Biodegradable diapers, a second skin that reduces environmental impacts
29/10/2018 | Catarina Vilela
1. WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS OF BABY SKIN?
A baby's skin has the same structure as an adult's skin, but it still doesn't have all its functions. Fragile and not yet fully developed, the baby's skin needs three years to strengthen so that it can properly play its protective barrier role.
The delicate nature of the skin can be attributed to several factors:
- At birth, the pH of the skin is approximately neutral. Its pH gradually decreases, becoming more acidic in adulthood. This difference makes the baby's skin more sensitive to infections and irritation.
- The hydrolipid mantle is thinner in babies than in adults. Therefore it protects the epidermis less from dehydration. Baby's skin is therefore much more vulnerable to attacks from the outside world.
- The baby's horny layer is also more fragile. The corneocytes are not as cohesive, making the layer more permeable to external factors and infections.
- The baby's dermis is three times thinner.
- Lastly, in relation to its weight, the surface area of a baby's skin is between 3 and 5 times larger than that of an adult. This means that a substance that can penetrate the skin ends up being considerably more concentrated in the body - increasing the risk of toxicity.
As your baby grows and develops, it will restore and maintain the overall balance of the skin. It is therefore extremely important to protect it - to take care of your baby's skin qualities today and in the future.
2. WHAT PROPER PRODUCTS?
In order to compensate for the underdeveloped nature of the baby's skin barrier, it is very important to use baby-specific products such as diapers, creams, shower gel, cotton clothing that take into account the fragility of your skin while preserving its richness. without irritating her.
Be especially careful when choosing dermo-cosmetic products for your baby: Choose only hypoallergenic and high tolerance products that have been specially tested for baby skin and are designed to help strengthen / maintain their skin barrier while protecting their skin. cellular wealth against attacks from the external environment. Our BAMBO NATURE diapers meet these requirements, as you will read later in this article.
3. WHY CHOOSE BAMBO NATURE DIAPERS?
Bambo Nature is the new generation of eco-friendly diapers!
Our disposable diapers are among the most environmentally friendly diapers on the market. They are made with care for the environment, and 95% of all waste from Bambo Nature production is recycled. In addition, diapers are labeled with the Nordic Eco-label, FSC® label and our dermatologically tested label.
The diaper is designed to fit perfectly into a child's anatomy, ensuring no leaks and a comfortable feel while allowing greater freedom of movement.
Characteristics of Bambo Nature Diapers
On the Bambo Nature Portugal website it is mentioned that the new generation of environmentally friendly Bambo Nature diapers have all the features of a Premium product. Here is why:
Thin and 100% breathable, minimizes the risk of allergic reactions.
The super absorbent layer ensures fast absorption as well as an always dry surface.
As a result of using high quality materials on the inner and outer layers, the diaper gives the baby's skin an extra soft feeling.
The diaper side panels are made of an extremely flexible material that ensures a perfect fit every time.
Side barriers allow a perfect fit to the body, minimizing the risk of leakage.
The Bambo Nature range was designed and manufactured in Scandinavia by the Abena Group, one of the oldest diaper manufacturers in the world. Abena, established in 1953, has its headquarters and factories in Denmark, northern Europe and distributes its products to over 80 countries. The Abena plant in Denmark manufactures world-class eco-friendly baby diapers. You can consult and confirm the news about the awards, route and particulars of this company at: https://www.abena.com/about-abena.
4. WHAT ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS CAUSED BY NON-BIODEGRADABLE DISPOSABLE DIAPERS?
Products made from non-biodegradable materials have brought a major problem to society today. On the other hand, the ease of use and handling of disposable products leads to an increase in their consumption, contributing to environmental pollution when there is no efficient way to treat waste. Materials such as diapers, sanitary towels and pads are examples of products which in their constitution contain in high quantity sodium polyacrylate (non-biodegradable superabsorbent polymer). Sodium polyacrylate became well-known from the 1980s, when disposable diapers began to be marketed.
