The issue of disposing of disposables and the stigma that disposables face have been issues since the first disposable diaper rolled off the line more than a half century ago. During the past 50 years, diapers have come a long way in lessening their impact on the Earth. They are thinner and more absorbent than ever before, meaning that diapers contain few raw materials that both consume and later dispose of, they also last longer, meaning that an infant uses fewer of them per day. This has lessened the contribution of diapers in landfills significantly.
More recently, diaper brands both large and small have taken this a step further, incorporating plant-based and other biodegradable materials into their diapers and their packaging to lessen their impact, and all the major companies have been experimenting with recycling programs.
While legislation has made sustainability more crucial to hygiene companies’ success in the future, these efforts are also being driven by the consumer. While parents recognize the advantages disposable diapers have over reusables, they want their diapers to contain safer and more natural ingredients to better protect their infants.
The focus on sustainability is very apparent in this issue’s Year In Review. Nearly, every one of the top trends of 2019 had in some way to do with sustainability. Brand owners across the disposable product segment are offering products that offer a message of sustainabilty or comfort; technologies that have the ability to use more sustainable ingredients—like airlaid—are poised for growth. Moving forward, the companies who look at sustainability as more than just being green will be the ones who will be the most successful.