Most mainstream disposable diaper products are filled with toxic chemicals and synthetic materials. Today we're bringing you reviews of the best natural and green eco-friendly diapers that are safe for your baby AND better for the environment!
Before I had Jackson, there were a lot of things I thought I needed to do to be the ‘perfect' green mom, like cloth diapers.
But as much as I'd love to be the mom that's patient enough (and not completely grossed out) to deal with cloth diapers, I'm just not. I'm embracing our modern era and enjoying the convenience of disposable diapers, much like at least 90% of the western population.
But it's not that simple (or guilt-free!).
See, not only are diapers an enormous environmental concern due to their landfill impact (this article states that disposable diapers take approximately 250-500 years to decompose in landfills! Multiply that by 18 billion diapers per year in just the USA alone, yikes!) but–unfortunately almost like all other baby and household products out there–they're typically made from synthetic, unsafe materials and are filled with harmful chemicals.
It's utterly outrageous that, again much like our beauty and skincare industry, diaper manufacturers are NOT required to disclose the ingredients/parts of diaper products. How is this even legal?
I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to scream from the rooftops that I don't want toxic chemicals touching my baby's tushy 24/7 for 3+ years!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Toxic Chemicals in Conventional Diapers
- Andy Pandy Premium Bamboo Diapers
- Aden & Anais Super Soft Diapers
- Seventh Generation Diapers for Sensitive Skin
- Bambo Nature Eco-Friendly Diapers
- The Honest Company Diapers
- Earth's Best Tendercare Diapers
- Abby & Finn Diaper Subscription
- Pampers Pure Collection
So what's so bad about your run of the mill diaper, you may be wondering?
Check it out. Chemicals in conventional, disposable diapers include:
- volatile organic compounds or VOCs (including toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and dipentene): short term effects of VOCs include sneezing, itchy throat/nose/eyes/skin, hives, coughing, irritability, runny nose, stomach ache, headaches, difficulty focusing, disrupted sleep quality; long term risks can include respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer
- sodium polyacrylate or SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer): believed to cause skin and respiratory irritations (may or may not be a health hazard but nearly all diapers contain SAP; there are a few listed below that do not)
- chlorine and dioxins: chlorine is used as a bleach to whiten diaper material, but chlorine emits small traces of known toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, called dioxins, during the bleaching process (whether or not it's enough to cause harm to babies is unclear; research suggests we're likely to get exposed to dioxins through our diet more than anywhere else)
- latex: latex allergies are well known and can lead to rashes, swelling, and even, in some severe cases, anaphylaxis, a serious and sometimes life-threatening allergy
- phthalates: mimics hormones; lowers sperm count and mobility; links to birth defects in males; links to diabetes, obesity, and thyroid disregulation; some may cause cancer
- lotions, inks, dyes, fragrances, and pesticide residue: fragrance is a hormone disruptor and one of the top five allergens in the world, lotions and dyes can also cause allergic reactions; lotions often include petrolatum, essentially the same substance as Vaseline, which has the potential to be contaminated with PAHs (cancer-causing chemicals found in crude oil) according to the EWG
- all this plus the petrochemical load used in manufacturing
The World Health Organization states that some of these chemicals are linked to long-term health conditions, and a study published in the “Archives of Environmental Health” in 1999 states that disposable diapers should be considered to be a factor that may cause or worsen childhood asthma and respiratory problems.
The soft, sensitive skin of babies is also prone to rashes and allergic reactions due to the chemicals in disposable diapers, which makes for a very unhappy babe and momma.
Conventional Diapers to Avoid
For example, Pampers Swaddlers diapers have lotion, colorant, aren't completely chlorine free, and have a ‘light Baby Fresh' scent; Huggies have snythetic rubber elastic, adhesive, color changing dye, plastics, and aren't completely chlorine free.
I could go on, but the point here is this: unless a manufacturer explicitly assures you that their diaper does not include these common harmful ingredients, you should tread carefully and just assume that it does.
