The World’s First Flushable Diapers: gDiapers

gdiapers.jpggDiapers are innovative diapers invented by a husband and wife team from Australia. They are being billed as the first flushable diapers, and will soon be available in the U.S. The system consists of an outer shell (similar to a diaper wrap), an absorbent flushable insert, and a nylon snap-in liner. The whole ensemble comes with a “swishstick” for breaking up the disposable insert in the toilet.


The flushable insert is a kind of “fluff” made from sustainably harvested wood pulp. The inserts also contain the superabsorbent material “sodium polyacrylate” which is commonly used in disposable diapers. This substances has come under fire in the past because it was linked to diaper rash and Toxic Shock Syndrome in tampons. The gDiapers FAQ page argues that the sodium polyacrylate was wrongly identified as the culprit in these cases, and is safe to use.

A starter kit (2 pants, 10 flushables) is priced at $24.99. Apparently gDiapers will be sold in Whole Foods stores on the West Coast, and online ordering is coming soon.

Home Page: gDiapers

Via: Greener Side and Blogging Baby

Comments

  1. says

    another reader very concerned about the water supply. should we pe putting all of this sodium polyacrylate into it?

    why not just use EC, cloth or Nature Boy & Girl and compost? what we need is a larger movement towards already available solutions, not more alleged ‘solutions’.

    tabitha

  2. sammy says

    i still think cloth is the way to go. ok, there’s the chlorine bleach and water to wash, but i think paper product creation etc is worse. granted, i live on one of the great lakes, so water isnt an issue.

    i had two babies in cloth. why is cloth–home washed–considered a luxury in this country? o yes, time.

  3. says

    Hi Tabitha, Sammy & Lisa

    My name is Jason and I am one of the founders of gDiapers. My wife and I were cloth users and just stumbled across the product back home in Australia. It has been available in Australia since 1991 so it has certainly been a viable solution down under. We liked it so much we acquired the rights to the rest of the world and moved to the US to launch it here.

    The sodium polyacrylate (SAP) is a polymer nearly identical to that used by water boards to treat their waste. According to the EPA, 80% of what we flush is treated, turned into Biosolids which is used as a soil reconditioner on farms. So the process is truly cradle to cradle instead of cradle to grave. Also, the SAP is a tiny fraction of the entire diaper. Waste water and the water supply are two very separate things thank goodness! With Nature Boy and Girl, you can only compost the wet ones ( like ours). If you dispose of NB & G in your trash it will end up in landfill where nothing decomposes, even if it is made of corn starch.

    Sammy to your point, there are many variables. If your source of power is from a renewable source ( and you can certainly get that these days) if your washer is energy efficient, if you can line dry and use eco friendly detergents cloth will win the day. We have many customers in Australia who in fact use cloth in our pants and use the flushable at night for extra absorbency. One could argue that trees are a more renewable resource than cotton as the former can be grown sustainably while the latter is an incredibly thirsty crop. And that goes for organic and standard cotton. And you are spot on about time and convenience.

    Lisa, as per the above there are a lot of variables. But what is absolutely undeniable is that 20 billion disposables are put in landfill every year where they stay for up to 500 years. And they are the third largest single consumer product in there. That is a lot of waste. According to the EPA 70% of landfills leak so as a way of managing waste it is not particualrly sustainable. Far more than the issues around washing cloth. It is also important to note that there is one cup of oil in every diaper – that is a large amount of something that is entirely unrenewable and used for just 3-4 hours before being thrown away. By just 5% of the population.

    The diaper debate is a very complex one. We see gDiapers as a hybrid – the Toyota Prius of diapers! It won’t appeal to everyone but we think that those who get into it will love it.

