Everything You Should Know Before Buying Diapers

Every parent can agree that some of the first choices you make, from what to pack in your hospital bag to which swaddles to use, feel both endless and overwhelming. 

So when it comes to baby care products, knowing which rash cream or diaper to buy may seem simply perplexing. There are hundreds of options, opinions and ever-changing factors to keep in mind. Do you choose cloth or disposable? How does a biodegradable diaper impact the environment? What does it all mean?

New baby care brand Coterie has asked and addressed these questions, creating the highest quality diaper on the market. 

Coterie understands that selecting a diaper for your child is an important and intimate decision. They also address the misinformation and noise that exists in the space, with the mission to provide parents with more accurate, concise information. The brand promises to provide transparency about modern diapering, equipping consumers with better knowledge to make truly informed decisions. 

Below are some of the diaper questions all new parents should know before deciding which are best for their family.

Is it true that cloth diapers are more environmentally friendly?

Let’s first look at the fact that all diapers, disposable and cloth, have an impact on the environment. In many cases, cloth and disposable diapers have no significant differences in environmental impacts, according to a study done by the Environment Agency in the UK. 

Cloth diapers are often made of cotton, which is very chemically dependent considering 3% of arable land is devoted to cotton, however growing it takes up 10% of all agricultural chemicals and 25% of insecticides. Cotton fertilizers are also, unfortunately, very big greenhouse gas emitters

While disposables take more raw materials to create, fill landfills and degrade slowly, cloth diapers require water and electricity for cleaning and commercial cloth diaper services require fuel for delivery trucks.

Environmental factors aside, cloth diapers tend to be less absorbent and can’t draw moisture away from your baby’s skin as efficiently as disposables, which can lead to skin irritation and rashes. They also tend to feel wet and cold against a baby’s bottom. 

There are ‘biodegradable’ diapers on the market now, aren’t they the best solution? What about ‘organic’ and ‘plant-based’?

Unfortunately, no diaper can be 100% biodegradable. Only certain components of a diaper can biodegrade, a process which actually increases CO2 emissions. As far as performance, biodegradable materials aren’t as effective when it comes to absorbency. Further, to reap the benefits of a biodegradable diaper, they need to be disposed of in a landfill with a methane gas recovery system and most US landfills are not equipped with such a system. 

Just as no diaper is 100% biodegradable, they also aren’t 100% organic or plant-based. Diaper industry veteran Carlos Richer has been guiding leading brands in the industry for over 35 years and advises that all disposable diapers, regardless of the brand, contain synthetic materials in order to help them function properly. 

Given that cloth and biodegradable diapers don’t perform as well as their synthetic counterparts, and aren’t necessarily better for the environment, Coterie made the conscious decision to focus on performance, safety, and sustainability, developing a better disposable solution.

coterie eco friendly diapers

So what is the answer to diaper sustainability? How can we change things?

The long-term, sustainable solution to modern diapering is through recycling. Today, there are two major barriers to this: collecting and sorting used diapers, then sanitizing and breaking them down. 

Coterie is working on a 360 solution to this with partner Diaper Recycling Technology (DRT), who are pioneering recycling technologies that can recover up to 95% of raw materials from used diapers both energy and cost efficiently. They’re also developing a camera to identify diapers in the waste stream to separate collection. The success of this would mean big change for the country.

To support this development and help make diapers sustainable long-term, Coterie is donating a percentage of all diaper sales to DRT. 

Diaper sustainability may not cross everyone’s mind, but impacts all of us on a larger level than most realize. If you’re reading this, you likely place great importance on investing in the best for your baby and creating a better future for them. With brands like Coterie, focused on transparency and community, hopefully the diaper aisle is a bit easier to navigate.

You’ll also want to read the Most Popular French Baby Names Right Now and How to Avoid Cry It Out Sleep Training from the Founder of SNOO.