Hybrid diapers may be an option for parents who want the convenience of disposables with some of the re-usability of cloth diapers. Hybrid diapers aren't without their issues, though. Hybrid diapers may offer a greener solution for some, but they may not be the perfect solution every eco-friendly family needs.
What Are Hybrid Diapers?Hybrid diapers combine the convenience of disposable diapers with some of the re-usable nature of cloth diapers. Generally, hybrid diapers consist of an outer re-usable cover, very similar to those used in cloth diapering, and an inner disposable liner. The inner liners in hybrid diapers can be thrown away, or sometimes they can be flushed in a toilet or composted for use in the garden.
Are Hybrid Diapers Easy To Use?Hybrid diapers can be easy to use, but you much first learn how to properly place the liners and how to get a good fit on your baby. Once you're past the initial learning phase, putting in the liners and putting on the re-usable diaper covers isn't difficult. If you flush the liners when they're dirty, you must usually tear them open to allow them to flush, or use some type of stick to break up the flushable part to prevent clogs. Many parents report clogged toilets if they don't dispose of the liners per instructions. Carrying liners and diapers with you for baby isn't any harder than with regular disposables.
What Do Hybrid Diapers Cost?With hybrid diapers, you'll need to buy the diaper covers in a few different sizes, plus you'll have to keep a stock of the liners for reloading. Three covers in each of three sizes might cost about $150. Babies use 7,000 diapers or more in their first 2.5 years, and liners for that time-frame will cost around $2,500, making hybrid diapers the most expensive option available.
Do Hybrid Diapers Work?When used properly and changed often, hybrid diapers do work well. Many parents say they're as good as traditional disposable diapers. The liners generally contain an absorbent gel, just like what's in disposable diapers, so wet diapers rarely leak. Messy diapers can pose more of a problem, but proper fit helps. The flushable liners seem to be a toss-up for some families. There are reports of clogged toilets due to the liners, so pay close attention to the disposal instructions unless you want to carry a plunger in your diaper bag.
Hybrid Diaper Pros
Hybrid diapers cut way down on the amount of plastic you're sending to a landfill, since the outer waterproof layer is re-usable. Some parents prefer the ability to flush messy diaper liners
rather than leaving a stinky diaper in a trash can. Hybrid diapers often have unbleached wood pulp liners, so they reduce baby's exposure to some chemicals and introduce fewer chemicals to the environment, too. The flushable liners are more convenient than hauling wet or dirty cloth diapers around with you when you're away from home.
Hybrid Diaper ConsDiaper liners create environmental impacts from manufacturing. If you throw away the liners, you're still adding to the landfill, though without the plastics this creates less waste. If you flush the liners, you're using more water. Some parents worry over composting the wet liners because of the absorbent gel. Though polyacrylate is considered to be safe, not everyone likes the idea of the gel lingering in the garden along with the veggies. The liners require more handling to flush properly, including tearing them and possibly having a special stick with which to break up the liners in the toilet.
What Is The Environmental Impact Of Hybrid Diapers?The idea of flushing the diaper liners instead of adding them to a landfill is great. Flushing uses more water, though, unless you wait until someone else has used the restroom before flushing the liner. The unbleached wood pulp that is generally used in hybrid diaper liners lessens the amount of bleach and dioxins going into the environment. The diaper covers will need to be washed sometimes, though less often than with cloth diapers, so you'll use energy and water there. If you flush the dirty diaper liners instead of throwing them away, you'll keep more human waste out of landfills, too.
Popular Hybrid Diaper Brands
There's only one brand of hybrid diaper that is commonly available - gDiapers. You can find gDiapers at Whole Foods stores and other places that are geared toward more natural products. gDiapers can also be ordered online easily. They have a range of cute diaper covers in three sizes. The liners come in two sizes, so you're less likely to end up with too-small liners that you can't use.