Disposable Nappies – What’s in Them & How Are They Made?

Disposable nappies were never made to make life easier for new parents. Designed by Marion Donovan after World War 2, they were invented because of a cotton shortage. However, mothers found it so useful that they have continued to be manufactured and sold worldwide. The first disposable nappies were made from a shower curtain outer over layers of tissue paper on the inside. How effective they would have been at stopping leaks, we’re not sure. But materials have changed over time, with nappy manufacturers responding to a call for more environmentally friendly materials. Today we’re going to explain how these nappies are made and let you know what they contain so you can make your own decision about using them.

What Do Disposable Nappies Contain?

Disposable nappies have got one great thing going for them: you use them once and then throw them out. There’s no washing, folding or putting away. Then there’s the list of things which are not so good. Not biodegradable, wasting of the earth’s resources to manufacture them and the high repeating cost, to name three. The materials used to make disposable diapers are not something which is often known, until now. A disposable nappy has three layers which contain:

  • Outer layer – a waterproof layer, this is often made with a petroleum based plastic or plastic treated material. Some are made with a bioplastic or plant based coating, which is also known as PLA or polylatic acid.
  • Middle layer – this is the absorbent core, made with a combination of fluff materials and chemical crystals. These crystals are called super absorbent polymer or SAP.
  • Inner layer – this is what directly touches your baby’s skin and to be honest, we’re not too sure what this actually contains. Most disposable nappy manufacturers are not forthcoming with the materials their products contain.

Then there’s the other components we need to consider. The adhesives used in the tabs, the inks in the outer designs and that thing called fragrance. It is here where some manufacturers can hide the list of chemicals they use under the fragrance ingredient listing.

How Are Disposable Nappies Made?

We could have spent plenty of time describing how throw away nappies are made. But we won’t. Instead here’s a video we found on the manufacture of the disposable nappy from YouTube. It clearly shows the different layers being made, plus discusses the environmental impact they are having in our world.

We’d never say don’t use a disposable nappy. But what we do say is that there is another choice. Our reusable cloth nappies are kinder on the environment, save you money and do not contain any nasty chemicals or fragrances. Look through our cloth nappy ranges today and if you need any help, just ask!

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