They’re a necessity for any parent with a young child, and the average baby will go through about 8,000 of them over the course of two to three years. No butts about it — that’s a lot of dirty diapers.

If you’re using disposable diapers, those soggy suckers can make up as much of 50 percent of your household trash, to say nothing of the landfill space they take up. Non-biodegradable disposable diapers will remain in a landfill for centuries — a whopping 450 years, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Biodegradable diapers are much better, the EPA says, breaking down in about one year.

In 2012, the EPA reported that disposable diapers make up about 1.4 percent of municipal waste, weighing in around 3,590,000 tons. 

Ready to think about choosing a more environmentally friendly diaper? has some suggestions. The company rates more than 250,000 household products on a scale of 0 to 10 for their impact on consumers’ health, the environment and social issues. It evaluates all kinds of products for children, from diapers to food to sunscreens to bath products.

Related: The Sleep-Safe Baby Guide

What factors does GoodGuide consider when ranking the environmental impact of disposable diapers? They look at the manufacturer’s production waste, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as the impact of manufacturing on biodiversity and ecosystems. They also look at the product and evaluate the type of diaper, the choice of materials, the choice of packaging, toxic waste indicators (like bleaching) and certifications the product or its materials may have.

SafeBee combed through the list of 182 disposable diapers GoodGuide tested for the brands rated best for the environment. Here are the results.

Related: How to Choose a Pediatrician

Top 5 disposable diaper brands for the environment:

1. Seventh Generation Chlorine Free Baby Diapers and Training Pants (8.2): Not a huge surprise that this company landed on top with a mission statement like this: “To inspire a more conscious and sustainable world by being an authentic force for positive change.” The diapers are chlorine free, fragrance free and made with organic materials (like wood pulp fluff). The packaging is made with a minimum of 25 percent post-consumer recycled content.

2. gDiapers Biodegradable gRefills (8.1): These diapers are unique in that you purchase a pair of gPants and then buy disposable inserts (refills) to put inside the pants. Wet inserts are compostable, and soiled inserts are flushable. These are the only biodegradable diapers in the top 5 list.

3. Huggies Pure & Natural Diapers (6.5): The diapers are fragrance free and made with organic materials, such as organic cotton and wood cellulose. The packaging is made from at least 20 percent post-consumer recycled materials.

4. Huggies Cool Alert Pull Ups, Learning Designs Pull Ups, Little Movers Diapers, Little Snugglers Diapers, Little Swimmers Swimpants, Night Time Pull Ups, Overnites Diapers and Snug & Dry Diapers (6.3): Huggies is owned by Kimberly-Clark, whose environmental policies put it in the top half of companies GoodGuide rates.

5. 365 Everyday Value Chlorine Free Diapers, Disposable Training Pants and Hypoallergenic Training Pants (6.1): 365 Everyday Value is the store brand of Whole Foods. These diapers are chlorine free and fragrance free and list wood pulp as a natural ingredient.

If you want to be even kinder to the environment, cloth diapers may seem like the way to go — but they pose environmental issues as well, in part due to the hot water use involved in all that laundering.

Parents: What kind of diapers do you use? Please leave a comment in the comment box below.

Related: 30 Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products

Angela is a Pulitzer Prize-winning digital editor with more than 15 years of experience delivering news and information to audiences worldwide. Prior to joining SafeBee, she was the features editor for at The Boston Globe, overseeing health, travel, entertainment, business and lifestyle coverage. Before moving to features, she was the news and homepage editor, covering stories such as the Boston Marathon bombing, Red Sox World Series victories, presidential elections, a papal inauguration, and more. Her favorite safety tip: Clean your phone! The average cell phone has 18 times more germs than the toilet handle in a men’s restroom.