Just One Thing: How to Green Your Baby's Diapers

Diaper alternatives that are good for your baby and the environment.

March 25, 2010, 4:16 PM

March 26, 2010— -- About 50 million diapers land in U.S. landfills every day.

That amounts to about 18 billion diapers a year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

It's also been estimated that the average baby will use between 5,000 and 8,000 disposable diapers. Sara Snow, green living expert, author and TV show host, visited "Good Morning America" to share tips about how people can green their babies' diapers.

Snow, the author of the book "Sara Snow's Fresh Living," shared the following tips:

She recommends reusable cloth diapers as the best way to diaper a baby.

Tip No. 1: Use Cloth Diapers

Why? Cloth diapers are more responsible, and they're cheaper, Snow says.

Disposable diapers cost about $2,000 to $3,000 per year, but cloth diapers cost between $300 and $800, and you can reuse them for subsequent children.

Snow recommended smart cloth diapering systems, such as gDiapers, Bum Genius, Fuzzi Bunz and Pure Rest.

Parents can wash cloth diapers at home using a natural detergent, or they may use a diaper cleaning service.

Tip No. 2: Use Disposable Inserts

In these hybrid diapers, the outer pants are made of cloth and the inner portion is a disposable insert made of absorbent wood pulp and polyacrylate.

The inserts can absorb up to 100 times their own weight in liquid. Because they don't contain plastic, the inserts can be composted, flushed or thrown in the trash.

The outer pants are latex, chlorine and perfume-free, and come with snap-in, waterproof liners.

These are only slightly more expensive than conventional disposable diapers, Snow said.

Tip No. 3: Use Greener Disposable Diapers.

If you can't use cloth or hybrid diapers, there are disposable diapers on the market that are better for the environment – and your baby than the more popular brands.

Most disposable diapers contain a number of toxic chemicals, including TBT, which has been shown to cause hormonal problems in animals; sodium polyacrylate -- from the absorbent gel -- which causes skin irritation; and chlorine bleach, which is used in the diaper manufacturing process and which emits toxins into the air and water.

Among better disposable diapers are: Seventh Generation and TenderCare. They are both chlorine-free.

In addition, Tushies disposable diapers are free of gel, latex, perfume, dye and TBT.

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