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Biodegradable Diapers in The Market

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At PreScouter, we help Fortune 500 clients quickly get up-to-speed on what they need to know to understand their options. PreScouter's Inquiry Service is a new, custom approach to ask science-based questions with a Ph.D. researcher through a brief video call. The results are debriefed in a meeting within two business days. This app provides clients with technically relevant, actionable information to further business objectives on a recurring basis.

In this inquiry, a client wanted a brief competitive analysis of the companies making biodegradable diapers, which means it cannot have a plastic lining or have a filling made with petrochemical-based polymers (sodium polyacrylate) and be made of materials that are more natural and decompose faster than traditional diapers.

One of PreScouter's Consumer Goods Project Architects worked with another Ph.D. researcher to present the main conclusions, which consisted of different brands, costs, time it takes to degrade and what makes the paper product degradable. Brands such as Pampers and Huggies were not included in this R&D research. PreScouter concluded this inquiry with suggested next steps.

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Biodegradable Diapers in The Market

  1. 1. PRESCOUTER Biodegradable Diapers Justin Schaefer, PhD Project Architect PreScouter, Inc. Lori McGee Koch, PhD Research Scholar Northwestern University Your personal research team
  2. 2. Inquiry What are the different types of biodegradable diapers available in the market? Variables: Brand, Cost, time it takes to degrade, what makes it degradable? Results will be used for purchasing diapers for newborn baby Exclusion common brands such as Pampers and Huggies Urgency: Normal
  3. 3. Key Findings There are several biodegradable diapers on the market. In order to be considered a biodegradable diaper, it can not be made with plastic in the lining or have a filling made with petrochemical-based polymers (sodium polyacrylate). It must also be composed of materials that are more natural and decompose faster than traditional diapers. The best Biodegradable diaper brands were found to be Bamboo Diapers and Earth Best based on materials and performance. Both of these brands outscored traditional diapers in the area of absorbency. Hybrid diapers are a better option for decreasing the amount of landfill waste, but most inserts do not come in the form of biodegradable material.
  4. 4. Overview History (1) 1. The first disposable diapers were invented in the 1940’s, made of unbleached creped cellulose tissue held in rubber pants. 2. In the 1960’s, a pulp mill was introduced and instead of tissue, cellulose fibers were used to improve diaper performance. 3. Throughout the 1960’s-1990’s increased usage of disposable diapers was seen as performance improved and competition between brands decreased the cost. 4. Late 1990’s until now: a revolution in environmental concerns focussing on landfill waste has brought back the popularity of cloth diapers and the manufacturing of newly introduced “biodegradable” diapers.
  5. 5. Green vs. Traditional Disposable Diapers Biodegradable Diapers: 1. Most diapers are not biodegradable and are thought to take hundreds of years to degrade (2) 2. Diapers that are thought to be more biodegradable are referred to as “Green” 3. It is still not truly known how long even biodegradable materials take to decompose. Green Diapers have the following characteristics (3): Chlorine-free Perfume-free Dye-free Latex-free (partially) biodegradable As little plastic as possible (e.g. not made with plastic in the lining or a filling made with petrochemical-
  6. 6. Top Brands The Top 5 Brands based on reviews (4, 5), three of which are profiled in the following slides: 1. Earth’s Best 2. Bamboo Diapers 3. Nature Babycare 4. Seventh Generation 5. 365 Everyday Value
  7. 7. Considered one of the best eco friendly diapers for the diapers for the following reasons: Chlorine free Hypoallergenic and dye free Fragrance free Latex free. Made from renewable resources such as corn and wheat byproducts Petrochemicals not used in much of the production One of the lower cost diapers (only 3 cents more per diaper than Pampers Swaddlers-Table 1) Scores high in absorbency and fit/leakage. Earth’s Best
