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Are Flip disposable inserts biodegradable?
September 24, 2009 11:05 am | by

How many of you are wondering if the disposable inserts that are coming with Flip are biodegradable? Plenty it seems, because our customer service email box is overflowing with this particular question.

You may find it interesting to know that Kmart got in trouble with the FTC this summer because they were advertising paper plates as biodegradable. The FTC says that the actual anticipated disposal of a product labeled “biodegradable” must be in a form that encourages biodegradation. Did you know that 91% of consumer waste ends up in landfills? Landfills are essentially time capsules for waste. No matter what your package says, your paper plates aren’t going to decompose there and neither will your disposable inserts.
What about flushable? We do not recommend this disposal method for our disposable insert or for ANY disposable insert. The water treatment plant doesn’t have a clue what to do with absorbent gels… and the idea of that ending up in my drinking water is just gross. Please don’t.
What is the most responsible way to deal with my disposable inserts? If you want to be environmentally responsible with your disposable inserts, we recommend that you compost them and use the compost to keep your flowers happy.
Why disposable? Our goal is to provide a product that allows you to use your diapering system anytime. If you are traveling, most families reach for a bag of disposable diapers. The Flip disposable inserts are absolutely perfect for traveling. You’ll get the essential parts of both worlds… the convenience of a disposable with the protection of your Flip diaper cover. We all know how important THAT is!

About the Author

Jenn is the founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. She has four children (Andrew, Oscar, Elsie and Louis) and holds an MBA from Washington University. When she's not working full time, she enjoys teaching business leaders how to implement sustainable economic & social change.



  • Julie Kieras said...
    June 4, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Hi there – I linked to this blog entry in my blog entry where I am giving away a package of these inserts:

    Just thought you’d like to know about the giveaway and the link back to your post!

  • Sarah said...
    April 28, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Sorry, I guess I am a little confused. The disposables aren’t biodegradable? I heard gDiapers are and if they are and the Flips aren’t the gDiapers have an advantage.

  • Jenn said...
    September 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    There’s no plastic. Period. Our inserts are just the outer layer and the absorbent layer. If the waste management system where you are is responsible… there is hope!

    When you use a disposable diaper, you are wrapping up a plastic diaper ball that really has little hope of ever being anything but a plastic diaper ball, regardless of where it ends up.

    Additionally, disposable diapers are famous for blowouts up the back. If you are able to continue using your Flip cover to keep the mess inside, you’ve preserved the outfit. Changing diapers in an airport restroom is hard enough. Changing an outfit too is over the top. We actually got to appreciate this little benefit while we had Elsie in Flip during our last trip to Vegas for the ABC Kids show. We didn’t have a single outfit loss… several covers came home needing a bath though!


  • Darcy Taylor said...
    September 29, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    If you are in a situation in which you cannot travel with cloth, you are most likely going to be in a situation in which you cannot compost either. If the disposable inserts will not decompose in a landfill, and shouldn’t be flushed, what makes them better than a typical disposable diaper for traveling? I am truly interested and would love to understand.

  • Jene said...
    September 28, 2009 at 9:36 am

    I managed to successfully cloth diaper on a weekend trip with our BG 3.0s, but we’ve got a much longer trip coming up in October and I don’t know that we’ll have reliable access to laundry. I so wish these were going to be available before our trip! I’ll definitely be purchasing a pack next time we’re away from home. Great product idea, thanks so much!

  • Jenn said...
    September 25, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Calley – so glad I could help. And, yes! You can use the Flip disposable inserts inside your bumGenius 3.0. Straight in the pocket if you’d like. And they work great!

  • Calley said...
    September 25, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Thanks Jenn! I was going to ask the same questions as Whozat about the composting! Your answer is perfect! PS…I wonder…can the Flip disposable inserts be used with any other covers? For example…will they fit nicely into an existing BG 3.0 cover minus the insert?

    🙂 Calley – The Eco Chic

  • EG said...
    September 25, 2009 at 7:00 am

    PS – Wondering if your blog has a virus. After I closed this window it just keeps opening again and again. Anyone else having this problem?

  • EG said...
    September 25, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Yikes, don’t compost poopie ones. You do not want those in your yard with your kids/ pets/ etc. And you don’t want untreated human feces draining into the water table when it rains.

  • Jenn said...
    September 24, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Whozat: I would not recommend composting a poopy disposable insert unless you are familiar with the humanure idea (this heats the compost to a temperature sufficient to kill viruses and pathogens that live in poop). More on Wikipedia here: Regarding gels: The initial feedback from the test lab indicates that the gels are breaking down. We are having that looked at in more detail. I want a good, solid answer on that as badly as the rest of the world wants it.

    as: The flip system is only sold with a reusable insert. The disposables are available as a side-note if you need them.

  • as said...
    September 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    Does the flip system come with a reusable insert as well?

  • Whozat said...
    September 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Are the absorbent gels (and baby poop) ok for compost?

    What about an older baby who’s eating solids, including meat?

    (I think the manure composting rule is that herbivore poop is ok but not carnivore/omnivore. Which is a shame, because we’ve got TONS of cat/dog poop!)