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They’re becoming more common – “eco-disposable nappies”. Biodegradable, chlorine free, fragrance free, chemical free, cloth-like … the list goes on and the packaging is convincing.

But I’ve always wondered – are these claims true or is it greenwashing? Can these nappies truly be compostable?

To find out for yourself, look up company websites or nappy packaging – what % of their nappies is compostable? Figures range from 10% upwards.

This means, only a part of the nappies is compostable. They still contain plastic, as a minimum, in: the elastic in the leg cuffs, the tabs that fasten the nappy, and the backing of the tabs (that you rip off to fasten the nappy).

So, no nappy is 100% compostable.

Because of this, even compostable nappies belong in the waste-to-landfill (red lidded) bin.

“All nappies, even those that claim to be biodegradable or compostable need to go in the waste-to-landfill bin. At present, there is no known brand of compostable nappies that can completely break down in a commercial composting system. This is due to the plastic elements such as liners, tabs, and elastic that remain as residue after being processed. The plastic components equate to more than 10% which is above the acceptable contamination.”

With babies needing on average 5000 nappy changes from birth to toilet training, that’s 5000 disposable nappies in landfill. Or, just 24 modern cloth nappies. More info on that topic here.