We take a look at the ins and outs of biodegradable nappies, whether they really do biodegrade when you throw them out, the best way to dispose of them and the best brands to use for your baby.
Biodegradable means a product or substance “capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms and thereby avoiding pollution”.
How Long Do Biodegradable Nappies Take to Decompose?
You may be surprised! Most parents think they are helping out the environment by using biodegradable or eco-friendly nappies. And whilst yes, these eco nappies are typically free from harsh chemicals, which does make them healthier for your baby than regular disposable nappies, they aren’t as good for the environment as they may seem, but they are still the best we have – at the moment!
The reality is that your expensive biodegradable eco nappies still sit in the landfill for hundreds of years, just like regular disposables. Unless of course you do the hard work and dispose of them correctly.
Are biodegradable Nappies Really Biodegradable?
Biodegradable simply means that the nappy will break down into smaller pieces over time. Biodegradable nappies are not necessarily compostable and may simply break down into small bits that never actually decompose into organic materials.
Most biodegradable nappy brands are made of 60% to 80% biodegradable material. That’s because at this stage, there aren’t an alternative for parts of the nappy that aren’t biodegradable. But nappies are evolving, and the products they are producing are improving every single year.
According to the Australian Organics Recycling Assoc over 5 million disposable nappies are used by Australians every day! This results in two billion disposable nappies going to landfill each year.
There are currently no nappies in Australia that are certified as compostable, and this is backed up by the Australasian Bioplastics Association.
There are a few reasons behind this;
- All disposable nappies have an absorbent layer, made from sodium polyacrylate (SAP), which absorbs and holds moisture. This polymer is neither biodegradable nor compostable.
- Some nappies use wheat or cornstarch as their main absorbent, but they still use a small amount of SAP.
- Some nappies still contain non biodegradable or non compostable plastic in the adhesive tabs.
However, some parents do use worm farms to break down their children’s nappies. This is a great way to reduce your waste and produce compost for your garden. Another option is to take your nappies to a nearby industrial composting plant.
If your Australian nappies are endorsed with the ABA Seedling Composting logo, they can be composted in municipal and industrial composters.
Which Biodegradable Nappies are the most Eco-Friendly?
According to The Conscious Parent.co.uk, who compared the environmental impact between two types of nappies (cloth nappies versus biodegradable nappies) over a two and a half year period. Reusable nappies created 570kg of carbon emissions because of the number of times they were washed and dried (with three out of four loads of nappies being line dried and one load dried in the dryer).
While environmentally friendly disposable nappies only created 550kg of carbon emissions.
So biodegradable nappies or eco-friendly nappies are better for the environment than cloth nappies.
Which Biodegradable Nappies are the Best?
These brands of eco-friendly disposable nappies are the best option, because they are partly-biodegradable and made by reputable manufacturers.
The eco nappies are made to minimise waste, sustain forests and source materials that are FSC certified.
Comfy Koalas nappies are made from biodegradable materials that reduce the environmental impact, they are also made from premium, responsibly sourced bamboo and contain no nasty chemicals.
Comfy Koalas are based in Sydney and 100% Australian owned.
Bambo Nature Eco-Nappies was chosen as the best eco nappies by Choice Magazine, Ethical Consumer Guide and Baby Gera Lab. They’ve also been awarded the Nordic Swan Eco-Label to guarantee a lower eco-footprint with every nappy you use.
Ecoriginals Nappies have compostable packaging (which is a world first!) and their nappies take only 90 days to biodegrade. Their nappies contain 80% plant-based ingredients and 90% of their nappy materials are biodegradable.
Ecoriginals are designed in Australia and manufactured in New Zealand using renewable energy. Ecoriginal nappies are made from cotton, FSC certified wood pulp and non-GMO.
Here are a list of stockists:
Progeny is an Australian owned family business that cares about the environment. Progeny nappies are lightweight, absorbent and have excellent eco-friendly credentials including: 80% of the components are biodegradable within 75 days and No chlorine, no alcohol, no preservatives, no fragrance, no latex, no PVC, TBT, formaldehyde or antioxidants.
If you are researching the best biodegradable nappy for your baby we hope this helps take some of the pressure off. It can be so confusing!
We will keep you updated on any new info and any great new product ranges that come on the market.