Or is there a third option that is easier for parents than cloth and better for the environment than disposables? Matt touched on these flushable diapers in his piece aptly titled Green Diapers: A Lot of Sh*t to Think About in which he examines all the pros and cons of both cloth and disposable diapers. G diapers are both flushable and compostable -- at least the wet diaper liners are. They don't recommend composting number twos for obvious bacterial reasons.
G diapers are a two part system, consisting of the colorful outer layer and the flushable liner inside. When the baby needs a change, you just remove the soiled liner from the inside of the gdiaper and dispose of the liner. The liner can be disposed of in three ways -- flush, compost or toss. The company recommends flushing liners that have poop because if they are thrown away, the poop will go to the landfill and may leach into ground water. This is one of the many problems with disposables. You can compost wet liners at home or in curbside composting programs that are available in some areas. These liners break down in about 90 days or so whether they are composted or tossed. The company states it's okay to toss them as well because the composting time is so much less than disposable diapers -- 3 months vs. 500 years or so.
The gDiaper liners are elemental chlorine free, plastic free, latex free and perfume free. They do however, contain SAP which accounts for the super-absorbency of the liners. SAP is super absorbent polymer and has been linked to toxic shock syndrome in a study from the 80's with tampon use. There have been no ill effects associated with their use in diapers although it is concerning. This SAP compound makes gDiaper liners hold 100x their weight in liquid which is great for preventing bum rashes. The breathability of both the plastic free liner and non PVC cover also make these diapers great for baby soft skin.
The cover itself does not need to be changed everytime the baby needs a diaper change, only the liner. The site insists that if the diaper fits properly, there won't be many leaks. They recommend changing the cover once a day and rinsing it. They are easily air dried which prevents having to put them into power sucking dryers. Changing them once a day would also really cut down on the water usage that can be a problem with cloth diapers.
The cost of these gDiapers may be a little more than their less environmentally friendly counterparts. The covers are $17 -$19 each and the site recommends having six to eight of these. The liners cost $52 per case which 128 - 160 per case depending on size. At ten changes a day, these costs can really add up. However, I think that when you factor in the water, power and environmental saving qualities of these diapers they just may be worth it!