Attempts to minimize environmental damage
Polymers that can replace sodium polyacrylate are currently being tested for their main characteristics: superabsorption and high swelling kinetics. Recently, in Australia, a recycling project has been designed to take place in association with the hygiene recycling company, Relivit. Relivit will open a new plant in Nowra, NSW, which will process 30,000 tons of absorbent hygiene waste for recycling each year. In England, factories have already been set up to treat all components of disposable diapers, which after being washed and processed are turned into tiles and helmets for cyclists. However, these are rare examples of pilot projects, which are very small worldwide. However, from the past, present and future, millions of diapers will continue to be produced, leading to problems of various kinds, namely:
• To make 5500 disposable diapers, cut down 5 trees. One billion trees are used worldwide each year to supply the diaper industry. How much will it correspond in volume to billions of diapers?
• The production of disposable diapers requires a large volume of cellulose, paper, plastic and other raw materials, large amounts of water and energy. This contributes to energy waste, large-scale pollution, problems associated with deforestation and unsustainable industrialization.
• On average, 2% of garbage collected corresponds to disposable diapers. Disposable diapers saturate landfills. Diapers and other absorbent hygiene materials (such as sanitary towels and incontinence pads) make up tons and tons of waste each year.
• Dioxins are released in the wood pulp bleaching process for papermaking (which is also used in diapers). Dioxins are also released when plastic waste (including diapers) is burned. Dioxins are a highly toxic organic compound (C4H4O2).
• Many disposable diapers are not biodegradable. Scientists estimate that diapers in a landfill take about 500 years to decompose.
5. HOW MANY DIAPERS DOES AN AVERAGE CHILD SPEND?
An average child uses 5500 diapers in the first two years of life.
Up to 3 months 90 days 7 diapers / day 630 diapers
From 3 to 6 months 90 days 6 diapers / day 540 diapers
from 6 to 24 months 900 days 5 diapers / day 4500 diapers
Total diapers up to 2 years 5670 diapers
6. WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BIODEGRADABLE / ECOLOGICAL DIAPERS?
Fortunately there are environmentally friendly solutions available to consumers. These solutions reduce the impact on the environment.
1. Reusable Cloth Diapers
If the diaper is washed in an efficient washing machine in the cold program and then dried on the rope, reusable cloth diapers have a lower environmental impact. Reusable diapers can be made from a variety of materials including organic cotton, bamboo, wool and hemp. Some manufacturers argue that making diapers from these materials is much more beneficial for the environment, as these plants do not require aggressive chemicals and pesticides to grow.
Other benefits of cloth diapers include:
• Free of toxins and chemicals (such as dioxins), which can be harmful to both the baby and the environment.
• Less expensive than long-term disposable diapers.
Nevertheless, this option is resistant to consumers because they do not look so safe and hygienic and yet require excessive water and energy to be cleaned and reused if the above wash characteristics are not used. referred to. Although not fully sustainable, the damage caused by them is smaller than conventional disposable (non-biodegradable).
2. Biodegradable Disposable Diapers
Biodegradable or eco-friendly disposable diapers are another alternative that may be better for the environment. According to Australia's Raising Children Network, these diapers are made predominantly of materials such as bamboo and pulp, which has contributed to making most of the diaper compostable and biodegradable. Some environmentally friendly diapers can even be buried in the garden by decomposing and fertilizing the soil. Many environmentally friendly, biodegradable diaper manufacturers are committed to reducing the overall environmental impact, which means they prefer sustainable materials / suppliers, favoring environmentally conscious methods.
3. Hybrid Diaper Alternatives
A hybrid diaper is made up of a reusable, washable outer layer (or diaper cover) with a waste-absorbing disposable diaper "insert" that is disposed of in the trash.
Do you know that…
Both disposable and cloth diapers can cause allergies - the former due to their synthetic components, the latter due to the fact that some detergents or conditioners used to wash them may irritate the skin.
7. DISPOSABLE DIAPERS: A HISTORICAL SUMMARY
The invention and development of a product often results from the sum of various ideas and discoveries, various needs that arise and are being met. The same thing happened in the development of diapers as we know them today.
Early historical accounts refer to the ancient civilizations of Egypt, the Aztec Empire, and Rome. These people wore a kind of makeshift diapers, with moss, rabbit skin and grass.
How did the first diapers come about and what was their development path?
