Standard disposable diapers may never fully decompose. There are some disposable diapers out there now that are biodegradable, but even they may take over a hundred years to decompose if they are not disposed of in the right setting. Decomposables need air and sunlight to break down (think compost piles), so if you opt to use diapers made from cornstarch rather than plastic, make sure that they don’t end up in the trash bin to be relocated to the nearest landfill.
The question of whether or not disposable diapers are worse for the envonment than cloth diapers is constantly debated, as more energy is consumed in cleaning cloth diapers than in manufacturing disposable diapers.
There is some controversy regarding this. Plastics companies say that a diaper only takes 10-20 years (only??). Researchers however, say that the average diaper takes approximately 450 years to desompose. Though it is hard to know which is true, the fact is that diapers take up a lot of room in landfills, room that can be saved by using cloth diapers. Think of it this way: the average baby goes through 5,000 diapers before being potty-trained. These can add up very fast.
It is estimated that these diapers take anywhere from 250-500 years to decompose. No one knows exactly how long it takes. These estimates also assume that they are exposed to sufficient amounts of oxygen to decompose properly.
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