sanitary napkin manufacturing unit cost Diaper Machine:The Effects of Disposable Diapers on the Environment and Human Health

sanitary napkin manufacturing unit cost Diaper Machine:The Effects of Disposable Diapers on the Environment and Human Health

  Environmental Effects of Disposable Diapers: Disposable baby diapers represent an incredible amount of environmental waste. Their potential harm to infants is no less devastating.

  Read also: A Guide to Sustainable Kids’ Clothing

  words by Andrew Karpisz

  Disposable baby
diapers produce an incredible amount of environmental waste. While disposable
diapers may seem more convenient than cloth diapers, their environmental impact is terrifying. Not only do they form a sizeable portion of
non-recyclable landfill waste, but they also contain many harmful chemicals
that are subsequently dispersed into the environment. To safeguard the future,
we need to consider alternatives.

  In the United
States, there are about four million babies born every year. During
their first year of life, the average newborn uses about 2500 diapers. This
means that from babies under one year old, Americans dispose of around a
trillion diapers a year. If we include all children before potty-training age,
the amount grows. Children in their second year of life need fewer diapers, around
four to five a day. That’s an extra 1400-1800 diapers a year, per child.

  Production of
synthetic diapers began in the 1960s and gained popularity over the following decade. In 2017, Americans disposed of over four million tons of
used diapers, 80% of which just sits in landfills. Diapers are made of
synthetic materials that aren’t biodegradable. 

  Out of all “non-durable goods,” diapers were the second most generated waste by weight, surpassed only by discarded clothing and shoes. And we have over half a century’s worth of them taking up space.

  Conventional diapers take hundreds of years to break down, which means that the diapers that you wore as a baby are likely still intact, sitting in a landfill.  Brands like The Eco Pea Company are trying to change this by creating diapers that use more natural materials that have an easier time breaking down. This can go a long way towards countering the environmental effects of disposable diapers.

  Aside from the sheer volume of waste, disposable diapers contain many harmful substances.

  Tributyltin (TBT) –
A biocide used to prevent the growth of bacteria. It’s poisonous to
marine life as well as humans. It damages fertility, unborn children, and our
organs. TBT can be fatal if inhaled and doesn’t degrade. TBT remains in our
ecosystem and is entering our food chain.

Dioxins – A group of persistent organic pollutants. The bleaching process used on
diaper material creates dioxins as a by-product. They’re carcinogenic and
linked long-term health problems. Dioxins are highly toxic, according to the
EPA.

Adhesives, synthetic
dyes, and perfumes – They are manufactured with and contain the chemicals on
this list. Adhesives are used to hold the entire diaper together. Synthetic
dyes create the cute pictures found on diapers, as well as the colored straps and
the convenient strip telling you whether the baby needs to be changed. Diapers
use perfumes to hide odors.

Sodium polyacrylate – Used
as the absorbent stuffing. Menstrual pads containing this compound have been
implicated in cases of toxic shock syndrome.

Volatile Organic
Compounds (VOCs) like toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, and dipentene – They’re
used to produce dyes, polymers, and adhesives. But the problem with these
chemicals is that they are quickly released into the air when exposed to heat.

Plastics/polymers – Mainly polypropylene and polyethylene, but also includes polyester, polyurethane, and polyolefin. They’re the primary materials used in product packaging, household products, and the production of plastic grocery bags, respectively. Most of a diaper is composed of these non-recyclable plastics.

Phthalates – While
they’re used to soften plastics, the diaper’s adhesives, dyes, and
perfumes also contain these chemicals. People of any age can have adverse
reactions to phthalates, but unborn babies and young children are potentially
more susceptible.

Petroleum/petrolatum
– Used to keep diapers from leaking.

Most of us don’t want these substances in our environment. Yet we are encouraged to place these compounds directly against our children’s skin.

  These chemical compounds are typically used to keep manufacturing costs low, but there are safe and healthy alternatives for parents who want to avoid them, just like there are for sustainable shampoo products. Look for diaper brands that state: hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, totally chlorine-free (TCF), phthalate-free, etc.  Also, opting for sustainable brands with little to no patterns means lessening your baby’s exposure to synthetic and toxic inks and dyes.

  Effects of Disposable Diapers: baby walking at beachEffects of Disposable Diapers: baby walking at beachThe Environment, A Major Concern of the Effects of Disposable Diapers

Fortunately, we have other options that are better for our children and the environment.

  A few companies have started production of completely biodegradable diapers. They use plant-based materials instead of polyacrylate stuffing, artificial dyes, toxic materials, and plastics. 

  There is a higher price attached to these diapers, due to higher manufacturing costs. But you also get the comfort of knowing that your child won’t be exposed to harsh chemicals. These diapers won’t sit in landfills for centuries. If you want the convenience of disposable diapers without the waste, these are perfect.

  Natural diaper brands like Eco Pea Co. can begin degrading in as little as 2-3 months as opposed to 500+ years.  They also utilize water based ink that is environment-protected. Because bamboo is naturally odor-resistant and antibacterial, opting for a bamboo diaper subscription is not only better for our planet, but also safer for your child.

  If you can’t stomach the high cost of biodegradable disposables, there is still another solution — cloth diapers.

  Reusable cloth
diapers have come a long way since their creation. The classic image of a
cotton sheet held on with safety pins is no longer the reality. They’ve updated
cloth diapers with contours, velcro or snaps, leak protection, and some pretty
stylish prints. Now, these diapers are made of breathable fabrics and don’t
require soaking before washing (like they did previously). 

  With all-in-one
cloth diapers, all you do is shake solids from the diaper, and throw them in
the washing machine. After two wash cycles, they’re good as new. 

  And if you’re
concerned about wasting water, you should know that it takes approximately nine
gallons of water to produce a single disposal diaper. When you compare your entire household laundry to the number of disposables you’d
use, the answer is clear.

  Not only are they
environmentally friendly, but cost about half as much as the seven thousand
diapers a child uses before potty training. Are you having
another child? The only cost is laundering if you chose not to do it at home.
Reusables require scant investment instead of a constant drain on your wallet.

  Let’s say that you don’t want to have to wash them at home. For the sake of
convenience, there are plenty of companies that provide delivery and laundering
services. There are green and eco-friendly cleaners as well, so your
environmental impact from cloth diaper use has the
potential to be negligible.

  The cost of
laundering services, combined with the purchase of cloth diapers, is almost
equal to that of using disposable diapers. Cloth diapers save us significant
energy, water, raw materials, and landfill
space when compared to single-use diapers.

  Diapers are a
necessity for your child. The negative impact on
our environment is not. It’s possible to achieve the same protection at a lower
cost and similar convenience for about the same as disposables.

  It’s our responsibility to use these earth-friendly options. Our total amount of waste produced globally is expected to double by 2030. This is one way we can lessen our impact. If we plan on giving the earth to our offspring, shouldn’t we protect it while raising them?

  Andrew Karpisz is a freelance writer for hire, husband, and proud stay-at-home father. He writes about parenting, self-improvement, and more. When he’s not writing and researching, you can find him frolicking and playing with his 2-year-old daughter. He can be found on FB and Twitter at @TheAndrewAK.

sanitary napkin manufacturing unit cost Diaper Machine:The Effects of Disposable Diapers on the Environment and Human Health