I received product samples and compensation in exchange for this post.
No, no, don’t worry, I haven’t been hacked! This cloth-diaper addict is, indeed, posting about disposable diapers. I am often asked about disposable diaper options that are friendlier to the environment and baby’s skin than the traditional drugstore brands, and it’s something I’ve thought about a lot myself for the odd time we need to be using ‘sposies. I will cloth diaper in 99.9% of circumstances, but I cannot claim to be immune to the convenience of the occasional disposable! There was that awesome time, right before Christmas, when our washing machine broke. I gave hand-washing a valiant effort, but it was unrealistic. When my kids have had a rash needing intense treatment, or when we are travelling with no possibility of a washing machine or no space to pack cloth, I like to choose the best disposable diaper I can.
So let me tell you about Andy Pandy Premium Bamboo Disposable Diapers. They are sold on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com by Michigan-based Hansen Kids, LLC. Behind Hansen Kids are Steve and Jessica Hansen, parents who are committed to living a greener lifestyle.
What makes Andy Pandy Diapers a greener choice than mainstream brands?
- 100% free of chlorine and pthalates
- Contain no alcohol or preservatives
- Contain no Latex, PVC, TBT or antioxidants
- Made of biodegradable components
- Free of dyes and perfumes
Andy Pandy diapers contain bamboo and wood pulp, making them about 75% biodegradable. Hansen Kids is actively working to increase the biodegradability of their diapers. Currently, the diaper tabs, elastic and inner super-absorbent polymer (SAP) are not biodegradable. Now, it’s very important to note that while it’s great for a disposable item to be biodegradable, it’s not going to biodegrade if it’s disposed of in the traditional manner of wrapping it up in a plastic trash bag and burying it in a landfill. However, some cities now operate large-scale composting facilities that accept diapers! (Toronto, for example.)
Andy Pandy diapers contain about half of the SAP of traditional diapers. Jessica and Steve initially tried creating a diaper with no SAP at all, but the result was not satisfactory. SAP is what turns liquid into a kind of gel inside disposable diapers. I learned from Jessica that SAP is actually certified “green” by MBDC, the organization behind the Cradle to Cradle Design Framework. It is also recognized as foodsafe by the FDA. The wood pulp used in the absorbent core along with SAP is totally chlorine free.
Chlorine-free is important to me because the process of bleaching disposable diapers emits trace amounts of dioxins, recognized as likely carcinogenic. Yes, it’s trace amounts, but if I can avoid it, I will!
The primary component, and the ingredient that is in direct contact with baby’s skin, is bamboo. Jessica tells me that the bamboo that they use “is mechanically processed. Unlike other manufacturers that make use of the multi phase bleaching process—the quicker and cost-efficient way—our company uses a mechanical process wherein the bamboo is cooked and crushed. It is then treated with biological enzymes and combed out. While this process is very time-consuming and expensive, it is guaranteed safe and eco-friendly.”
Andy Pandy Diapers are manufactured in China, where the bamboo is harvested. “We spent well over a year searching for the best manufacturer for us and will only work with companies with integrity (no child/elderly labour, decent wages/hours, no loss of habitat to any animals/creatures of the bamboo forests, etc.) and have passed multiple third party inspections. We also ensure that all of our material suppliers have the same integrity. Some of the certificates that our manufacturer has obtained are as follows: BRC, FDA, CE, ISO, SGS. We have also had our diapers (including packaging) tested and certified by Intertek here in the US for CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) regulations for children’s products.”
According to Jessica, Andy Pandy diapers are rated as the #1 Non-Toxic Disposable Diaper by “I Read Labels for You: Helping You Live Healthy.”
More information about the safety of disposable diaper components can be found in this thorough article by Baby Gear Lab.
How well do Andy Pandy Diapers work?
I cannot claim to be an expert on disposable diapers: we have used very few. However, I put our Andy Pandy diapers to the test both on outings and overnight. Last week was the Calgary Stampede, and, not wanting to bring a stroller to the fair grounds, I had to pack very light (since I was wearing Little Miss on my front and carrying our diaper bag on my back). I packed a couple of Andy Pandy diapers, leaving me room for our snacks, coats and other necessities for the day. Little Miss is about 20 lbs, and we received the size medium (13-22 lbs) and large (20-31 lbs). She definitely fits in both sizes at this point. In our photos, she is wearing the mediums.
The exterior of the diaper, made of breathable bamboo fiber, is surprisingly soft to the touch. I suspect the breathability of bamboo is what prevents these diapers from getting stinky when peed in. The thing I dislike the most about the disposable diapers we’ve used is the way they smell. Co-sleeping with Little Miss while we were travelling in Montreal, I got very annoyed with the smell of her disposable diapers after twelve hours. Honestly, I even noticed the smell after just one pee with the drugstore brands we used! I have stuck my nose nice and close to an Andy Pandy diaper used overnight, and am happy to report they do not stink. Obviously a diaper full of urine doesn’t smell good, but there’s definitely no stink as I’ve noticed with other brands. (There’s also no gross perfume!)
I find the fit of these diapers to be just fine. I mean, I’m a cloth diaper fanatic, so I obviously have trouble looking at this objectively. They seem comfortable, we haven’t had any leaks (even overnight), and they’re nice and soft, inside and out. We are past the explosive, newborn poop phase, which I find is the worst with disposable diapers, but the inner gussets and snug elastics seem like they’d do some decent containment! (Whenever we used disposables during this phase, I always put a cloth diaper cover on top to protect against blowouts, anyway.) Andy Pandy diapers feature a wetness indicator: the yellow strips turn blue when wet.
Can this green-hearted Mama use Andy Pandy in good conscience?
In my dream world, I would always be able to use cloth diapers, and so would every other family. Heck, we’d all be nose-blowing and wiping with family cloth, wearing menstrual cups and reusable pads, carrying around stainless steel water bottles and cloth bags and composting everything if I had my way. But even I cannot meet these high standards of sustainability, so I have to look for compromises. Jessica at Andy Pandy was extremely accommodating and transparent with all of my questions regarding her choice to manufacture in China and the biodegradability of her diapers. I feel very strongly that these diapers are non-toxic and contain no worrisome ingredients. In terms of being “eco-friendly,” I’d call them “eco-friendlier” than your mainstream options. If your city composts diapers, then I’d definitely want you to be choosing Andy Pandy over the other big names, because they are much more biodegradable. Don’t kid yourself into thinking that a biodegradable diaper is going to disappear in a landfill … sadly it will be there right next to all the other diapers, inside a plastic garbage bag, buried under piles of dirt in a hundred years. But as communities start finding more sustainable options for waste disposal, we need to be choosing products that, given the right environment, can readily biodegrade. With their bamboo and wood pulp components and biodegradable outer packaging, Andy Pandy diapers are definitely a greener choice than many other disposable diapers on the market!
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Hansen Kids, LLC donates a portion of diaper sales to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They are a recipient of the Mom’s Choice Awards. Andy Pandy diapers cost under 50 cents (USD) a piece, which is comparable to similar “greener” brands. You can save extra by subscribing if you’re in the US!
===>Andy Pandy Diapers are available on Amazon.ca and Amazon.com<==