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Can Biodegradable Diapers Be Put in the Compost?

Biodegradable diapers are made from environmentally-friendly products that allow them to be more easily broken down than their traditional counterparts, the disposable diaper. But how biodegradable are they? 

Can biodegradable diapers be put in the compost? Yes, biodegradable diapers can be put in the compost. They were designed for this purpose, so you don’t need to worry about placing them in your compost pile.

In this article, we’re going to dive into the world of biodegradable diapers to better understand their benefits and see exactly how they should be disposed of given their biodegradable nature. 

What Are Biodegradable Diapers, and What Are They Made From?

A biodegradable diaper is one made with natural resources to protect your baby and the environment better. 

They are made from things like maize, bamboo and non-toxic polymers, which are better for your baby’s health but also for the environment, given the way that they are designed to break down more easily than disposable diapers. 

Biodegradable diapers do not contain chlorine, artificial perfumes, or dye that disposable diapers typically would. They are also commonly created in a more eco-friendly manner, meaning fewer carbon emissions to damage the environment.

Can Biodegradable Diapers Be Put in the Compost?

The short answer is yes. In fact, this is how biodegradable diapers are designed to be disposed of. 

The details of how exactly they are meant to be composted are a little more complicated as it doesn’t necessarily align with your standard composting processes.

The important thing to note is that biodegradable diapers cannot be disposed of in a landfill. 

If you throw them out like standard disposable diapers, they will not biodegrade and therefore continue to add to the landfill problem. Biodegradable diapers will only biodegrade if composted in a specific way. 

It’s also worth noting the extent to which your diaper brand is biodegradable. 

Biodegradable diapers are not completely biodegradable, with most brands sitting between 60% and 80% of biodegradable material.

How to Dispose of Biodegradable Diapers in Your Home Compost

So then, how exactly do you compost a biodegradable diaper? 

The most common way to compost biodegradable diapers is to use an at-home system. 

If you’re an avid composter, that’s great! 

You can likely start adding diapers to your existing compost. If not, and you’re committed to using biodegradable diapers that actually biodegrade, it’s time to set one up.

Once you have a functional compost, there are a few things you need to know before you begin composting dirty diapers. 

Firstly, only pee-filled diapers can be composted. Home compost systems do not reach high enough temperatures to destroy pathogens, something that would need to happen in order to process poo-filled diapers. 

If you try to process poo-filled diapers, your compost will be unusable. You won’t even be able to spread it on any garden as it will not be suitable for plants.

Secondly, biodegradable diapers need a combination of brown and green materials to break down effectively. 

Brown material refers to dried leaves or plant material, while green is things like vegetable waste or freshly cut grass.

Finally, you will need to flip the compost material to oxygenate it regularly. This is best done every 2-3 weeks.

Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on November 9, 2019.

If you follow this process, you should have compost material that is suitable to use on a range of plants, although it’s best not to use it on your vegetable garden (even with only pee-filled diapers).

How long does it take for a biodegradable diaper to break down in the compost?

This is a tough question, as it all depends on the individual at-home composting system. 

On average, it is estimated that a biodegradable diaper will take twelve months to decompose if you are using an open-air pile or compost tumbler. 

If you are using a hot composting bin, the process is likely to be quicker and is unlikely to take the whole year.

Worm bins are not suitable for the composting of biodegradable diapers. They will not be able to keep up with the volume of diapers and are simply ineffective. 

Other Things You Need to Know About Biodegradable Diapers

Biodegradable diapers can sometimes be disposed of through an industrial composting facility.

Some communities have industrial compost plants that collect natural waste and compost it on a big scale. 

Some of these facilities will compost biodegradable diapers (both poo and pee-filled), although many will not. 

If you have a local compost facility, check their guidelines before throwing any diapers in your compost bin.

Beware the term “eco-friendly.”

Just because a diaper brand uses the term eco-friendly, doesn’t mean they are biodegradable or have a high percentage of biodegradability. 

Biodegradable diapers are often referred to as eco-friendly diapers, but the term eco-friendly can be used to represent one single aspect of a product or a process that created that product. 

Read the fine print to see whether the diaper is biodegradable and to what percentage.

Biodegradable diapers come with a higher price tag.

While biodegradable diapers may be the environmentally-conscious choice, a drawback is their higher cost. They certainly cost more than disposable and cloth diapers.

Benefits of Biodegradable Diapers

Biodegradable diapers are better for your child.

Unlike disposable diapers, biodegradable ones are made with natural products that won’t harm your baby. 

Traditionally, disposable diapers have been made from a range of substances (petroleum, polyethylene, and polypropylene) that can be harmful to people and animals.

Biodegradable diapers don’t contain chlorine, which is better for your baby’s skin, and they tend to be more breathable, especially in comparison to disposable diapers with non-leakage or non-wet technologies.

Biodegradable diapers are better for the environment.

Biodegradable diapers are made using a range of natural, eco-friendly products, unlike disposable diapers that are made from a variety of substances and materials that are damaging to the environment. 

Things like polyethylene, artificial gelling materials, polypropylene, and different perfumes either come from non-renewable sources or are generally bad for the environment. 

Instead, biodegradable diapers shy away from these traditional substances, using things like bamboo and maize to create a functional, leak-proof diaper.

The process of making biodegradable diapers is better for the environment.

Even making disposable diapers is bad for the environment with the process of releasing dioxin, a toxin that has previously been thought to cause cancer and threaten fetus health. 

Biodegradable diapers are usually better for the environment in the way that they are made. Companies developing this product are more environmentally-conscious and implement ways to do less damage through production.

Biodegradable diapers can still be disposed of.

Unlike cloth nappies, another environmentally-conscious diaper choice, biodegradable diapers can still be disposed of. 

This means that you won’t be using the water and energy required to wash cloth nappies adequately in order or for them to be reusable. 

Less washing also means you will save time, freeing up more hours to spend with your baby!


Biodegradable diapers are still a relatively new development, and there aren’t many concrete facts about their overall use and the extent to which they are better for the environment. 

While time will tell exactly how environmentally-friendly these products are, it will also bring progress and new technology to improve biodegradable diapers, the materials that are used to make them, and the process that allows it to happen.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on November 9, 2019.

What we know in the current time is that biodegradable diapers are better for the environment and your baby than disposable ones, and undeniably more convenient than cloth ones. 

If you’re looking to make an eco-friendly choice without sacrificing hours in your laundry, biodegradable diapers are likely to be for you. 

The main issue is that biodegradable diapers require composting, rather than disposal with normal landfill, and most communities do not yet have the services to accommodate this. 

If industrial composition becomes a wide-spread thing, the convenience and environmental benefits of biodegradable diapers are likely to soar.

For the time being, as we wait for infrastructure to catch up, biodegradable diapers are still a better choice than the available alternatives. 

ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on November 9, 2019.

Just make sure you have a functional compost and follow the guidelines on how to decompose a biodegradable diaper to optimize their use.