November 27, 2005

Flushable Australian gDiapers Threaten American Landfill Industry

gdiapers.jpgMention the vast Australian outback to an American, and two things come immediately to mind: "Bloomin' Onion," and "helluva place to toss a lot of disposable diapers." Oddly enough, Australians themselves don't see it that way, because there's been honest-to-goodness flushable/compostable diaper technology available down under since 1991.

And now before the Disposable Diaper Industrial Complex can persuade the US Administration to liberate their needlessly earth-friendly, under-exploited country, treehugging Aussies are trying to infiltrate the US.

So far, there are only two, plus their kids, and their dog. But they've already set up a mighty reasonable-looking front company, gDiapers, in Portland, to further their nefarious scheme. gDiapers use flushable absorbent pad/liners in a custom diaper cover. The pads use sustainably harvested wood pulp and--[insert sigh of relief here]--superabsorbent polymers, just like the evil plastic ones.

If you're crunchy like that, you can even compost wet diapers in 50-150 days, or you can tear the little packet open and drop the pieces in the toilet and flush away.

Sound too good to be true? Before you flush, you have to swish around the contents with your very own SwishStick [included] to break them up. That's what they say Personally, I think it's because this so-called miracle flushing technology only works if the toilet swirls in the Aussie direction.

The Wiggles, Steakhouses, diapers, and now toilet water. Just one more way in which they're trying to take over Our Country.

On their website, gDiapers is promising online sales and local retail presence--at New Seasons Markets--any day now. And a distribution deal with that Wal-Mart of green, Whole Foods is supposedly in the works, too.

While you wait for details, check out the gDiaper blog [CEO Jason Graham-Nye has his sights set on you, as-yet-undiapered Baby Affleck!]

32 Comments

Greg,

You blew our cover mate...no one had heard about us until this posting. So close to global diaper domination and everything. "Crikey" as my nut job brethren, big Steve Irwin would say as he strangles another poor, unsuspecting Croc.

How on earth did you uncover us? And how did you join the dots..Wiggles, Steakhouse, gDiapers...genius. Looks like an inside job to me...

Jason
dad/CEO
gDiapers

Bring 'em on, Daddy/CEO Jason! I've got twins, and with potty training such a distant milestone, I suffer daily from landfill guilt.

I'm not sure that many people will go for this...it probably depends on price and availability. But moreso, for me, it just sounds like MORE work and as a new father that's the LAST thing I need.

- Jon
- www.daddydetective.com

I thought these were diapers for my little gangsta. Damn, G.

one more reason to go to australia

Well, as a dad of two, we have been using Eenee's for both kids. Eenee's are the people that spun out g-diapers for us in the US.

Actually, this is a very cool system to use, and not very hard at all. And the best thing about it: No diaper can...you cannot smell the diapers when you walk into the house.

Give them a whirl, and I think you will like them!

JJ - Go well with those twins...double trouble now but then once you're done you're done!

Andy - we locked in the brand and then realised 50 cent had a label called G-Star. As my 3 year old says - 'me scared now". I wonder if Key Man insurance includes drive bys?

Jon - you are dead right. They ARE more work than disposables and they are not for everyone. What we found when we started using them though was convenience was redefined. You can't get more convenient than throwing somehting in the trash. But after using this, you can reclaim your trash can. You don't have a diaper genie in your baby's room full of soiled diapers. Your house smells like a house not a diaper .So there are pros and cons. in Australia, some use this 100% of the time, others use this and a disposable at night. It is a strange product category where to date there has been virtually no choice. We are simply offering a 3rd alternative which we think is more realistic for busy parents on the go than cloth and much more environmentally sound than disposables. And they are fashionable which appears to appeal to the Mums out there. We are somewhat like the Toyota Prius of diapers. A hybrid between cloth and disposable. And like the Prius, we know we do not appeal to the mass market.

Cheers

Jason

Ack! Please don't make the "fashionable . . . to appeal to the Mums out there" line part of your marketing appeal!

Kate - sorry to offend. Certainly didn't mean to. Can you let me know what you meant by that? You can email me directly if you would like.

Cheers

Jason

Heh. May hurt the landfill industry, but I can hear the drain-clog-clearing industry cheering already.

Hey, what's wrong with fashionable? Actually, I think they look great--so much better than having cartoon characters all over them. As for being more work--flushing a diaper down a toilet doesn't seem that bad--especially compared to cloth diapers.

Matthew - All part of an integrtaed strategy. Just launched gPlumbing...!

I'm not a mother, nor am I pregnant... I'm just saving info for the future...
Having said that, I think this is absolutely fantastic... When I do have a baby in the next few years, I will definitely use this product - I *love* the look of the "little g" pants, Jason has just cleared up for me that even living in an older home with sometimes finicky plumbing - I can still use them, and since I am already used to flushing the feline pine litter my cats use, I really don't see a problem here.

A+!