Where does that leave us? We've researched the best non-toxic, eco-friendly, safe diaper brands that also actually WORK for comfort, function, and making a smaller imprint on the environment. (Note: if you're looking for organic, you need to look into cloth diapers as no organic baby disposable diapers exist yet).
Read on for our reviews!
Bamboo is the ultimate eco-friendly sustainable resource: it's renewable, biodegradable (read: no pollution), and naturally regenerative, growing incredibly fast without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
The bamboo fibers used in Andy Pandy's diapers are soft & silky to the touch, but extremely strong and absorbent. It's amazing that they're almost entirely biodegradable (86.5%), as they're the ONLY diaper brand I found that makes this claim.
These hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and odor resistant diapers also have moisture-wicking and thermal regulating capabilities that keep your baby’s skin dry and comfortable in hot or cold temperatures, and also prevents your baby's delicate skin from getting painful irritation and rashes.
Plus, these diapers have an aloe liner to keep your sweet baby’s skin hydrated and prevent itchiness.
They also have a “no leak guarantee” where you can get a full refund if you're not satisfied, proving just how confident Andy Pandy is in their product!
- Core made from: 100% non-woven bamboo fiber which has not been treated with harmful chemical pesticides
- Cost: varies depending on size, ranges from about $.40 – $.61/diaper on Amazon; or $18.95 for a newborn pack of 50 ($.38/diaper)–buy on Amazon here or direct through their website!
aden & anais–creators of all things safe baby–also makes hypoallergenic diapers that are dermatologically tested and made from 100% sustainable resources. Not to mention these prints are very cute and, as aptly named, super soft!
These diapers have an absorbent core that draws wetness away from baby’s skin while soft, stretchy side panels offer a flexible snug fit, preventing leaks day and night.
Plus, they plant one tree for every pack sold with Trees for the Future–an initiative I can get behind!
- Core made from: chlorine free wood pulp, polypropylene nonwoven fabric
- Cost: varies depending on size, approximately $.32/diaper on Amazon–buy here!–or $12.99 for a newborn pack of 44 ($.30/diaper)–buy direct through their website here!
Seventh Generation is best known for their plant-based, eco-friendly products like cleaning supplies and organic feminine care.
But did you know they also sell diapers? The core is made from sustainably sourced, Forest Stewardship Council® Certified absorbent wood fluff pulp that absorbs three times a standard wetting.
These diapers also have stretchy side panels and refastening tabs for a snug, flexible fit, along with double leg cuffs and a stretchy waistband to help control leaks. In addition to the wicking layer that pulls moisture away from skin to keep baby dry and comfortable, Seventh Generation recently added a new FreshAIR breathable layer to further help pull humidity away from baby’s skin.
For the smallest sizes (Newborn – 2), they've added a soft quilted liner made with unbleached cotton to be extra gentle on new baby's skin.
- Core made from: sustainable and responsible FSC Certified wood fluff pulp
- Cost: varies depending on size, ranges from about $.27 – $.58/diaper–buy on Amazon here! It's $39.99 for a newborn pack of 144 ($.28/diaper) which you can also get on Amazon, or also available at buybuy Baby and Thrive Market–get 40% off your first order + a free gift!
Free of harmful chemicals and all known allergens, Bambo Nature diapers have a unique three-layer design and super-absorbent core that can stand up to multiple wettings—even overnight. They're simultaneously thin, yet ultra-absorbent.
With a fully breathable backsheet that allows moisture to be wicked away faster, your baby's sensitive skin will stay dry and comfortable. The flexible waistband–complete with customizable side panels and latex-free leg cuffs–help diapers stay in place around the hips while maximizing movement so your child is free to move about naturally.
Bambo Nature is certified skin-safe and has received many certifications like FSC, Nordic Swan Eco Label, Asthma-Allergy Denmark, and EcoCert.
- Core made from: polypropylene (PP) and polyethylene (PE) with absorbent of polyacrylate (SAP) and cellulose (ECF fluff)
- Cost: varies depending on size, ranges from about $.32 – $.53/diaper, or $9.99 for a newborn pack of 28 diapers ($.36/diaper)–buy on Amazon here! Also available at Jet and Thrive Market–get 40% off your first order + a free gift using our link!
