New parents take heart: a little poop might not be the worst thing you find in diapers these days, as far as the environment is concerned.
It’s estimated that over 27 million diapers are consumed each year in the U.S., and over 90 percent end up landfills. Once these diapers reach the landfill, some sources estimate that it takes between 250 and 500 years for them to decompose.
What’s breaking down in these diapers? It isn’t just human waste and plastic, since many diapers are manufactured using chlorine.
The irony here is that one of the primary functions of chlorine is to make products like paper and diapers look white, even though white is probably the last color you’d associate with a used diaper. This same chlorine can create toxic pollution in landfills, while also providing irritation to a baby’s skin.
Chlorine-free diapers are available, manufactured by companies such as Seventh Generation. Additionally, eco-friendly products for your baby are available, including wipes and training pants once they approach potty-training age. With the amount of baby products you’ll probably throw away during your child’s lifetime, it’s worth the environmental investment.