5 uncomfortable facts about (most) disposable diapers

We love disposable diapers. We make disposable diapers. However, the whole reason we’re on a mission to diaper differently = these uncomfortable facts. 

Well, the first fact is kinda cool. But hold onto your butts, and read on!

#1: Disposable diapers were invented by a fed-up mom in the 1940’s.

Ever tried cloth diapers? Yea. Oof. We have so much respect for cloth diaperers. Cloth diapering used to be the norm until inventor and mom Marion Donovan decided she’d had enough. Donovan created the first-ever disposable diaper. Though she was mocked initially, they became a huge success once they hit shelves.

Donovan received a patent for her invention in 1951. She isn’t a household name (yet), but parents everywhere can thank her for their easy diaper lifestyle. KUDOS to Marion.

#2: Disposable diapers are the third largest contributor to landfills in the US.

Here comes the dark side of disposables. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, diapers contribute over 3 million tons of solid waste into landfills every year. This makes them the third largest contributor to landfills in the U.S.! Why? Most are made of plastic.

Before you switch to cloth, know that new brands like Kudos (that’s us!) are on a mission to replace as much plastic as possible with plant-based materials. In fact, if all disposable diapers were made the Kudos way, 500 million pounds of plastic would be replaced with pure, sustainably-sourced 100% cotton from U.S. farms.

#3: No diaper is fully compostable…yet.

Although brands like Kudos are on their way to completely eliminating plastic, today’s diaper tech hasn’t caught up yet. Small, but necessary components (like elastics for legs) take several lifetimes to degrade. We at Kudos (and every other diaper company) still can’t do without ‘em.

So, if a diaper claims to be “compostable”...it’s not quite. If you were planning on throwing those diapers in your town’s compost, do some research. Whether or not they’ll actually get composted depends on your municipality.

The bottom line for bottoms? We (the diaper companies) need to keep pushing plant-based materials forward before everyone can compost freely. And, we’re on it!

#4: Diaper companies don’t have to tell you what they put in their products.

Now you might be kinda curious about what’s in your diaper! Well, good luck.

Diapers are not regulated like food or clothing to list ingredients on packaging. So, if your little one has sensitive skin or an allergy, it’s a problem. Hidden chemical irritants in diapers like fragrances, latex, formaldehyde, polyethylene and polypropylene can result in reactions like diaper rash. 

Concerned? Choose a diaper that either lists its ingredients, works with a skin specialist, or has been certified toxin-free. We at Kudos (ingredients here) are advised by pediatric allergist Dr. Ann Wang Dohlman and are OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified

#5: With most disposable diapers, plastic hugs baby’s butt, all day every day.

Here’s where it gets really personal. Did you know that most babies spend 22,000+ hours in diapers before potty training? And those butts…are likely wrapped in plastic.

Disposable diaper plastic is processed to feel “soft”, but doesn’t breathe or absorb as well as natural materials, which can lead to rash. It can also contain harmful components like VOCs and phthalates that might be absorbed into skin and disrupt the endocrine and reproductive systems. 

With Kudos, only 100% pure cotton touches baby’s skin. Cotton is naturally soft, hypoallergenic, and the #1 doctor-recommended material for rash and eczema. 

About the author

Hi, we're Kudos! The first and only disposable diaper to have earned the Cotton Natural seal from Cotton Inc. for having 100% clean cotton hugging baby's bum all day.

Questions? Email us at hello@mykudos.com

Recommended articles

More from this series View all articles