  8. 8. Bamboo Diapers Considered one of the best eco friendly diapers for the diapers for the following reasons: Chlorine free Allergen Free Nordic Label Certified (click here for accreditations) Made from raw materials that can be grown rapidly- it is using available materials without the need to cut trees Scores the highest in absorbency over all green and non green diapers
  9. 9. Nature Babycare Considered one of the best eco friendly diapers for the diapers for the following reasons: Made of GMO-free corn based film Unbleached Contains no latex No fragrance No TBT (tributyltin) Hypoallergenic Only about 60% biodegradable Scores low in absorbance in some reviews and high in absorbency in other reviews (Table 2)
  10. 10. Comparison Table 2. - Identifying Earth’s Best as the most cost effective biodegradable, but Bambo as the best performer.
  11. 11. Price Comparison Table 3. - Costs - Identifying Earth’s Best as the most cost effective biodegradable, but Bambo as the best performer.
  12. 12. Comparison: Other Brands
  13. 13. Hybrid Diapers A cross between a cloth and fitted disposable diaper. Generally have a waterproof outer layer and disposable inserts, decreasing the amount of waste going into a landfill (2). The best biodegradable hybrid: GroVia- is the only brand that has inserts that are made from partially biodegradable materials (the remainder is compostable). This does not mean it is 100% biodegradable, but that it can decompose faster than brands that are only compostable (such as Flip) (6)
  14. 14. Future Products Future products in development: Superabsorbent Bio-Polymers (8) “Tethex SAP powders are based on a patent-pending technology platform. Tethex SAP is a cornstarch-based SAP with similar performance/ economics to traditional acrylamide-based SAPs manufactured using green materials with green processes.” Claims to be competitive with novels features, manufacturing, price, and ecological advantages over the existing synthetic SAPs. Nanotechnology (Can it make Diapers Green?) QuarTek, is attempting to make a disposable, flushable diaper based on nanotechnology.
  15. 15. Suggested Next Steps While several biodegradable diaper brands were mentioned in this Inquiry Report, there are many more on the market, with more coming everyday. A full breakdown of the technologies, manufacturing practices, and actualized biodegradation would be best accomplished with a Technology Portfolio. Additionally, targeted Subject Investigations could be done to explore brands that may have application to a particular child’s needs.
  16. 16. PRESCOUTER Supplemental Information
  17. 17. Supplemental Information Other review sites: http://blindedbythelightt.blogspot.com/2013/06/comparison-of-natural- disposable-diapers.html http://mydarlaclementine.com/2015/08/07/a-green-comparison-of-disposable- diapers/
  18. 18. References 1. https://www.diaperjungle.com/pages/diaper-history-timeline 2. http://www.thenaturalbabyco.com/guides/cd-guide/are-diapers- biodegradable.html 3. http://www.babygearlab.com/a/11114/Green-Diapers-vs-Traditional-Whats- the-Best-Choice 4. http://babieslounge.com/best-natural-disposable-diapers/ 5. http://www.babygearlab.com/Disposable-Diaper-Reviews/compare? 6. http://www.grovia.com/cd-basics/getting-started/great-diaper-debate.html 7. http://money.cnn.com/2017/02/01/technology/diapers-ecofriendly-tethis/ 8. http://www.tethis.com/ 9. https://www.honest.com/baby/honest-diapers
  19. 19. Method How we got to these results 1. Search Terms: a. Biodegradable materials diapers b. Search History of the diaper and events leading up to environmental concerns c. What makes a diaper biodegradable? d. Consumer ratings e. Any scientific evidence?
  20. 20. PreScouter’s Inquiry Service PreScouter helps Fortune 500 clients quickly get up-to-speed on what they need to know to understand their options. PreScouter's Inquiry Service is a new, custom approach to ask science-based questions with a Ph.D. researcher through a brief video call. The results are debriefed in a meeting within two business days. This app provides clients with technically relevant, actionable information to further business objectives on a recurring basis. For more information about R&D research and this inquiry service, please email inquiry@prescouter.com and visit www.PreScouter.com.

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