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• While people before us have talked about land pollution, climate
change and more we are at least aware of these problems at large
but we have no idea how much damage diapers do to our

• Disposable diapers are the 3rd largest consumer item in landfills, and
represent 30% of non-biodegradable waste.

• A great amount of disposable diapers are being used worldwide.

• In the United States alone, it is calculated that 40.37 millions

diapers are used each day by babies in the 0-2 age group and 467
diapers are used every second.

• The total world consumption is estimated to be 1,375 million diapers

every day.
• The only other items that outnumber the amount of disposables in
landfills are newspapers and beverage and food containers.
• Even though it may seem as if an individual child doesn’t contribute
much to those numbers, each baby wearing disposable diapers creates
about 900 kilograms of garbage over the course of two years.
• It takes hundreds of years for disposable diapers to decompose when
exposed to sunlight and air.
• Since diapers are dumped into landfills, covered and not exposed to sun
or air at all, nobody knows how many hundreds—or even thousands—of
years they could be around. In an Average it takes about 500 years for a
single diaper to decompose.
• In other words, if Christopher Columbus had worn Pampers, his poop
would still be intact in some landfill today.
• Without sun and air, even so-called “eco-friendly” diapers labeled
biodegradable do NOT biodegrade in landfills, and cause just as much
of a problem as regular diaper

• If the costs associated with needlessly landfilling diapers weren’t

enough, consider that our landfills contain 5 million tons of untreated
human waste—a breeding ground for diseases that could potentially
contaminate our groundwater.

• The EPA (The Environmental Protection Agency) notes that “…a

significant portion of the disposable diaper waste dumped in landfills
every year is actually biodegradable human waste preserved forever.”

• When you toss a disposable into the trash can, you are adding to the
38 million pounds of raw fecal matter going into the environment
every year.
• Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and The
American Public Health Association advise parents
that fecal matter and urine should NOT be disposed of
in the regular trash, because it contaminates the
ground water and spreads disease.
• Infact, printed on the side of every disposable diaper
package are instructions for rinsing the diaper and
flushing the fecal material down the toilet before
putting it into the trash!
• Haveyou EVER seen anyone rinse out a disposable,
much less dump out the poop into the toilet?
“Disposables Help Increase Gas Prices”

• We pay through the nose for disposable diapers throughout their life-cycle.

• Even factoring in the water and energy used to launder cloth diapers, in the
full-cost accounting, from farm to factory to storefront, compared to cloth
diapers, disposables:

Create 2.3 times more water waste,

Use 3.5 times more energy,
Use 8.3 times more non-renewable raw materials (like oil and minerals),
Use 90 times more renewable raw materials (like tree pulp and cotton),
And use 4 to 30 times as much land for growing or mining raw materials.
• A disposable diaper is practically dripping in oil.

• Oil is the raw material for the polyethylene plastic in disposables and it
takes about 1 cup of crude oil just to make the plastic for 1 disposable

• Taking that a bit further, assuming you use at least 6,500 diapers in the
30 month period of diapering a baby , this means that it takes about
1500 litres of oil to diaper a baby for 30 months—not including the oil
involved in the diapers’ manufacture and delivery.

• To put it in perspective : It takes more oil to keep your baby dry for 2-1/2
years than it does to lubricate all the cars you will ever own in your

• In United States alone over 250,000 trees are destroyed and over 3.4
billion gallons of oil are used every single year to manufacture disposable
• For that amount of oil, we could have powered over 5,222,000 cars in the
same time period.
• The importance of reducing our dependence on fossil fuels through our
diaper choices cannot be overestimated.
• Using up what little affordable oil we have left on this planet to
improperly manage baby poop is possibly the stupidest use of oil we could
think of, besides the disposable water bottle.
• Such recklessly wasteful use of oil threatens not only our environmental
security, but also our economic and homeland security, too.
• As we waste all the easy, cheap-to-produce oil we have left on unnecessary
conveniences like disposable diapers and water bottles, we will increasingly
have to rely on risky, costly-to-produce oil from deep in the ocean, the
pristine Arctic, the Tarsands, and the Mideast and Venezuela, and suffer
the price hikes, environmental disasters, and scary, scarcity politics that go
with that.
“Effects on babies skin”
• If the toxic waste and the misuse of oil weren’t
bad enough, disposable diapers are toxic to your
baby too.

