Eco-confession: I bought regular diapers!

First the good news: In the 2.5 years my daughter wore diapers, I bought just six packs of disposables. I thought that was pretty impressive, though I’m sure some of the cloth diaper aficionados around here managed to do even better. We used cloth for nighttime and nap time and even managed to use cloth on a few vacations. The disposables came in handy for a few trips that involved plane travel and lack of laundry facilities.

Photographic evidence

Now, the bad news: None, and I mean zero, of those six packs were Seventh Generation diapers or Nature babycare or gDiapers. No, we used . . . the generic brand we found at Fred Meyer. How could I commit such an eco-atrocity? Well, I’ve got to say that I just couldn’t stand the idea of paying so much more for chlorine-free diapers. (The only difference between regular and “greener” disposables is that the eco-disposables are made from chlorine-free tree pulp. Check out our post on the anatomy of a disposable if you want to know what else is in those plastic diapers.)

While it sounds like I’m trying to justify this transgression, I actually do feel guilty about it. While there isn’t much difference between a Seventh Generation and a Huggies, I do believe that Seventh Generation is trying to be eco-friendlier. Therefore, I should use my dollars to support them and other likeminded companies. Right?

What do you think? Do you make an effort to use “greener” disposables? Why? What brands do you like? Or . . . are there others out there like me, who just couldn’t pay extra for the eco-friendly stamp of approval?


  1. I’m with you. The first two packs of disposable I bought (before my first was born) were the trying-to-be-eco-friendlier variety (365 brand and S.G.). But since then, any disposables I have purchased have been whatever is cheapest. I just hate the idea of paying a lot for something I don’t really want that will be thrown into the landfill.

  2. Ainsley says

    We did a great job w/ cloth for almost two years…even when travelling, but now our daughter is pretty much toilet trained (since 18mos), except for nights and naps. Our prob is that we can’t find a cloth diaper that will handle a 2-year old’s volume at night and have guiltily and reluctantly moved to Seventh Generation for nights and naps.

  3. I kept having to give away packs of diapers because Monkey outgrew them before we had used even a third. I buy Huggies since the smell does not make me sick when I can find them on super sale (like $2 for a jumbo after coupons). We used Nature Baby Care for a trip and they were nice, apart from the blowouts.

    Ainsley, try a pocket stuffed with multiple inserts.

  4. Oh, yea, the new Gro Via disposables are compostable except for the tabs and have only a touch of SAP

  5. We have used gDiapers for our son since he was born. I love them, although stomaching the cost is hard. I have used regular old Huggies at times but my eco-conscious hates me for it. I have used cloth too but have had a hard time making them work for us.

  6. I heard that Kroger has some great store-brand eco diapers. But i dont live near one, so i never got a chance to check. We buy *gasp* walmart brand. We can’t really afford the extra money on diapers that are chlorine-free – they still go in the landfill. :-/

  7. Emily and Sarah, yes, that was my problem too: It seemed pointless to buy an “eco-friendly” product that was just going to wind up in a landfill.

    Ainsley, we used two prefolds and a bigger cover for nights. My daughter was never a heavy wetter, though.

    Leigh, I hadn’t heard of “Gro Via” disposables. But do you actually compost the wet ones? Otherwise, is there any advantage to being compostable if they go in the landfill anyway?

  8. Isn’t the point of the eco-friendly diapers that the process that makes them has less impact on the environment, even if the end product goes to the same place as the cheap brands? That, at least, is my justification for having used Seventh Generation diapers for most of my son’s life to date. (I also appreciate that they’re unscented–I couldn’t stand the smell of the newborn size Pampers and at the time SG didn’t make diapers that small.)

  9. When we have to use disposables we just go with the cheapest brand too. I wish gdiapers refills weren’t so expensive since we use those with a pre-fold inside for our cloth. My primary reason for switching from disposable to cloth was financial though.

  10. Larisa, I don’t think the “greener” disposable companies have made any claims that their production has less impact on the environment than other types. Most of them just say they’re chlorine-free. Chlorine is an environmental toxin, so parents don’t want that chemical near their babies’ skin. Once the diapers are in a landfill, they also wouldn’t pollute the environment with chlorine like the other brands.

    Most eco-diapers get their wood pulp from the same sources as Huggies, Pampers, and the other brands. I believe Nature Babycare gets theirs from sustainable sources.

  11. Ainsley-have you tried a Thristies fab fitted with a couple of hemp liners and a cover? I used that set up on my son till he was night trained at around 4.5

    I buy Luvs when baby is going to be with the grandma’s. They just aren’t down with using the cloth and I can’t afford to pay the extra. I figure I do my part every day that I don’t use a disposable so the very few that have to get used I don’t have to beat myself up. And I use cloth wipes so I get a couple of bonus points thrown in for saving all those trees that end up as wipes lol!

  12. 9I use cloth because of the dioxin exposure in disposables so buying regular ones is not an option. Huggies make my son break out in an angy red rash all over. So when we buy disposables, it has to be Seventh Gen or Earth6333333333333+339


    Speaking of my son…he’s saying hi 🙂
    …Earth’s Best.

