Baby Diapers: Are they Recyclable, Biodegradable or Not?

Spoiler alert: They’re not.

Thousands of baby diapers are found at recycling centers across the country every single day. We know you had good intentions when you put the dirty diaper in the recycle bin. We know that you thought with all that paper and plastic used to protect your babies bum, it had to be recyclable or at least biodegradable. And we’re here to tell you it’s not, and more importantly to stop.

Believe it or not, despite the materials used to make diapers, they are not a single stream recyclable item.


What can you do? We’re here to give you some options on how you can do your part to ensure we’re keeping diapers out of recycling bins. It’s also about spreading awareness about the improper disposal of diapers, so feel free to share this blog with your friends and family to raise awareness.

Option 1: Cloth-diapers

There is no such thing as an eco-friendly single-use diaper. We simply don’t have the technology for it yet, and it is impossible to reclaim the paper used to make them. As far as alternatives to single-use, disposable diapers go, there are compostable diapers. For a slightly higher cost, these cloth diapers are safe and hygienic. The problem most parents face with this option is that they find handwashing them while also raising an infant to be too much trouble, but we think the pros outweigh the cons.

Option 2: Composting

Yes, you read that right. There are ways to compost parts of the filling in single-use diapers, but it’s going to be messy and gross. If you’re interested in this process, you’ll need a backyard compost pile with other composting material, not just diaper filling. This will help break it down. The best place to start learning how to use diaper filling as compost is with a quick google search.

Option 3: Disposing Diapers in a Regular Trash Bin, Not Recycling Bin

The options presented here are merely suggestions on how you can clean up your act when it comes to disposing of single-use diapers. When you think about it, the vast majority of diapers are being tossed in the trash because it’s simply the only option at this time. And that’s okay for now. Don’t fall into the trap of recycling diapers. Improperly disposing of contaminants cause problems for recycling facilities and can even damage the quality of actual recyclable materials.

We hope this article helps opens your eyes to the complications caused when you throw away diapers in the recycling bin, and we hope you give these alternative options a chance. Pass on the knowledge to keep our recycle centers clean.