Are you a new parent dealing with all the excitement and fast pace of a little one? Have you noticed how many disposable diapers you go through in one day? Perhaps you are expecting your first little one and not sure what type of diaper to use? Keep in mind that from birth to toilet training your baby will have about 8,000 diaper changes!
Consider this — on average, in Halton Region 7.5% of the garbage contains disposable diapers and sanitary products.
Before you rule out cloth diapers as inconvenient, hard to use and messy, it is important to know that the cloth diaper has come a long way since I used them over 20 years ago. They now come shaped like a disposable diaper with velcro closures and colourful designs. Many parents now consider using cloth diapers for several reasons including cost, health, comfort and of course, waste reduction.
Our Waste Management Services team has been asked many times now, “why can’t I just put my diapers in the GreenCart — don’t they compost?” The simple answer is no.
Today’s disposable diapers contain multiple layers of materials depending on the manufacturer’s design. The inner core contains cellulose along with what is termed a superabsorbent gel material made from synthetic polymers known as sodium polyacrylate. The liner that wicks the moisture away from the skin, the breathable cover that allows humidity to escape and the elasticized cuffs are all made from polypropylene or polyethylene (plastic). Some diapers also contain fragrance to mask odours and adhesives to hold them together. Overall, the majority of the material that the disposable diaper is made up of is not compostable.
While some municipalities allow disposable diapers in their organics program, Halton Region does not since diaper and sanitary napkin material can contaminate the final compost product meaning there is little to no use for it. Including diapers in the compost program can also result in the compost not meeting Ontario provincial quality guidelines resulting in the compost having to be disposed of as waste. The less contamination there is in the GreenCart, the better the quality of the final compost product making it easier to use in things like agricultural and landscape projects.
There are cloth diaper suppliers as well as diaper services available in Halton Region that will collect your soiled diapers, wash them and deliver clean diapers to your door. How convenient is that?
So before you consider stocking up on disposable diapers, I encourage you think green and give cloth diapers a try — I promise, they have come a long way!
Also check out the HaltonParents blog where Halton Region Public Health Nurses and Child Development staff provide great information and support to all parents, no matter the age of their child.