the story, so you can be in the know and make a well informed decision about this for yourself.
And hey, if you do end up wanting to try them out (as countless parents do), then keep on reading further down for some very important tips on how to choose the best brand and type for your baby.
Before we get started, though, let’s have a quick look at what we believe to be some of the best biodegradable diapers of today.
Best Biodegradable Diapers – A Quick Look At Our Top 7 Recommendations
*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.
- ECO BOOM Baby Bamboo Biodegradable Disposable Diapers
- Little Toes Naturally Biodegradable & Hypoallergenic Premium Bamboo Fiber Diaper
- Mum & You Nappychat Eco-Friendly Diapers
- Andy Pandy Eco Friendly Premium Bamboo Disposable Diapers
- Naty by Nature Babycare Eco-Friendly Premium Disposable Diapers
- Bambo Nature Eco Friendly Baby Diapers Classic
- The Honest Company Club Box Diapers
Best Biodegradable Diapers – A More Detailed Look At Our Top 3 Recommendations
In the following section, we’ll take a closer look at what we believe to be the 3 best biodegradable diapers of today.
ECO BOOM Baby Bamboo Biodegradable Disposable Diapers
These diapers that are free from any chemicals, latex, PVC, TBT or antioxidants are made of 100% natural bamboo backsheet that’s gentle on the baby’s skin and does a great job at letting fresh air circulate.
Natural cotton is compounded in the top sheet for extreme softness to ensure baby’s comfort.
If your baby is used to super soft cloth diapers, these can be excellent alternatives.
They’re very absorbent, too. They do a great jot at locking moisture away and keeping the surface dry.
Speaking of absorbency, these diapers do an excellent job as overnight diapers, too. Wrap a new one around your baby’s waist come night time, and see for yourself how dry that area is when they wake up come morning time.
There’s an impressive wetness indicator (that yellow strip that indicates pee is there) that covers the entire area from front to back, to ensure you’re always on top of things.
You can definitely rely on these to hold poop in, big-time. If blowouts are a real-life nightmare for you to deal with, that’s likely to become a thing of the past.
Not only are the diapers themselves biodegradable, but the package they also come in is biodegradable as well.
These bamboo diapers come wrapped in a D2W bag that will become completely biodegradable within a matter of only 18 months. How cool is that?!
All in all, these eco diapers are some of the best value for money on the market today.
With all that being said, you might find that as your baby gets older (more specifically when they reach around the 7 to 8 month of age mark), you might need to buy other diapers specifically designed to last through the night if your primary goal is to use these as overnight diapers.
These tend to stop lasting overnight when baby is old enough (7 or 8 months of age). They will still make excellent daytime diapers at that stage of your baby’s life, though!
Little Toes Naturally Biodegradable & Hypoallergenic Premium Bamboo Fiber Diaper
This new and improved version is specifically designed with stronger and more reinforced tabs and a wetness indicator than the previous version.
It has a 100% bamboo top sheet that is soft & silky against the skin, it has a 100% bamboo back sheet that is naturally breathable, and it has a super absorbent polymer (S.A.P.) core that ensures superior absorbency.
There’s a triple-stretchable side fastener that comes with it allows the baby to move around freely without feeling hindered, and there’s an elastic-back waistband that provides a snug and comfortable fit.
As far as available sizes are concerned, you have four options to choose from: newborn size (6.6-10 lbs), small size (8-17 lbs), medium size (13-24 lbs), and large size (20-29 lbs).
You can also save on valuable time by buying these diapers in monthly value packs. Set it and forget it is the motto.
It should be noted, though, that these are not the most affordable biodegradable diapers you can find. Biodegradable diapers are already more costly than disposable diapers as it is (for all the obvious reasons), so these might not work for everyone from a budget standpoint.
So, if you’re trying to cut down on your cost per diaper as much as possible, this might not be the best choice for you.
These diapers contain absolutely no harsh chemicals and irritants such as chlorine, and are hypoallergenic, 100% free of alcohol, perfumes, latex, PVC, TBT, antioxidants, phthalates and preservatives.
Compared to disposable diapers that usually take a whopping 500 years to decompose, these ultra-soft bamboo fibers decompose in a matter of just 180 days (6 months).
They’re super soft, absorb very well, and greatly minimize the chances of your baby developing rashes.
