The Jasper Chronicles

The Journal of a Cynical Dad

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

gDiapers Reviewed

They leak overnight.

I know they're not supposed to.

I was excited when I first discovered gDiapers, an environmentally friendly alternative to disposables. Around our place we use cloth diapers primarily, but we were heading out of town over Christmas. It was impractical to bring our cloth diapers and we were challenged environmentally to using disposables. The biodegradable, flushable gDiapers seemed like the perfect alternative for us. The night they arrived we slapped one on The Boy, everything seemed fine, so into the suitcase they went.

First night at the Grandparents went well, The Boy was a little damp but it was also hot in our room. The second night there was no doubt, the gDiaper leaked. We go out of our way to be environmentally responsible, but after the same result the third night we had to bite the bullet and go buy some Pampers.

(If you're wondering why, after using them during Christmas, I'm just posting a review now. We use cloth 99% of the time at home, so I only use a gDiaper once in a while.)

The problem as I see it is, the gPad (the flushable pad that goes inside the diaper pants) doesn't draw the moisture through the whole pad, just the portion of the pad around the "waterworks" area. Even when the diaper leaked, only the top half of the gPad was wet, the rest of the pad was bone-dry. The leaking might have been prevented if more of the pad absorbed the liquid, or if they loaded more of the padding at one end.

Another issue is that one the padding gets completely soaked, it stops allowing moisture into the pad, which might help explain why half the pad is so dry while the other half is sopping wet. This also minimizes the benefits of doubling the pad. Because the moisture stops going into the pad once it's soaked, the second pad doesn't get involved.

To his credit Jason Graham-Nye- Head gDiaper Guy - has been extremely responsive in trying to help me solve this dilemma. Jason tells me recent tests showed the gDiapers absorbs just as much liquid as a comparably sized disposable. But as I've said, only half of the pad absorbs the liquid. I'm not too sure if the results would come back the same if only half the gPad was used. I've tried his suggestions, and a few of my own, but still no luck. Short of running a bead of chalking around The Boy's diaper pants, I can't stop them from leaking overnight.

Now the gDiapers are great during the day. We use cloth diapers primarily, but we'll slip The Boy into a gDiaper when we're going to be away from the house for a while. They're absorbent enough for a few hours, flushable and/or compostable, and you don't have to carry around a smelly bag of cloth diapers with you. Brilliant.

How are gDiapers to use? Disposal is definitely a two handed job. You have to rip the gPad open, dump the contents into the toilet, swish it around and then flush. If you're a cloth user, you're already used to handling soiled diapers, so it's no big deal. If you're using to disposables, get ready for a hands-on experience. It's really not that bad though, a small inconvenience for a healthier planet.

The only thing I found challenging was when I was by myself. After changing The Boy I'd have to find a place to put him while I disposed of the gPad. Fine if there was a change table handy, a hassle if there wasn't.

All in all I like the idea of an environmentally better disposable, so I give gDiapers a thumbs-up for that. I think they're a great new idea that, with some tweaking on the absorpsion front, could be a real winner. Right now, based on my experience, I'd say use them during the days until they resolve the overnight leaking. But if all disposable users used a gDiaper even just once or twice a day, that would add up to several thousand fewer diapers in the landfill every year.