  4. says

    thanks, Jason Graham-Nye, for your prompt and smart reply. i fear mine will be somewhat less cohesive, it’s too early here for that sort of thing!

    i appreciate your point of view. perhaps there is a need for such a hybrid.

    to believe that throw away diapers create less waste, as Lisa posted, is to be misinformed. studies that gave these results were funded by throw away diaper manufacturers.

    organic cotton and hemp, with natural wool covers, washed in eco-cleaners with efficient washing methods and line drying- this is not uncommon, especially in europe. any single one of these eco-and-baby friendly variables put to use makes cloth diapering shine even brighter.

    beyond the environment, how comfortable could it be to wear these inserts against your genitals? have you worn one around for, say, 8 hours (as per your nighttime absorbency example)? don’t forget to pee in it early on.

    i don’t mean to sound crude, but the sensual comfort of our children is important. to that end, the SPA in all throw aways is such a crock. why does anyone need ‘super absorbency’ when they really ought to be changing the diaper? seriously, folks, if you were wetting yourself about every 30 minutes, how often would you want to be changed?

    which leads me to one of the most efficient methods: elimination communication.

    http://www.natural-wisdom.com/

    if you can’t find peace of mind with throw away or cloth, EC is for you.

    having browsed around your website, i must say it kicks a lot of ass. many questions answered: i also must commend the composting info, unbleaching, midwife support, etc. know that it is not my intent to badmouth your product. i personally think the covers are cute, though plastic. i hope many unwilling to use natural fibers on their children do catch onto your hybrid. it is an option i will share with any i encounter who might consider it.

    best of luck!

    tabitha o’melay

  5. says

    Hi Tabitha

    Many thanks for your reply. A few things I wanted to add. We support EC wholeheartedly. We heard about it when we arrived here in the US and attended a few of their meetings. The fewer diapers used the better – no question.

    In terms of how it feels against your skin, my Dad used our adult incontinent product for 3 years after ditching his Depends and he loved not being in plastic. My wife wore them after our first son was born and she too said it felt soft and comfortable next to her skin. The material is an all natural fiber.

    Thankfully the little g pants don’t contain any plastic so it is breathable as well as being cute.

    Thanks for checking out the site. We believe that our customers want the ability to do as much research as possible and we want to keep building on that. We are relaunching the site next week and would love your input if you have the time.

    Cheers

    Jason

  6. Tiffany Staats says

    I just have to post here. I am a tortured soul who recently began asking myself many deep questions about what kind of environmental impact I make and how will it all affect my children and so on. After reading a LOT around the internet on peoples perspectives and experiences with both cloth and gdiapers I have to say that obviously either method is a great leap above disposables. After evaluating my own feelings on this great debate–my greatest conclusion is that I may choose both cloth and gdiapers because both methods are outstanding alternatives regardless of how much one breaks down the advantages or disadvantages of both. Gdiapers are a huge appeal because of the convenience and the fact that I can actually flush waste directly away and compost the nitrogen rich urine inserts. Also with Gdiapers, no need for the extras such as detergent (no matter how environmentally safe) and the electricity involved in washing cloth.Yes,the point was made that if I go out and buy an energy efficient washer(which I hope to do–when money becomes such a luxury for me) and line dry the cloth it is actually more energy efficient than flushing. If we want to encourage every parent to take a more responsible approach to diapering than the disposables, than we HAVE to realize that most people cannot afford to completely renovate their washrooms when they discover they are pregnant and need to diaper responsibly. And let’s not forget how unbelievably lazy or short on time some people are and just can’t be bothered to do the whole cloth diapering thing. No one thing will work for everyone, so let’s just be grateful that we now have wonderful alternatives to disposables and that both have a much more positive impact on the environment and our health.

  7. Sheila says

    My husband and I have made the decision do use a combo of gDiapers and cloth.
    I am currently 22 weeks pregnant and stocking up on my gDiapers every few weeks- just so I’m ready!
    Excellent to have
    this choice of using 2 alternatives to those plastic, chemical filled disposable diapers!
    Thanks, gDiapers!

  8. Amanda says

    I recently had a friend visit me with gDiapers and she showed me the procedure for flushing them down the toilet. She ripped one side straight down, ripped the other side straight down, then ripped the top across to let _everything_ fall in the bowl. Then the stir with the “magic swish stick” and a flush while holding what was left of the diaper in your hand. I thought, “Wow, what a neat diaper”. However, I thought about all that work involved. If the gDiaper went down after all that why not another diaper?