Shortly after World War II, in the 1940s, due to scarcity of cotton, an American housewife and nurse named Marion Donovan invented a waterproof cover made from the scraps of plastic tub curtains to protect her diaper from leaving. of liquids. He named the first diaper "Boater". Inside this waterproof cover was a conventional cloth diaper. Initially this invention was not very successful in sales. However, Marion Donovan did not give up, started a company and focused on product disclosure, having received 4 patents for the result of his projects.
Over time, the invention was refined by the personal care companies until it gave rise to the disposable diaper we know today.
It was in 1957 that Victor Mills, a visionary and legendary chemical engineer at Procter & Gamble (P&G), refined the design of disposable diapers to improve the comfort of his grandson, and piqued the interest of society and the marketplace. . It's called the "Pampers" diaper. Inside the rectangular diaper were placed several layers of absorbent paper (from 15 to 25 sheets). They were wrapped in plastic wrap and held by pins.
The disposable diaper in the 1950s was a luxury item, not accessible to the majority of the population given its high cost. Used only on special occasions, such as trips and doctor visits. In addition, its distribution was limited to a few countries.
In the 1960s, disposable diapers had a great development. The industry was inspired and based on the needs of mothers. In 1961, diapers were massively introduced to the market. However, its success was moderate, as there was a downside to the diaper closure method: there were no self-adhesive tapes. Mothers had to have a roll of masking tape nearby (like a painter's tape) to close and secure the diaper. Are you imagining this procedure today !?
Even in the 60's, the absorbent paper filling was replaced by cellulose fibers and, thus, the diapers showed a great performance improvement. However, the diapers were still very thick as they had to prevent leakage. On average they weighed at least 65g each. The factories could only make 100 diapers per minute.
In the 70's there was a big boom, besides P&G also entered this market KC and J&J. Competition has led to a considerable drop in prices for consumers. Earlier this decade J&J launched diapers with built-in side adhesive tapes on the market.
After this period world demand exceeded production capacity for many years. The product has internationalized across Europe, Japan and Latin America.
Variations between models appeared during the 70's: folds, type of adhesive, different sizes, absorption capacity, larger diapers for night use, among others that exist today in the world market. The speed of the machines was already about 250 / min. At the end of 70 side elastics appeared and the leakage rate dropped to 5%.
Pediatricians began a campaign to combat the use of conventional diapers (cloth) because they were thick and could deform the bones of the child's legs.
In the 80's, with the elastic, it was possible to change the anatomy of the diapers, since the sides and waist already had this adjustable feature. Ecologists spoke out against diapers, and in the aftermath began to talk about biodegradable plastics. This was very evident in Europe and Canada and less so in the US and Latin America.
With the discovery of SAP (Gel) the leakage rate dropped to approximately 2%. As a result the thickness was reduced, the weight reduced to 50% and the performance / absorption greatly increased (also considerably reducing the problems of diaper rash). At the same time, these new properties have contributed to a reduction in packaging consumption. Each gram of gel replaced 4 grams of cellulose.
In the 90's new features appeared mainly aimed at enhancing the comfort of the baby, such as: SMS screens (softness and resistance), clothlike, fecal barriers, side straps with mechanical “velcro” closure, aloe vera, moisture indicators, germ protectors, fluorescent front ribbons, among others. In the USA, Japan and Western Europe the penetration rate exceeds 95%. In Latin America the same rate appears more contained, ranging from 15 to 75%. By the late 1990s the machines already had a production capacity of 300 diapers / min, although some of the major manufacturers already talked about 800 pieces / min.
The idea of the disposable diaper that emerged in the early twentieth century today has become an easy solution for parents and an important product for many companies.
The disposable diaper is a relatively recent invention of mankind. So recent that the first diapers to be marketed about 40 years ago remain in the same place they were placed in the 1970s. Were you surprised? If you are old enough to have used disposable diapers, be aware that they still exist.
Diapers are mainly made of plastic (derived from petroleum) and cellulose (which implies the felling of trees). In its bleaching is used chlorine, very polluting substance. Therefore, diaper production processes are highly polluting and, on the other hand, diaper decomposition is very slow, contributing to an extremely high pollution rate. A conventional disposable diaper takes about 450 years to decompose.
