Composting Diaper services - The Truth!

Is their such a thing as a compostable diaper service?  Some companies want you to believe that their is.  They Want You To Believe That Their Is An Amazing Perfect Disposable Diaper That Can Turn Poop Into Soil without any waste.

Unfortunately, we believe that in most cases, this is not the truth.

When you think of compostable diaper brands, most people have brands like Honest and gDiapers come to mind.  Companies like Honest diapers even advertise online as being a Compostable Diaper:

Photo of a yahoo search

This is a screen shot from  Yahoo 3/1/16, showing a Compostable diapers search.  As you can see Honest diapers was running a paid Advertisement with the header “Compostable Diaper | honest.com”.  The problem is that they are not compostable. We contacted Honest to ask if their diaper was compostable.  This is what they told us:

Photo of a live chat session with Honest

Confessed? We were too!

So they are not compostable .  How can a diaper company advertise that they sell a compostable diaper when the diaper is not compostable.   The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) agrees.    For example, in 2014, it found that gDiapers:

One of the main problems is that diapers have human feces in them, and according to Honest company’s CEO, and the FTC, the one thing you can not compost at home is Human feces.  So, you now have a product that is “mostly” biodegradable under the right conditions, but cannot be composted!  And, composting was the main reason most people purchased the diaper in the first place.

So lets try and break This down !

Why are so many companys offering Compostable diaper services?

Compostable diaper services is the latest thing for cloth diaper delivery services to offer.  Why?  In our opinion, and in that of the Real Diaper Association (RDA), it’s simple; along with many other companies, diaper services are finding it hard to survive in this economy and are closing their doors all over the country.  

After speaking to many diaper services, the feeling we got was that offering compostable diapers was/is an easy way to boost revenue and stay open.  All of these diaper services advertise that they use commercial composting facilities, or just don’t tell you where the diapers go; they just imply that the diapers are turned into soil.  But, try to find out any information about their composting process, or results (testing of the soil), and they will not answer.  All of the companies that we have reached out to, talk on their website about compostable diapers and how they are better, but when we ask specifics about the results, they will not give an answer.  Or, when we point out that the diaper manufacturer says the diaper is not compostable, the conversation normally ends very quickly.  

Diaper services make claims that they can compost diapers in times ranging from 3 months to 12 months,  up to a couple of years.  Unfortunately, as we said above, there is usually little to no evidence that we can find to support their claims, and they are unwilling to provide any.  The FTC defines the word compostable as “all materials in product/packaging will break down into, or otherwise become a part of, usable compost in a timely manner”.  The FTC goes on to define “a timely manner” as one year”.

One Minnesota company was making these same claims on their website for several years.  We asked them to take down there false claim multiple times.  They said no.  We contacted the Better Business Bureau who advised them that they were not telling the truth on there website so now they have added a disclaimer:

Photo showing what can and cannot break down on a diaper

Where do companies say they compost diapers in in MN? They Don't!

As we said above, all cloth diaper delivery services that offer a compostable diaper service say they use a commercial compost facility.  Currently we have found that in MN,

NO COMMERCIAL COMPOSTING FACILITY'S WILL ADMIT TO COMPOSTING DIAPERS!

We have called every composting facility that we could find in MN and have discovered that only two are licensed to accept diapers.  This was verified by the MPCA.   These facilities are Creekside and SMSC.  

Creekside publicly state:

Creekside... Does Not Accept, Receive Or Process Compostable Diapers.”
Manager of Creekside

SMSC, is a site that we have been told was composting diapers for a company in MN.  The problem is that when you call the manager of the facility he states:

After speaking to the Director of the SMSC we were told that the company in question was never given position to dump diapers at there site and they are not sure if any diapers ever came into the site.  He ended with the following email: 

Photo of email from SMSC

This is a photo copy of an email we Received from The Director of SMSC.

the MN company that wants us to tell you that they are composting diapers at this Specific site has a huge problem.  the compost site states they are not composting diapers at this site.

So which one is right?  The company that once us to tell you that thy are composting diapers at the compost site or the compost site!  And why the discrepancy.

What about the Commercial compost test sites I have heard about?

