If you’re a parent, you know how many diapers your baby goes through daily. Now consider that amount multiplied by every baby in the United States who’s diapered in disposable diapers. Approximately 3.3 million tons of disposable diapers were landfilled in the U.S. in 2018 (the most recent year for which EPA data is available). Of course, environmentally aware parents think long and hard before saying yes to cloth or disposable diapers. They want to make the right decision for their baby, lifestyle, and earth.
For those who have never been satisfied with their diaper situation or who are just learning about their choices, there is something new to consider — a diaper composting service.
Composting Diapers by Mail
DYPER has launched the first national diaper composting service. You read that right — there is a service that takes your dirty disposable diapers off your hands and composts them for the greater good.
DYPER, a subscription-based bamboo diaper company, has partnered with TerraCycle, a waste management company, to offer REDYPER. DYPER customers can opt-in to the REDYPER service, receive a specially engineered waste-grade box, label, and materials, and send their soiled diapers back to TerraCycle for composting.
Can you really send poopy diapers through the mail? Do you even want to think about packing them up and putting them in a box? DYPER is counting on eco-conscious parents to do just that.
“We’re committed to making diapering effortless for parents, gentle for babies, and kind to the planet,” says Sergio Radovcic, the CEO of DYPER. “It wasn’t easy to develop the most fully compostable diaper ever created. But, we are thrilled that our partnership with TerraCycle will make it easy for families to keep their used diapers out of landfills.”
The Logistics of REDYPER
Your baby knows what to do in those carefully procured bamboo diapers. Parents want to responsibly dispose of a necessary evil. The logistics:
- Enroll in a DYPER monthly subscription.
- Opt-in to the REDYPER program.
- Receive compostable bags and a specially designed box engineered to the strictest United Nations HazMat shipping standards.
- Placed soiled diapers into the compostable bags and pack the box with the bagged diapers.
- When the box is full, download a prepaid shipping label and mail the diapers.
The REDYPER service helps families do their part for the environment without adding to the 20 billion diapers added to U.S. landfills every year. The waste composted through the program will be used in specialized applications, such as for vegetation in highway medians.
All the Questions
Eco-friendliness in the baby market isn’t always easy to come by, especially when you’re talking diapers. When a viable solution to disposable diapers in landfills hits the market, it’s worth looking into. But a big question is: What’s the carbon footprint of all that shipping?
The new diapers are shipped to the customer. Customers ship dirty diapers back in a separate and carefully manufactured box for composting. That’s a lot of back and forth — are the environmental benefits of composting the diapers negated by the CO2 impact of shipping?
For each shipment of diapers you receive, DYPERS purchases carbon offsets to help reforestation efforts. Subscribers receive an electronic certificate showing the amount of carbon offsets purchased on their behalf each time a shipment is sent.
Maybe for some parents, the environmental impact of their mailing habits is small compared to the huge impact just one baby’s three or so years’ worth of diapers can make in a landfill. And possibly the carbon offsets that DYPERS purchases for each customer delivery help reduce concerns over all that shipping. But regardless of the environmental implications, it just might take a little convincing to get past the idea of a box full of poopy diapers — where do you store that in your house while your baby is working hard to fill it up?
Feature image by Patou Ricard from Pixabay. Originally published on March 24, 2020, this article was updated in March 2022.