The Biodegradability Myth

Recently, some diaper companies have been marketing disposable diapers as "biodegradable" or "partially biodegradable." Sounds great, right? Here's the thing: making claims about biodegradability when it comes to disposable diapers is misleading.

Diapers that end up in a landfill do not biodegrade.

We know—it’s disappointing to hear. What these companies actually mean when they say their diapers are biodegradable is that some components of their diapers can break down over time, if a few conditions are met. In order for the parts of these diapers to biodegrade, they must be removed from the rest of the (used!) diaper, and taken to an industrial composting facility that accepts diapers. There are currently only a few industrial composting facilities that accept diapers in the US, so the reality is that most of these diapers end up in a landfill, and they will not biodegrade, whether the diaper claims to be biodegradable or not.

The end life of a diaper has a long way to go. 

With the current setup, most diapers that have biodegradable parts are not able to be separated and get to the correct facility to biodegrade. Another option that some countries are exploring is diaper recycling—collecting used diapers, cleaning them and extracting some of the materials to be recycled. This is an exciting step in the right direction, but the development is still in its infancy and will take several years to be a viable option for parents.

Until the technology catches up, we’ve found other ways to make disposable diapers better.

At healthynest, we're rooting for the efforts to make diaper recycling a more accessible option, but until that day comes, we are focusing more on sourcing the highest quality materials, reducing waste, and supporting sustainability at the front end of a diaper’s life cycle, where it can make the most impact.That’s why we replace petroleum with plants, because petroleum is one of the worst things for the planet and a lot of it is used to make diapers.