Actually, I agree that the gDiapers look totally cute/fashionable and I admit that that does matter to me. I just resent the (probably unintended, and now I'm feeling a little bad) implication that what's important to the Mums are how the diaper looks/that it's the Dads who care about the impact on the environment/how the diaper functions. Blah blah blah I will definitely try these as soon as they are available!

I wonder how well they do with leaks. And how well they keep moisture at bay until you can change the liners. What about diaper rash? I love the idea, but I want the baby's heinie to be happy. Anyone heard of how it fares with sensitive skin?

And, how can one get a starter kit to see if the "Prius of the diaperworld" is what you're looking for? Might be a perfect occasional option.

April

April - We have found they manage leaks well. And we didn't invent them, we just found them and were happy customers so we feel they perform well in the leak stakes. But in a blow out, the pants do need a wash. What we have found though is that as a textile it does a great job of containing them over a disposable. I don't know about you but we always find you can peak down the back of a plastic disposable...if we can see down there then come blow out time it all seems to go right up our bubs back. So baby, clothes, car seat - it all has to get hosed down...! Sorry to gross you out in the morning.

As there is no plastic in the pants, gDiapers are breathable so diaper rash is not an issue.

We are on the shelves at New Seasons market in Portland and Whole Foods in Northern California as of today. We are also going to be available at www.gdiapers.com from tomorrow.

Let me know how you go!

Cheers

Jason

I like the Prius analogy... However, I wonder about fitting for different sized babies? We change disposable diaper size as our child grows, and I suppose it is the same with cloth diapers... With these gDiapers, do you get the same starter kit and use the same diaper cover for an 8 pound newborn and a crawling / standing 20 pound one?

If these are as good as they claim to be, sign me up. We use cloth at home, but when travelling to the Grandparents we're always challenged having to buy a pack of disposable. gDiapers sound great!

Jason, how long before gDiapers make the scene in Canada? Particularly Vancouver BC? I'd love to give them a try.

As a cloth diaper user, I'm curious.. are the covers PUL? And are there laundry tabs for the velcro? These seem like a great thing for when we are not at home with our cloth.

Maman du Petrus - yes there are 3 sizes of starter kit: ranging from 6 lbs up to 35lbs.

Daddy L - the online store just went up today. My wife is Canadian and her BC based friends did the webstore trials for us just last night so we know they get over the border! So please jump on gdiapers.com and try a starter kit. The dual language requirement is going to keep us restricted to an online only operation for Canada for the immediate term.

Hi Amy
I am not sure I know what PUL is. The covers are made from cotton/elastene. The liner is a lovely soft, waterproof, breathable nylon. There is no PVC in them ( just in case PUL = PVC?!) And not sure what laundry tabs are either - not thinking well at 11.09 pm - sorry! Yes our Aussie cloth users really like the covers as they can be used with existing cloth inserts. Then when you are out and about, you can use the flushables. Many of these customers also use the flushables at night. For heavy wetters, you can actually use two pads.

Cheers

Jason

Not sure if you'll make it back here... but PUL is polyurethane laminate. One side feels like regular cotton, or polyester blend-type fabric, the other is waterproof. It comes frome the medical industry.

And laundry tabs are little tabs that you fold the velcro back onto when you wash, so the velcro doesnt tear stuff up in the washer or dryer.

I am back Amy

Thanks for the heads up. No PUL in sight on these puppies. And we ask customer to have the veclro tabs closed when they wash them to avoid the problems you mentioned.

Cheers

Jason

People, I think the idea of flushable is great but lets get real about the landfill thing. Disposable diapers represent less than 1% of all waste in a landfill. So if you are that concerned about lanfilling then you should start by looking in your pantries etc. for all the other sensless packaging.

In addition the wood fluff pulp used in all baby diapers is elemental chlorine free. The fluff pulp suppliers use a non chlorinated bleaching process. Second regarding the above comment with clogged pipes. It would be best to make sure that the diaper core you are flushing has been totally saturated, if absorbency is still left in the superabsorber (unused portion of diaper) you could potentially run into problems. Keep in mind that most superabsorbent polymers only absorb 50-100 grams of urine per gram (due to the salts), however that absorbency rises to 200-300 grams of water per gram of polymer. So you can quickly imagine that the size of a swollen urine insert is much less than the size of a swollen water insert. If you are usure then flush a new one and call the plumber.

I'd like to follow-up on Amy's inquiry re the polyurethane laminate to which Jason replied that there was none.
I was just browsing over the contents of my gdiaper starter package and noticed that the liners and the inner material of the gpants are polyurethane coated. Ummm...isn't this the same as polyurethane laminated???

People, I think the idea of flushable is great but lets get real about the landfill thing. Disposable diapers represent less than 1% of all waste in a landfill. So if you are that concerned about landfilling then you should start by looking in your pantries etc. for all the other sensless packaging.