Also, if you’re trying to stay away from fragrances as much as possible, these biodegradable diapers don’t have even the slightest of scent to them.
A potential drawback to these is that they might not be the best choice for active babies who are always on the move, because they’re easier to tear than your standard diaper.
They’re best suited for younger babies who aren’t as much troublemakers, since they’re easier to break than others. The Velcro part is pretty easy to come off, and that leaves one side open.
To be fair to the manufacturers, though, this is a small price you end up paying with pretty much all biodegradable diapers out there, due to the natural ingredients they’re made from.
Mum & You Nappychat Eco-Friendly Diapers
These diapers are made from wood pulp that’s taken from certified forestry in Europe. They’re also dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, and have no perfumes, dyes & lotion whatsoever.
They’re super soft and have a super absorbent core that locks moisture away and offers your little one around 12 hours of protection and dryness, which is very impressive.
Even if your kid throws all they have its way throughout the night, it shouldn’t leak.
As far as looks go, these are by far my favorite biodegradable diapers! They come in adorable designs if you’re tired of the same old, same old diapers that all look like one another because they’re plain and dull.
These diapers are designed by a team of moms, after all, so what do you expect? These designs aren’t just there for the sake of it, too – they’re meant to encourage you to carry a conversation with your baby and tell them stories or chat with them about each and every one of these characters.
Not only will this help improve the bond between you and your baby the more you do it, but it also offers all sorts of cognitive and developmental benefits for them as well.
They come in suitable sizes and designs for babies of all ages, whether your little one’s in the 0 to 9 months of age mark, 9 to 18 months, or 18 months and older.
Besides the fact that it’s biodegradable, this is also an excellent choice for babies with sensitive skin because of how super soft and gentle it is.
There’s none of that annoying elastic at the back, which you find with lots of other diapers out there.
There’s also none of that annoying chemical smell you get when you open the brand new package.
You also get a bit extra coverage space around your baby’s buttocks, since these tend to be a bit bigger than diapers of other brands.
If the other options on this list proved to be a bit too costly for the budget you have in mind, these are some of the most affordable biodegradable diapers you can find, ones that don’t compromise on quality as well.
They also have some of the loveliest fabric you’ll ever come across in a biodegradable diaper.
One thing to keep in mind is that even though they absorb very well, they’re not the best when it comes to dealing with diaper blowouts. They’re not very good at keeping runny poop from blowing out from under the legs.
So, if you know that your baby has blowouts on a regular basis and that’s a “thing” with them, look for other options that can better handle blowouts.
They also don’t come with wetness indicators, so it’s more difficult to tell when your baby has peed enough to warrant you changing it without opening the diaper and checking for yourself.
What Exactly Is A Biodegradable Diaper?
First thing’s first, biodegradable diapers are not like a cloth diaper that you reuse. Biodegradable diapers get thrown in the trash after one use, just like a regular disposable diaper does.
In which case, let your inner eco warrior be warned that biodegradable diapers may still end up in landfills. However, it’s what happens to them in a landfill that makes them very different from regular disposable diapers.
Good old Merriam-Webster dictionary will tell you that biodegradable is defined as something that is “capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things (such as microorganisms)”.
They further explain that things such as animal and plant based products are usually biodegradable, while metals, glass and plastics usually aren’t.
So essentially, while a regular disposable diaper can take hundreds of years to decompose in landfill (there’s lots of different opinions and studies on exactly how long that process does take), a biodegradable diaper is supposed to decompose in a significantly shorter amount of time.
What Is It That Makes Diapers Biodegradable?
All of this mainly comes down to the materials that a diaper is made from. Why? In the end, it’s the materials that will decide how they decompose.
It all depends on the particular brand, but the Raising Children Network write that biodegradable diapers are often made from natural products such as bamboo, fabrics and paper pulp.
Another tick in the eco box is that they’ll often only use pulp that is sustainably harvested, but more on that a bit later in this article.
You’ll also notice that most brands of biodegradable diapers say things like “Dye-free, latex-free, lotion-free” in their marketing. This is very true, and is a big part of their commitment towards avoiding chemicals in their products, and keeping it as natural as possible.
On the same token, many biodegradable diaper brands try to avoid the use of chemicals like Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs) for absorption. They’ll often substitute it with things like wheat starch or corn.
