No one knows how long it takes for a diaper to biodegrade. That’s because none of them ever HAVE! Yeah, they get really raunchy, and flies and bugs eat the…. well lets just say the reason for their existence. But the material from which they were made hasn’t ever actually gone back into the soil!…. EVER. Some scientists have estimated that it will take upwards of 50 years for a diaper to totally disintegrate.
There are 20 MILLION children in the US between the ages of 0 and 5. The average child uses 7,500 diapers throughout their life (if they are potty trained before the age of 3). If every kid just in the US is using 7,500 diapers…… we have a serious problem and that’s just in the STATES! That doesn’t even include the other countries! I’m not even much of an environmentalist, but that still seems like a problem to me! After researching the make-up of a cloth diaper I can see where everyone is concerned. Only ONE of the parts of modern diapers are able to biodegrade.
The Modern Diaper has basically five parts. They are: 1. A polyester layer that allows liquid to pass through, 2. A layer of super absorbent material, 3. A waterproof layer of polyethelyn film, 4. The elastic used for a better fit, and 5. Tape used to fasten the diaper to the baby.
The Biodegradable part is the absorbent material in the middle of the diaper called Super-Absorbent Polymer or SAP. The SAP is able to hold up to 30 times its own weight in fluid. There is, unfortunately a hindrance to the disintegration of this product though. Most people, when folding the diapers to put them in a diaper genie or a diaper pail are prone to wrap up the diaper, thus making it more difficult (and take longer) to biodegrade. When you add in the diaper-genie bag, the diaper instead becomes fairly mummefied, never actually being able to biodegrade. The rest of the diaper is plastic-based and therefore, impossible to biodegrade.
So basically, what I’m saying is, Why would you want to add to the problem? Even if you use a diaper system that has a disposable liner (like g-diapers), you’d be saving lots of space in the dump from things that have almost no chance of disappearing …. EVER.