The city of Toronto allows diapers in the green bin. So does York region and Vaughan.
Great news, right?! Not exactly. The fact that these cities and regions accept diapers in green bins does not mean that disposable diapers are now magically biodegradable, sadly, they are not.
In fact, the large amounts of plastic, pulp, and chemicals that make up each disposable diaper do not compost. They remain in our landfills, leaching toxins and waste into the soil, well, pretty much forever (300-500 years is the estimate).
Toronto, Vaughan, York and other regions accept diapers in green bins out of convenience to parents because green bins are emptied weekly whereas garbage and regular recycling is picked up every other week. Great news for our noses, but no change in the impact disposables have on our soil, water, and environment. Diaper liners made of biodegradable material may be separated out but the diaper itself is then sent to landfills. The trip to the green bin depot is simply an extra trip. Basically a waste of truck space, gas and human resources within the GTA.
We think cities need to make it clear to well-meaning parents who place disposable diapers in green bins that diapers, despite being collected in the green bins, do NOT end up being composted. They are simply transferred to landfills. So what do you do when you want to make a true impact on reducing the environmental footprint of diapering?
There are three proven options:
- Use a diaper service to deliver, pickup and wash diapers so you have nothing to do except change your baby.
- Buy or make re-useable diapers and wash them at home (if you’re washing at home, this is a very helpful article on how to get a better clean at home).
- Use eco-friendly disposables (they may cost more and use some level of toxins or gels but far less so than regular disposable diapers).
Does your city allow disposables in the green bin? We’d love to know how cities help families who diaper be as ecological as they can and want to be.