• Baby’s poorly developed outer skin layer absorbs

about 50 different chemicals if you use disposable
diapers, wipes and standard baby products. This
can be greatly reduced by using cloth diapers and
natural baby products.
• One of the dangers of disposable diapers is that they all contain
something called Sodium Polyacrylate.
• Even the “eco-friendly” diapers contain this chemical, too.
• This is the chemical added to the inner pad of a disposable that
makes it super-absorbent.
• When the powder gets wet, it turns into a gel that:
• Can absorb up to 100 times its weight in water.
• Can stick to baby’s genitals, causing allergic reactions.
• Can cause severe skin irritation, oozing blood from perineum and
scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies.
• Was banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to
Toxic Shock Syndrome.
• When injected into rats, has caused hemorrhage,
cardiovascular failure and death.
• Has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of
• Most disposable diapers also contain Dioxin.
• Thisis a chemical by-product of the paper-bleaching process
used in the manufacturing of most diapers.
• Dioxin is carcinogenic. In fact, the EPA lists it as the most toxic
of all cancer-linked chemicals.
• Invery small quantities (parts per trillion) it causes birth
defects, skin disease, liver disease, immune system suppression
& genetic damage in lab animals.
• Dioxin is banned in most countries, but not the United
•A 2002 study that tested four brands of diapers found
dioxins in all samples, although in much lower
concentrations than the amount of dioxin exposure from
one’s diet.
• Whilesome believe that the tiny size of dioxin exposure
from diapers means it’s nothing to worry about, others feel
that because dioxin is highly carcinogenic in even the tiniest
amounts (parts per trillion), it’s worth it to reduce dioxin
exposure even by that little bit.
• And if dioxin weren’t bad enough, the plastic in all disposable diapers
contains phthalates.
• These are the plastic softeners that were recently banned from
children’s teething rings and other toys because of toxicity.
• Phthalates are endocrine disruptors, meaning they mimic human
hormones and send false signals to the body.
• According to Pediatrics,
• “Children are uniquely vulnerable to phthalate exposures given their
hand-to-mouth behaviors, floor play, and developing nervous and
reproductive systems.”
Heavy Metals
• Some disposable diapers contain Tributyl Tin (TBT) and other
heavy metals.
• Considered a highly toxic environmental pollutant, TBT spreads
through the skin and has a hormone-like effect in the tiniest
• TBT harms the immune system and impairs the hormonal system,
and it is speculated that it could cause sterility in boys.
• In 2005, Pediatrics found that the dyes used on diapers can contain
heavy metals—and heavy metals are not what you want near your
baby’s skin.
Other Toxic Nasties
• Even worse, in 1999, a study showed that childhood respiratory problems,
including asthma, might be linked to inhaling the mixture of chemicals
emitted from disposable diapers.
• The study identified these chemicals in emissions from two brands of
disposable diapers (specific brands tested were not disclosed):
• m-Xylene
• p-Anisaldehyde
• Ethylbenzene
• Styrene
• Isopropylbenzene
• Dipentene
• m-Methoxybenzaldehyde
• Methyl cinnamate
• Toluene
• 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene
• Trichloroethylene
• 1-Methylcyclopentylamine
• 1,2,3-Trimethylcyclopentane
• Toluene is a known central nervous system depressant.
• Ethylbenzene is a carcinogen.
• Dipentene is a skin irritant.
• Styrene is a respiratory irritant.
“Disposables Cause Rashes”
• Even if sodium polyacrylate was completely safe (and there is some debate about
this), the super-absorbent qualities of disposable diapers are not really the blessing
they seem to be.
• Super-absorbent disposables can do three things:
• 1 – Facilitate less diaper changing from parents, which leads to rashes because of
exposure to the super-absorbent chemicals, bacteria, and ammonia from
accumulated urine in the diaper.
• 2 – Reduce air circulation and pull natural moisture (not just urine) our of the baby’s
skin which can cause irritation.
• 3 – Raise the temperature of a baby boy’s scrotum far above body temperature, to
the point that it can stop his testicles from developing normally, according to a study
published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.
• Widespread diaper rash is a relatively new phenomenon that
surfaced in tandem with the widespread use of disposable
diapers, and is now found in over half of all U.S. babies.
• While diaper rashes can be caused by a variety of problems
(food allergies, yeast, etc.), the majority of these rashes come
from allergies to diaper and wipe chemicals, lack of air,
higher temperatures (because plastic retains body heat), and
being changed less often because babies feel dry when they
are actually wet.
• Certaindyes used to add color to disposable diapers have
been shown to cause allergic reactions resulting in rashes.