Why Do Some Parents Choose To Use Biodegradable Diapers?
There are a few very good reasons to why parents turn to eco diapers:
Reducing Your Baby’s Exposure To Chemicals
As Baby Centre point out, biodegradable diapers are much less likely to be treated with chemicals during the manufacturing process.
For example, we’re talking about avoiding things like bleach and perfumes, which are very often part of many regular disposable diapers out there.
As you could imagine, these things can be pretty harmful to your baby (especially if your little one has any allergies), so you could see why many parents do their absolute best to keep things as natural as possible.
This is especially true when we’re talking about something that will be coming into contact with baby’s skin all day and everyday during those early newborn months.
It’s also a proven fact that diapers with less chemicals are less prone to causing diaper rash. This isn’t to say that diapers will less (or no chemicals altogether) are guaranteed to not cause diaper rash – they’re just much less likely to do so.
Designed To Break Down Faster
As we’ve discussed earlier on in this article, at the very heart of this topic is the fact that biodegradable products are supposed to break down at a significantly faster rate, and – as a result – be kinder to the earth.
Whether or not landfill conditions allow them to fully achieve their biodegradable potential is debatable, but ultimately, biodegradable diapers are simply designed to be better than regular disposable diapers at decomposing.
Use of More Sustainable Materials
If you’re seriously considering going green, it’s very important to remember that biodegradability is just one aspect.
You may want to look at the whole lifecycle of the product, starting from where the materials even come from.
Many biodegradable diapers take this into account in their manufacturing, which is why you’ll often notice them using wood pulp that is certified as sustainably harvested.
You can read more about sustainable forestry in this piece by the Rainforest Alliance.
More Convenient Than Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are another great eco-friendly option, and many parents swear by them and consider them to be lifesavers, but not every parent has the time or energy to wash and dry them.
There’s no shame in that! I can personally recall countless of times when I’ve been through exactly that. After all, we all know what it’s like in those first few months of your baby’s life when you barely have time to shower!
This is one of the main reasons why some parents choose biodegradable diapers over cloth diapers, especially when they still want to stay true to their values and take care of the environment that we all share.
More Practical for Other Caregivers
If you use cloth diapers, you’ll sometimes find yourself having to resort to using disposable diapers when you have family members taking care of your baby.
What Impact Do Non-Biodegradable Diapers Have On The World?
Regular disposable diapers that are made from plastic can take hundreds of years to break down, and – as a result – take a toll on the environment.
Estimates on exactly how long regular disposable diapers take to break down really do vary, which is why it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact number.
But, guess what? It doesn’t really matter which one is more accurate than the other – the important takeaway is that it’s one heck of a long time for our trash to be sitting there!
While it might be true that biodegradable diapers of today may not be as speedy at decomposing as we hope (same day decomposition, anyone?) – but according to various reports such as this one at The Guardian, they are estimated to take decades to decompose (as opposed to hundreds and hundreds of years).
Assuming this is correct (and with all the differing reports out there, it really can be hard to know for sure) – the impact of a biodegradable diaper versus a regular disposable one in landfill is still obviously way less severe.
Why Do Some People Question How Eco-Friendly Biodegradable Diapers Really Are?
Even though biodegradable diapers are an excellent way to help preserve and take care of the environment we all live in, they may have some shortcomings you need to know about, and may not be as good as cloth diapers in this context.
Percentage of Biodegradability
First things first, it’s important to know that not all biodegradable diapers are 100% biodegradable.
For example, some might be 80% biodegradable, while others might be 95% biodegradable. It really depends on the materials used by each particular brand, so make sure you do your homework on the brand you’re buying before you make a purchase.
That way, you’ll be sure about what you’re getting yourself into, and won’t be disappointed after a long time when you learn about this by coincidence.
Level of Effectiveness
There’s also the question of whether biodegradable diapers can actually do what they’re supposed to do, the way they’re often marketed.
For example, it’s alleged by some that the conditions at landfill facilities make it so that even biodegradable waste finds it hard to decompose.
However, this is a bit like the debate around cloth diapers, with some people saying cloth diapers use too much water in the washing process to be considered eco-friendly.
Sometimes, it seems that every time we try a solution, it’s never going to be perfect!
