How Disposable Nappy Pollution Affects You
The more we learn about the production, usage, and harmful health and environmental impact of disposable nappies the more we wonder, why is this topic not widely publicised and debated?
The first “official” disposable nappy was created and patented in 1948 and today, disposables have become an easy solution for parents and a major product for various manufacturing companies. They are in fact, a glaring symbol of our throwaway, unthinking consumer culture.
It takes hundreds of years for disposable diapers to decompose when exposed to sunlight and air. Since over 90% of nappies 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 are actually here for.
Disposable nappies are the third largest consumer item in landfills, and represent 30% of non-biodegradable waste. The only other items that outnumber the amount of disposables in landfills are newspapers and beverage and food containers.
Our conclusion is that nappies and babies faeces are not glamorous or as easy to discuss or market as say, disposable coffee cups. There are also billions of dollars at stake related to the manufacturing and sale of disposable nappies.
We’ve uncovered some alarming facts of how disposable nappies are impacting the environment and in turn, every single one of us.
- With every disposable nappy thrown into garbage and therefore landfill, raw fecal matter is going directly into the environment via our waterways.
- 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 garbage, because it contaminates the ground water and spreads disease.
- Gases released from our children’s buried faces and disposable nappies are contributing to global warming.
- Disposable nappies require large volumes of pulp, paper, plastic and other raw materials in the manufacturing process and hence, significant amounts of water and energy are used.
- Billions of trees are destroyed.
- Gallons of oil are used.
- The oil used to keep our baby’s bottoms clean could have powered millions of cars in the same time period.
- Oil is a natural resource that is running out globally, which is also a major cause of war and conflict.
- Nappy production and usage across the globe is enormous, and therefore the overall impact on global energy and pollution is enormous too.
- An individual baby wearing disposable nappies creates about 2,000 pounds of garbage over the course of two years.
- To put this into context, in America alone, babies use 27.4 billion disposable nappies each year, which is enough waste to stretch to the moon and back 9 times.
- If the toxic waste and the misuse of oil weren’t bad enough, disposable diapers are toxic to babies and the environment they end up in.
- One example of a dangerous chemical used in all disposable nappies (even the ‘eco-friendly’ ones), is Sodium Polyacrylate.
- This chemical is known as waterlock, and is added to the inner pad of a disposable to make it super-absorbent.
- Sodium polyacrylate is highly toxic when inhaled or ingested, and was banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Our Reusable Modern Cloth Nappy Range from EcoNaps
Useful Content Quick Links
- Reusable Modern Cloth Nappies – All That You Need To Know
- Cloth Nappies Versus Disposable Nappies
- EcoNaps – FAQ’s
- EcoNaps – Washing Guide
- EcoNaps – Demonstration Videos