Repeated exposure to the dye can cause a long-term allergy.
• One study in Pediatrics that looked at several babies who suffered from rashes
found that the rashes only occurred in places where the skin was in direct
contact with the dyed part of the diaper.
• Researchers believe that it is the continued exposure to the dyes that causes a
sensitization, or allergic reaction, in babies.
• The study also found the following chemicals in disposable diapers to be
associated with allergic contact dermatitis (skin rash):
• Mercaptobenzothiazole (rubber chemical)
• P-tert-butyl-phenol-formaldehyde resin (glue)
• Cyclohexylthiophthalimide (found in rubber)
• Since prolonged exposure to a hot, dirty, chemical-laden diaper is the most
common cause of diaper rashes, super-absorbent diapers may actually
encourage parents to leave them on longer, causing these rashes.
• With a cloth diaper, when it is wet, it feels wet inside, and must be
changed, because babies really dislike the feeling of eliminating on
themselves. (Who does?)
• It is for this same reason that using cloth diapers facilitates earlier
potty learning.
• Frequent changing, in addition to the cool, breathable fabric of cloth
diapers, significantly reduces diaper rashes.
• And with no toxic chemicals, cloth diapers can’t cause allergic
dermatitis either.
• In fact, my daughter never had a diaper rash again after we switched
from so-called “green” disposables to cloth.
“So what can be done ”
• 1) Diaper Disposal
• Manufacturers of diapers in India will have to provide a pouch or wrapper for
disposal along with the packets of their sanitary products.
• The government made this provision mandatory for manufacturers of sanitary
products under its new solid waste management rules, released by the Union
environment and forests minister.
• The provision is made under the new rule keeping the concerns of rag-pickers or
waste collectors in mind.
• Under the rules, the manufacturers are also advised to educate the masses for
wrapping and disposal of their products using the pouch.
• As per the new rules, no person should throw, burn, or bury the solid waste
generated by him, on streets, open public spaces outside his premises, or in the
drain, or water bodies.
• The chances of you getting fine can be very high so it’s best to abide by the
rules that have been made for the sake of your health as well as your baby’s
and more importantly the environment as a whole.
• No matter whether you’re at home or on the road, you’ll be throwing the
diaper in the trash, but it’s important that you follow the proper steps, first.
• Here are some effective and eco-friendly pointers to dispose off your baby’s
soiled diapers.
• If possible, be sure to first dump any feces from the diaper into a toilet.
• As obvious as it is, it helps reduce odour and bacteria growth, and just
makes it easier to dispose it off without making a mess.
• Try to wrap the used diaper up as tightly as possible to reduce risk of
spillage. You can use the sticky tape sections to help keep it wrapped up.
• Carry along a supply of old newspapers if you’re out so you can discreetly get rid of
dirty diapers.
• Don’t forget to dump any solid matter from the diaper into a toilet first, and wrap
the diaper tightly in it before you throw it away. PS. You can use baking soda in
your home trash bin to curb the odour and help keep them smelling fresh.
• If you’re travelling in remote areas with little or no civilization around, you’ll have
to carry the soiled diapers with you… possibly for the whole trip, until you can find
a suitable garbage can or trash receptacle.
• DO NOT throw away disposable diapers in the wilderness as they will pollute the
• If you’re on a plane, disposing of a diaper may seem like a tedious task.
• However, it’s still pretty easy if you know how to do it. You can use the airsick bag
to store the diaper.
• However, please be aware that the FDA prohibits airline staff to handle soiled
diapers when they’re serving food, so you may have to wait, or dispose it yourself.
• 2) Cloth Diapers
• You can use cloth diapers for the baby.
• These are not only good for the baby’s skin and health, but they can be used over
and over again.
• There are many variants of cloth diapers available in the market; you can pick up
the organic cotton ones that absorb well.
• 3) Reusable Cloth Diapers
• Reusable diapers are commonly used in rural parts of India.
• It is essentially a soft triangular cotton cloth with threads attached.
• They need to be carefully washed with a strong disinfectant.
• The lifespan of the reusable cloth diaper is 1-2 weeks
•A great amount of disposable diapers are being used
• In the United States alone, it is calculated that 40.37 millions
diapers are used each day by babies in the 0-2 age group and
467 diapers are used every second.
• The total world consumption is estimated to be 1,375 million
diapers every day.
• In India itself this market is growing at 25-30% per year which
is alarming due to the lack of proper disposal specially in
developing countries like India