Nappies are a tricky decision to make sustainably. The truth is that the only real sustainable option is a bare bum baby and that really isn't an option that is attractive to many people.The great debate remains over which type of nappy is better for the environment. Disposable ends up in landfill and cloth nappies use extensive resources to make in the first place and then clean. There are however increasing numbers of excellent disposable nappies around that are made from renewable products and are well designed. Some of these claim to be compostable as well. If you have cloth nappies you no longer need, think firstly about alternative uses for them such as cleaning cloths or food strainers. If straining your next lot of cottage cheese through baby's ex poop holder is too much for you, drop them at your local Op Shop, who sell them or distribute to people in need. Unused disposable nappies are also welcome at Op Shops. Check for your local Op Shop on the Recycler tab.
Conventional disposable nappies can take more than 500 years to break down in landfill. That means that every nappy ever made is still sitting in landfill to this day. Disposable nappies are also the third largest source of landfill waste, and they leach petroleum, dioxins, and pathogens into the soil and waterways.
Australians alone use 800 million nappies per year and around the world, 800 billion nappies go into landfill every year.
While compostable nappies are a step in the right direction, if you are planning on putting them into your compost, make sure you check exactly what your biodegradable nappies are made of before you toss them into your compost. Some may still contain toxic chemicals that could leech out into your compost.