Saturday, January 19, 2013

Environmentally Friendly Cloth Diaper Fabrics

Bamboo fabric has been touted as the "greener" choice in cloth diaper fabric.  Bamboo is a natural and renewable source and it doesn't require the use of pesticides.  So... doesn't that make it an awesome choice for cloth diapers?  Unfortunately no.

Bamboo fabric is actually "bamboo rayon".  Rayon can be created from any plant-based material, however its creation requires heavy input of chemicals that release toxic pollutants into the air.  By the time bamboo is transformed into man-made rayon fabric, any beneficial properties of bamboo as a plant (antimicrobial, biodegradable) are lost.

What are some environmentally friendly fabric choices used in cloth diapers?  Look for these terms:

  • Organic: The fabric is made from plant material not treated with pesticides.

  • Unbleached: The product has not been whitened with chlorine bleach, a process that releases some of the world's most toxic compounds.

  • Hemp: Hemp grows with minimal pesticides, no herbicides, grows quickly, and has been called a "carbon-negative" raw material.  Hemp is also highly absorptive and is frequently used to add extra absorbency to diapers.  It can be a bit scratchy, so it's typically used as an absorbency doubler and not directly against baby's skin.

  • Able to be composted: Some diapers are designed to degrade after about 5 years of composting.  Rumparooz (aff link) diapers can be composted.

  • Recycled: Diapers made from recycled fabric (or in some cases recycled plastics) are a great environmentally friendly option.  Rumparooz recently introduced the Eco-posh line that contains components made from recycled water bottles.

  • Reused/Used: No matter the fabric type, any diaper fabric that lasts well enough to be used by multiple children and sold for further use is an environmentally friendly fabric!

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