    My son had wet his Huggies and I decided to give it a try myself. Ripped one side from the leg-cuff straight down, then the other one. It ripped right through the waistband at the bottom. Then I ripped the top across and just like the gDiaper, the fluff fell out into the bowl. So far, so good. I took my friend’s swish-stick and stirred it just the same. I flushed the toilet, and let go of it at the same time she had, and sure enough everything went down exactly the same as the gDiaper did. I’m not certain whether this has any effect greater or worse than the gDiaper did, but neither diaper clogged my plumbing.

    I think the gDiaper “gimmick” is mostly in the complicated disposal procedure (which is very satisfying with either diaper) and not really the “flushable insert” which seeems to just be a regular disposable. The “Swish Stick” could probably be substituted with just about any stick, but I think the one they included with gDiapers was well thought out. And the covers are cute but just seem to make up for the lack of water-retention in the diaper.

    -Amanda

  9. Alana says

    Gdiapers inserts and covers are still derived from plastic, and use petroleum based products.
    These diapers contain the same chemical that occurs in regular disposable diapers, known as SAP (sodium polyacrylate polymer) AKA “superabsorbent” liners.
    Our County Wastewater Treatment Division, which operates major sewage
    treatment plants serving the Seattle area, asks that no one flush this material down the toilet.
    My husband is a wastewater engineer and the pulp from gdiapers does not “Disappear”, and in fact causes issues in household plumbing as well as at the plant. The biosolids (which is what the SAP is considered) that are removed from wastewater treatment plants are typically sent to landfills, just like disposable diapers.
    Out of sight, out of mind?
    Cloth is still the best option, just not for people who want “easy”.

    More about:

    SODIUM POLYACRYLATE POLYMER – This is the chemical, added in powder form to the inner pad of a disposable, that makes it super-absorbent. When the powdered form becomes wet, it turns into a gel. *THESE ARE THE ‘SHINY GEL-LIKE CRYSTALS’ that some parents have found on their children when changing them

    Properties:

    * It can absorb up to 100X its weight in water
    * It can stick to baby’s genitals, causing allergic reactions
    * Reported to cause severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies
    * When injected into rats it has caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death
    * Banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome
    * Has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of it .
    * Causes female organ problems, slows healing wounds, fatigue and weight loss to the employees in factories that manufacture it

  10. davea0511 says

    Alana –

    Nice fear-mongering. Here’s some more: I imagine if you inject ground-up cloth diapers into your bloodstream, or eat cloth diapers, or just shove it into unmentionable locations for long periods, you’ll experience similar toxic effects. You’re not supposed to be doing that with these diapers … or any diapers for that matter.

    FYI .. 5 grams is a lot (not “little”, to use your terminology) so when it absorbs 100X it’s weight of your internal fluids it would kill anyone, not just babies – like fatal bowel blockage from eating a cloth diaper. Same mechanism.

    Using cloth is best, but not because of SAP. The problem is plastic. Hate me for doing it if you must but after 5 kids and more Pampers that I care to remember none of them had allergic reactions to SAP. It’s extremely inert … does not break down or react with any molecules in your body. It just soaks up water. Lots of it. Admittedly diapers are bad for the environment … but it isn’t the SAP but the plastics that are toxic.

    • M French says

      Its the gel in disposable diapers that causes rashes and reaction to children not plastic. They aren’t eating the plastic.

  11. M French says

    Why not use a washable insert? I bought the g diapers because my son can’t take them off himself. Little guy hates wearing clothing of any sort. Until he is potty trained this isn’t an option. I came across these g diapers and thought holy cow thats smart. BUT whats the point in using them (claiming cloth user) when your not using a reusable insert? Is it that hard for people to rewash inserts? We have damaged mother earth, the water and air. Any way I have been a cloth user for 6 children and I would never use disposable anything. Money is to tight times are tough.

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