8. CHANGING A DIAPER, STEP BY STEP: PRACTICAL GUIDE
If you have never changed a diaper before, do not worry because most parents make common mistakes such as putting a diaper back or off center, or receiving an unexpected urine stream from the baby. If it does not go well once it will go better next time. As with everything in learning to be a parent!
As with everything in learning to be a parent!
Let's uncomplicate! These step-by-step tips will help you master the art of changing diapers and quickly correct mistakes the first time.
The most important advice of all is NEVER LEAVE THE BABY ALONE. Never! Not even for a matter of seconds. A fall on a baby could have very serious consequences. In order not to have to leave the baby alone to fetch something that is missing, you must prepare everything, or always have everything at hand. If you have to go get something, take the baby with you.
1) Have everything at hand
You will need:
- a clean diaper or two;
- something to clean the baby: wipes or compresses
- a flat surface;
- a garbage bag or small bucket next to the changing room;
- a guard over the changing of diapers or the bed or the smooth surface where the diaper is changed (optional).
- If your baby has a diaper rash, have a diaper rash cream (eg ATL Vitamin Cream) and warm water to clean and soothe.
2) Wash your hands. You can put hand sanitizer (optional). Be aware that the manipulation of the baby should not be too aseptic, so that he will be in contact with the various allergens. Studies show that in Nordic countries, such as Finland, people began to develop many allergies due to excessive disinfection / aseptic leading to lack of contact with the most varied allergens in childhood.
3) Always keep a hand on the baby.
If your baby moves a lot, distract him with a toy or something colorful, talk to him a lot, sing to him or play hide and seek. The babies love it! Take this time to interact with him and to encourage or teach him something appropriate to his development. Take advantage of your leaning position over the baby. The baby is delighted to look at you and hear your voice. It is one of the moments that can establish contact with the baby by touch. Although some diaper changes have to be done quickly, because you only have a few minutes, try to enjoy the ritual.
4) Remove the baby's dirty diaper
• Lay the baby on the diaper, or a clean towel on a flat surface, and remove only the clothes from the waist down;
• Open the dirty diaper and lift the baby's tail, holding by the ankles;
• Remove the poop from the baby's tail using a part of the dirty diaper in a single top-down motion, folding the diaper in half under the baby with the clean part upwards as shown in the following photo.
5) Clean the intimate region of the baby
• Clean the intimate region with the wet wipes or wipes, making a single movement towards the genital to the anus, as shown in the image;
• In the girl: it is recommended to clean one groin at a time and then clean the vagina towards the anus without cleaning the inside of the vagina.
• In a boy: start with one groin at a time and then clean the penis and testicles, ending at the anus. Never pull the foreskin backwards as it can hurt and cause cracking. Note: If phimosis is present, it should be opened to expose the glans, which should be cleaned carefully. Phimosis is a constriction or hardening of the foreskin. It is a normal situation in the newborn or young child and is usually resolved at puberty without any treatment.
• Discard each trash swab after 1 use to avoid soiling already clean places. You can put the diaper in a plastic bag or zippered pouch before putting it in the bucket to reduce the smell.
• Dry the intimate area with a towel or cloth diaper.
6) Put a clean diaper on the baby
• Put a clean and open diaper under the baby's tail;
• Place a roasting cream if necessary;
• Close the diaper by fixing both sides with the adhesive tapes. If you still have the umbilical stump, leave the diaper under the umbilical stump;
• Put on the baby's clothes from the waist down and wash your hands again.
7) After changing the diaper it is recommended to confirm that it is tight to the baby's body by placing a finger between the skin and the diaper to ensure that it is not too tight.
1. Lay the baby on a flat, soft and safe surface.
2. Remove the diaper by lifting the adhesive tabs, and then fold the adhesive strips over themselves so that they do not stick to the baby's skin.
3. Using toiletries or a pad soaked in water, clean the genital area from front to back.
4. Place a clean diaper under the baby and dry it well with a clean cloth.
5. Squeeze the diaper clean by gluing the adhesive strips on the back of the diaper to the front. It should be tight but not tight.
6. Finally, put the baby in a safe place so you can throw the dirty diaper and wash your hands.
The following video explains step by step diaper change. Click here.