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The challenge with many baby products is the short period of time for which they are used. Disposal then becomes a major problem. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped in landfills each year, accounting for more than 3.5 million tons of waste.[1] It is estimated that the time it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose is 250-500 years[2]. No matter how green a disposable diaper is, it will not be breaking down any time soon in the landfill, and at least not in a way that meets the FTC Green Guide stipulations of one year.  There are going to be a lot of dirty diapers laying around for a long, long time.

Another pending environmental plastic disaster is baby food pouches. These convenience products are growing at an explosive rate, from $8 million in 2010 to $45 million in 2015.[3] The pouches can’t be recycled because they are made from multiple layers of materials. It isn’t possible to separate out the recyclable components of these pouches either. Hence, they are destined for landfills – or worse, the ocean.

Baby wipes present one more catastrophic environmental challenge. One source has them accounting for a whopping £500 million a year in sales (roughly $778 million) in the United Kingdom alone.[4] There are several big problems behind the widespread obsession with wet wipes. Most contain plastic fibers that are not biodegradable. These tiny fibers make their way into the ocean, get ingested by sea creatures, even wash up on beaches. The antibacterial chemicals in the wipes are linked to endocrine disruption and the creation of superbugs.[5]

[1] Environmental Impact of Disposable Diapers by Amber Keefer, June 13, 2017
[2] How Long Does It Take Garbage to Decompose? by Rick LeBlanc, Feb. 28, 2017
[3] Why You Should Stop Feeding Your Baby From Trendy Little Food Pouches by Eleanor Goldberg May 30, 2017
[4] Why You Should Avoid Buying Wet Wipes by Katherine Martinko June 16, 2015
[5] Don’t Wipe Out: The Hidden Hazards of Antibacterial Wipes Sept. 21, 2011

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