Here in MN, there has been several test/pilot programs, including a $250,000 1989 Procter and Gamble disposable diaper composting test.  Unfortunately, the most recent compostable diaper test site (2011-2013) resulted in no results being found.   When we approached the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), we were told “We (MPCA) do not have the composting diaper test/result” from the most recent test.  We also reached out to the company that ran the test site they told us “We had gathered minimal information during the project and not enough to consider it conclusive”.  We reached out to the diaper service who was providing the diapers for the test and they refused to answer.

Now we have been told that their was a test going on in MN.  This company states this test has been going on for two years and the results are in.  Here is a screen shot of there site.

Photo of compost test results

The company that claims the test were done in the above screen shot claim  that a test started on July 25th 2015 and are still going on.  AND the facility were they clim the tests were done says…. “we are not composting diapers and have never knowingly composted diapers”.

Now if you check the above site before July 2015, they also claimed back them that they also had tests and results.  However the company that they claimed did the test state.

Now for those of you paying particular attention you will notice that there is a huge discrepancy in the time line.  This company claimed the first test ended in 2013 but the second test did not start until 2015 so where did this company place diapers between 2013 and 2015?

If you do a google search for composting diaper services you will also come across what is widely stated as the leader in the field of compostable project’s;  The Toronto’s Green Bin Organic Program.  According to their website, they currently service 460,000 thousand families.  The problem is that many companies and agencies claim that the Toronto Green Program “is a sham”.  There are also many reports online that claim investigators found that “some of the material residents are told to place in green bins – plastic bags and diapers – has wound up in the belly of a Michigan incinerator”

The star.com News Investigations 07/04/2009/

As you can see from the photos below, Toronto’s Green Bin Program is not the only company we have found that claims they are composting diapers, when, in fact, they are throwing the diapers into a trash container.”

Photos of how some diaper service dispose of there disposable diapers

We are not claiming that all compostable diaper services are doing this or are making false claims.  All we are suggesting is, that if you are considering using a compostable service, you should speak to the company providing the service and ask for proof the diapers are composted.  

.The MN company that claim to be composting diapers claim that they are not taking the diapers to The composting site.  they claim to be using a Third part company called Sanimax.  The problem is that once again This company states that this is not true.

Photo of sanimax website

This is a screen shot of the Sanimax website, as you can see diapers are not on the list. We also received an email from Sanimax stating that they are not collecting diapers from this company.

But I Know that I have seen Companies advertise Compostable diapers!

As we showed you at the begining of this article.  Just because they use paid advertising to say they do something does not mean they do.

Which brand of “compostable” diapers do most diaper services use?  The most commonly used brand we could find and the one that is used by the MN company is Naty Eco-diaper by Nature BabyCare out of Sweden.

Many of the diaper services we checked with clearly use the wording “compostable” to describe these diapers.  We feel that this only further confuses customers.  If you check Naty’s own website or their diaper packaging, you will see that they make a lot of claims which are backed up by scientific evidence, but, one claim they do not make is that their diapers are 100% compostable or 100% biodegradable.
  That is because they are neither 100% compostable or 100% biodegradable.  From Naty’s website:

Photo of Napy's website

That’s right, the compostable diaper that most diaper services use for their compostable diaper service the manufacture says they are NOT 100% compostable OR 100% biodegradable.

We asked Naty’s Would you recommend advertising Natys diapers as compostable? They replied.

Photo of an email from Natys

So the manufacturer of the diaper that is most used by diaper service says that they would not recommend that you advertise them as compostable.

Biodegradable and compostable diapers have there place in the market, and we are sure that in the future compostable/biodegradable diapers will become a bigger focus as governments, communities and family’s try to make more environmentally friendly choices.  Trust that we will be right there; looking at all of the options and research so we can bring you the most up to date diaper service available.  

Points to remember:

•Currently, the diaper that most companies use for their compostable diaper service is described by it’s manufacturer as “NOT 100% biodegradable.”

•There are currently NO commercial facilities that are composting diapers in MN that we can find.

•The most resent compostable diaper pilot in MN could not make conclusions as NO TEST RESULTS were found.