These recently redesigned diapers by The Honest Co. hold an incredible 17 times its weight in fluid for truly advanced leak protection. They're soft, they've got stretchy side panels, a comfy elastic waistband, sure-fit leg cuffs, and fastening tabs to prevent icky blowouts.
Honest Diapers are also dermatologist tested to be hypoallergenic, and–of course given the theme of this post–are made from sustainably harvested fluff pulp and plant-derived materials.
Did I mention these diapers have the most adorable prints like giraffes, feathers, and T-Rexes?!
- Core made from: wood pulp from sustainably managed forests + sodium polyacrylate containing renewable materials and odor inhibitors, including citrus extract + liquid chlorophyll
- Cost: varies depending on size, ranges from about $.31 – $.55/diaper, or $43.99 for 128 diapers ($.34/diaper)–buy on Amazon here! Also available on Thrive Market–get 40% off your first order + a free gift using our link!
Earth's Best–makers of organic infant formula and organic purees–also make eco-friendly diapers.
The soft and stretchy panels on Earth's Best diapers refasten to help provide a secure fit, while the moisture barrier cuff and breathable sides offer further protection from leaks, keeping your baby comfortable and dry.
If you're not into character prints, these diapers are mostly white with minimal pattern on the waistband, meaning you can't see it through lighter clothing like some other brands with colorful designs.
Earth's Best diapers also come in recyclable packaging.
- Core made from: wood fluff pulp, corn and wheat
- Cost: varies depending on size, ranges from about $.19 – $.48/diaper, or $13.95 for a newborn pack of 44 ($.31/diaper)–buy on Amazon here!
If any subscription box service makes sense, diapers win hands down. You know you're gonna need them monthly, so why not set it and forget it, knowing they'll show up at your doorstep without ever having to worry about running out?
That's where Abby & Finn comes in–a by parents for parents diaper subscription that is flexible and easy-to-use. They allow you to select two sizes per pack if you’re about to be in between sizes or want to use the larger size as a nighttime option, and you can even mix multiples designs within the same box, plus you're free to pause, edit, or cancel at any time.
To top it off, for every month purchased, they give a diaper a day (30 diapers total) to the 1/3 of families in America that can’t afford diapers (the Finn in their name refers to their mission to help Families In Need)–so you're supporting a great cause! So far they've donated over 100,000 diapers!
- Core made from: wood pulp from sustainably managed forests + sodium polyacrylate
- Cost: $45/month for 3 packs of diapers (quantity depends on size; for an all newborn pack you get 198 diapers or just $.23/diaper!), add $10/month for chlorine-free wipes
While I love supporting small companies, I also love seeing big, influential companies make meaningful changes that support the health of average families. That's where Pampers–probably the biggest name in all of Diaperland–comes in with their Pure Collection, made from premium cotton, soft plant-based and other thoughtfully selected materials.
These diapers claim to be two times drier and more breathable than The Honest Company's, and are independently reviewed and accredited as skin safe by the Skin Health Alliance.
The bag and box are 100% recyclable, and the boxes are made with more than 33% recycled materials.
I was also impressed to read that these diapers are produced with 100% renewable electricity, where 99.35% of all materials entering the plant are either reused, recycled or recovered in the last year. Plus, NO production waste ends up in a landfill.
While I still prefer 7th Generation and Andy Pandy diapers best, I've gotta give kudos to Pampers for taking awesome steps in the right direction with this line!
- Made of: wood fluff pulp that's sustainably sourced and certified to FSC or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification standards
- Cost: varies depending on size, ranges from about $.34 – $.56/diaper, or $24.94 for a newborn pack of 68 ($.37/diaper)–buy on Amazon here! Also available in big box stores like buybuy BABY, Sam's Club, and Walgreens.
What are your favorite disposable diaper brands? Let us know in the comments below!