Different ‘experts’ have different opinions about all of this, but there’s really only so much you and I can do as individuals to “do our fair share”, and failing to get everything perfect should not be an excuse to not even trying in the first place.
So, we say, you choose.
There are so many ways you can go about being an eco-friendly parent. As long as you have your good intentions, you do your own research, and you feel passionate about a particular way of helping the planet, then please don’t let anybody or anything stop you from doing that!
How Can You Tell If Diapers Are Biodegradable?
If you’re trying to figure out whether or not a pack of diapers are really biodegradable, whether it’s not been explicitly stated anywhere on the packaging or you have your doubts for any reason, the best way would probably be to look at the ingredients.
Remember, just how biodegradable (or not) a diaper really is mostly comes down to the materials used.
The manufacturer may also say ‘biodegradable’ on the packaging, but remember that just because something is marketed as biodegradable doesn’t necessarily mean it’s 100% biodegradable.
For example, in some countries, the diaper may only need to be 90% biodegradable for it to be certified as “biodegradable”.
What Should You Look For In Biodegradable Diapers?
Finding the right biodegradable diaper for your baby will ultimately come down to trial and error, but who said you have to go through that process all on your own without knowing a few tips first?
Here’s a checklist of things you might want to consider when shopping for biodegradable diapers:
How Biodegradable Is It Really?
Like we mentioned earlier, not all diapers that are marketed as biodegradable are 100% biodegradable. For example, they might be only 80% or 90% biodegradable.
If you feel super passionate about using only 100% biodegradable diapers (as many parents are), you’ll need to do some sleuthing.
Sometimes, it’s hard to know by just looking at the ingredients, so you may even need to contact the brand themselves for full transparency.
Does It Still Absorb Well?
Eco-friendly or not, most parents would agree that there’s no point using diapers if they’re not holding in what your little baby has to offer, right?
This is why it’s a great idea to read the reviews and opinions of parents who’ve tried the biodegradable diapers you’re considering buying, first.
If you see consistent complaints about poor absorbency or that the diaper is just not doing its job right, you might want to give something else a consideration.
Keep in mind here that many biodegradable diaper companies try to stay away from chemical absorbing methods, while others still use them. So, you might also need to decide where you stand on the use of chemicals in your baby’s diapers.
What’s The Packaging Made From?
Another thing to consider is what the packaging is made from.
For example, you could be using 100% biodegradable diapers and all, but what if the package it comes in isn’t even recyclable?
This is definitely something worth thinking about and worth looking into.
How Do They Source And Harvest Their Materials?
As we mentioned earlier, the way resources are used and harvested can also shape the overall environmental impact of the end product.
For example, if the diaper uses wood pulp, check to see if it is FSC certified. Or, check to see if the diaper brand has any other certifications that prove they’re being responsible and considerate of the planet.
Do They Use Ethical Manufacturing Methods?
Aside from the actual product, you might also be interested in looking at the manufacturing processes used by the brand.
For example, would you be comfortable if the diapers were made in a sweatshop in unethical working conditions?
If you’re interested in saving the planet, the humanitarian aspect of people and their working conditions should also be of great interest to you.
In this case, it might be useful to explore the background and reputation of the brand itself before buying its products.
How Much Does It Cost Per Diaper?
This point might not be everyone’s top priority, but for many new parents who happen to be on a set budget and have lots of other baby-related purchases to make on a regular basis, cost is an important consideration in diaper shopping.
This is especially relevant with biodegradable diapers, because they often cost more than regular disposables. In which case, if you’re going to stick with a certain brand, it needs to fit into your budget.
So, make sure you do the math and figure out how much all of this is going to cost you on the long run before you commit yourself to it.
Wrapping It Up
First things first, and we say this from the bottom of our hearts, congratulations and a huge THANK YOU for trying to do your bit for the environment!
You’re an awesome person for putting in the effort to do this, and you should know that.
Whether you choose biodegradable diapers, cloth diapers, regular disposables, or a combination of all three, you’re taking the time to make informed choices – and that’s a great thing that not nearly as many people do.
And remember, these long diapering days won’t last forever! Even if it doesn’t seem that way now, and feels like that nasty smell will never disappear, it’ll all be over soon enough.
Before you know it, your little eco warrior will be old enough to put their own green initiatives in action and start saving the planet with you!