I am really concerned where people are getting their numbers. I have seen the huge bag of waste each week that one baby can make in diapers. That with the increase in mutiple births (thanks to invitro) the amount I know is becoming a global concern. Regardless of the fact that it is only 1%, we are unable to go to landfills and recycle used diapers. A large portion of our landfills are paper, plastic, and aluminum waste that can be recycled. We live in a throw-a-way today society and people do not think of tomorrow. I believe we need to step back to move forward. By choosing cloth or a gdiaper and dealing with your childrens waste, we as human beings are moving closer to becoming advanced caretakers of our planet. Let us all do our part, and the ones who whine about not begin able to just throw-away, might want to take a walk to a local landfill.
Holly Kauai Hawaii.

[a totally decontextualized, unreferenced statistic may be fine for winning bar bets, but it doesn't help make actual decisions. Diapers are one of the top categories of household waste, one of the top non-biodegradable materials, and a major incremental waste category--no kids=no diapers, but new kid=sudden diaper mountain--, AND they happen to be entirely within a new parents' control. A WI state-sponsored study (pdf) found that construction debris was the largest landfill category by weight (27%). But that 1) includes bricks, and 2) is relevant to questions of household waste and diapers how, exactly? Mothering Magazine's timeline on the disposable debate is fact(oid)-filled. -ed.]

With regards to Holly's comment on non-biodegradable. This is true regarding diapers. It is also true of EVERYTHING that says it is biodegradeable when landfilled. Problem is if you run a test under heat and water and light exposure and you pass then you are biodegradeable. When you landfill it and cover it up with no sunlight, no oxygen, guess what.
It doesn't degrade anymore. Don't fool yourself into feeling good about buying something that says biodegradeable if it is going to end up in a landfill.

With regards to cloth. Cloth users are way worse. It takes more energy, resources and the detergents due more harm to the environment than disposables.

I am a scientist and I have worked over 15 years in water/wastewater resources and know extensively about landfilling operations.

"With regards to cloth. Cloth users are way worse. It takes more energy, resources and the detergents due more harm to the environment than disposables."

Funny, the diaper service I used made a point of industrial cleaning which used significantly less energy, water and detergent than a typical home laundering regime. And, no matter how you cut it, anything that isn't put into a landfill is a step in the right direction.

So, the logic of "disposable diapers aren't as bad as so many other things, so why bother dealing with disposable diapers?" doesn't hold water (or any other diaper contents). Sure, one should also seek to reduce packaging; reduce is after all the first part of "reduce, reuse, recycle". Carry your groceries in cloth bags, compost whatever you can, buy local fresh produce, etc. Sound like eliminating disposable diapers would fit right in to such a lifestyle. And, let me add, the great appeal of not adding human fecal matter to the landfills is a big public health plus too!

And all of this discussion is presuming the trash all makes it to the landfill in the first place, which is not the case. Yes, the less in the waste stream (and often the literal streams, rivers and oceans), the better... period.

Response to Lex comment

"And, let me add, the great appeal of not adding human fecal matter to the landfills is a big public health plus too! "

How exactly is this a plus? How much experience do you have in landfilling operations? Some of the bacteria present in human fecal matter actually can work in the anaerobic environment of landfills. Again things do not biodegrade in a landfill. There in no sunlight or oxygen once buried. If you are refering to the run-off then you should know that landfills are lined in a way that there is no run-off or seapage into the ground. The Leachate is directed to the local municiple treatment plant THE SAME plant that is going to handle it if you flush your g-diaper into the toilet. Lex. is correct that we should reduce reuse recycle and the g-diapers do address that somewhat as far as the chassis is concerned and that is great.

As far as cloth and you diaper service here's a clue they are "selling" you a service. They are going to tell you what the enviromentally conscious persons wants to hear. They are more energy efficient and enviromentally freindly than home washing BUT this is still more energy usage than the disposables landfilling.

Just a post in general about how to be more environmentally pro-active with nappies because i am considering buying the gDiapers (and i think the gUnit thing is hilarious, but i teach 8th graders, so. . . ) but to the point, what about flushing the poopies and vermicomposting the wet ones in a wormery?

Does anyone do that? Does anyone have experience with vermicomposting the wet ones?

Mike, total energy use there? Is it less overall? If I am throwing them in my wormery with my kitchen scraps, no one's wasting much, right? I'm getting some free fertilizer for my roses out of it too, right?

[way over my city-dwelling head, but I have to ask: do 8th graders say "poopies"? -ed.]

Hi, so 3 years later (08) I just purchased the new gdiaper starter kit from the ONLY store in my region that carries them.. greenlife grocery. I'm still waiting on walmart to pick them up?!?! gdiapers have been making their way into the news over here in the US and I think it's wonderful. Apparently many people are using them now. Personally, I think gdiapers.com have really come up with a great alternative and I do think it's catching on. I for one would like to say thanks. I feel good about being green!!!

If you're not interested in the whole flushing part of the diaper you can also add a cloth insert instead and when you go out or on a trip you can use the disposable liner. These diapers will facilitate a cloth lining too and as such can be more earth friendly, economical and fashionable to boot! The only problem is, they're very hard to find in Canada and anyone who carries them has a manopoly on this market. We need more options!

Thanks!
Falon

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