  13. Allyson says

    I found a great deal on G-diaper refills on Amazon recently–4 packs for under $30 through the subscribe and save program. So I stocked up. We use prefolds and covers 99% of the time, but I knew we’d travel at some point, or want the g-diapers for some other reason. So check Amazon, folks! Good deals!

  14. When I HAVE to use sposies we get Target Brand bc they are only like $5 a pack…. I refuse to pay alot for sposies!!!

  15. Wow, I am really shocked by the comments so far! I agree with Larisa. We bite the bullet and buy Seventh Generation diapers for use at daycare (we use cloth at home). I feel better knowing that these diapers are chlorine-free and have less of an environmental impact (dioxin). I just read a stat yesterday that said 6% of all cancers are thought to be caused by environmental pollutants!

  16. I buy regular disposables. With my first (disposables full-time until he was one), I bought the 7th Gen wipes and the price of those was partly what sent me to cloth. Couldn’t stand to pay for the greener disposables (greener mainly for the baby), so I switched to cloth. I used cloth all the time with him except a couple of weeks of vacation — cloth at night, naps, out, etc. For my second child, she used a handful of newborn disposables in the hospital, I bought one large box of Huggies at Costco (size 3 — the one that lasts from 3 months until 2 years, at least on my kids), and my goal is to use no more than that one box (including vacations). I guess it’s better to put less chlorine out into the environment, but if I were going to pay more for a disposable, it would have to be recycled pulp and biodegradable or something.

  17. BB, I am not so shocked. (Obviously–since I’m the one who admitted to using disposables in the first place.) Most of us have grown up thinking that bleach = good. People buy Clorox wipes and wipe down their counters before preparing food. We sanitize stuff with bleach solutions, thinking it’s killing germs. We use it in pools, in our laundry. So then we learn that bleach is an environmental toxin and damaging to our health–it’s a big shift in thinking. I will admit that it’s still hard for me to imagine how a tiny amount of bleach in a disposable diaper could be that bad. (Though I do understand this on an intellectual level.)

    I should write a post about this!

  18. I love love my cloth diapers. I used them for 3 + years with my 1st son only using disposables for trips and at the end when he refused to have a bm in the toilet (I was pregnant at the time). I am once again using cloth with my 2nd son who is almost 2 months. Actually, we are currently using disposables for him because we are in Nashville and one of our water treatment plants was flooded so we being asked to conserve water usage as much as possible until they can get that facility up and running. I really miss cloth especially with how much the disposables leak. As for the type, I only use “eco friendly” brands. Because I don’t use them often I feel the extra cost is justified. Plus, even if it is a small element that makes them better than the conventional brands, it is still a better option.

  19. Wendy, that is a very good argument for buying the “greener” disposables! I spent $35 on disposables, so that averages to $5.83 a pack. I just saw some 7th Generation diapers on sale at Whole Foods for $10/pack. So it would have cost me just $25 extra to “upgrade” to eco-friendly disposables. If you use disposables full-time, though, $4-5 extra per pack is going to add up very quickly!

  20. We use Nature BabyCare and love them. The only other kind we have used is 7th Generation and that was only because the shop that has NBC diapers didn’t have the size we needed in stock.

    We also use their wipes which are biodegradable. So all the pee one’s go directly into our compost.

  21. This very moment at our local Fred Meyer… the Seventh Gen diapers are less than the FM brand! Yes, a couple times a year, they are half off… do I just paid $6.49 for a package of the 7th Gen dipes and the FM brand were $6.99 for the same size/count… just a little FYI! We only use them for nite time and travel… but I wish I had an extra $100 to stock up right now – such an amazing deal!

  22. I tried the Seventh Generation diapers when we were traveling… they were awful! They leaked every single time my son pooped. I will never buy them again.

  23. Nature Babycare and gDiapers are fully compostable and chlorine free – a better alternative to Seventh Generation which are only chlorine free. It’s worth the extra cost – although Nature Babycare are not that much more expensive than other name brands, particularly if you buy them on Amazon with subscribe and save. Couple them with biodegradable trash bags or diaper pail system like Diaper Dekor Plus if you’re going to toss rather than compost and it’s totally worth it.

  24. Julie, are you sure that Nature Babycare diapers are compostable? I had heard they were 30% compostable. Their website does not say they can be composted.

    Wet (not soiled) gDiapers can be composted, if you don’t mind SAP in your compost. (Some say the SAP is good for gardens as it retains water in the soil. However, it is not really biodegradable.)

    I am not sure how feasible it would be to home compost four to six diapers a day. I bought some compostable plastic bags that never really broke down–and I was trying to compost about one a week. (I wrote a post about it.) So unless you can send out the wet gDiapers with your yard debris in a municipal composting program, I am not sure how likely it is that they will really compost.

    I should write a post about this . . . I am interested to hear if anyone has had success composting their disposable diapers!

  25. services of diapers show facts absorbent gel disposable single-use and claim are harmful. chlorine used in the diaper service is harmful. We must protect our babies…

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