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Huggies Special Delivery Diapers Review: A Green Choice, Or Greenwashed?

Plant-based diapers are certainly getting their chance in the spotlight, with more companies than ever offering disposable diapers made from renewable materials. And with over 20 billion diapers thrown into landfills each year just in the US, the plant-based diaper revolution has arrived just in time.

We all know that big brands like Huggies and Pampers offer diapers we can trust, for their ability to prevent leaks, at least. But as the biggest and most profitable diaper brands with the money and resources to offer super eco-friendly products, you’d expect them to be lightyears ahead in their looking-after-the-world practices. 

Both companies offer what they market as their eco-friendly varieties – Pampers Pure Protection and Huggies Special Delivery. We’ve looked at Pampers Pure Protection, and how it isn’t quite as pure as you’d hope, but what about Huggies’ plant-based product? How does it fare when it comes to keeping our babies happy and healthy and doing its bit to reduce the terrible impact the industry has on our planet? Is it really a special delivery, or is Huggies, like so many other companies, guilty of greenwashing?

Note: Affiliate links may be used in this post. I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate link. Please read my disclosure for more info. All prices and availability are accurate at the time of publishing.

a box of Huggies Special Delivery diapers

Huggies Special Delivery Features

So what makes Huggies Special Delivery diapers, for want of a better word, special? This variety of Huggies diapers features ‘stylish designs’, with no word of water or plant-based inks, so I assume heavy metal inks are used. Along with these designs, Huggies tells us they are their ‘softest diaper ever with trusted protection’, but they don’t explain what exactly that means. 

They do have a wetness indicator to let us know when our baby needs changing, a ‘leak lock’ system that wicks away moisture and provides up to 12 hours of protection, along with a breathable outer layer. The newborn size has an umbilical cord notch to protect their healing belly buttons.

Huggies Special Delivery Ingredients

Plastic vs plant-based

The vast majority of disposable diapers are made with petroleum-based plastics, so it’s no shock that the diaper industry is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Plant-based diapers, which might use wood pulp, bamboo, or cane, aren’t only heaps better for the environment (they’re renewable resources for a start), but they’re kinder to our babies’ skin too. Diapers that use plant materials tend to be much softer than their plastic counterparts, and they usually contain fewer toxins and chemicals. It’s a win-win!

Do Huggies Special Delivery diapers use plant-based materials?

Huggies Special Delivery diapers are made from 23% plant-based materials, although the company isn’t very transparent about what these are. It does state that they use sugar cane though. 

While 23% is a pretty low percentage of plant-based materials (the rest is presumably plastic), I’m glad that Huggies make this percentage clear. Pampers doesn’t tell us the percentage of plant-based materials used in their Pure Protection variety at all.

It’s also worth remembering that the terms ‘plant-based’ and ‘natural’ aren’t regulated by the FDA, so they’re often used in marketing to make products sound a lot more environmentally-friendly than they really are – or, in other words, ‘greenwashing’. I think that Huggies, with all of its money and resources, could easily produce a diaper that’s predominantly plant-based. 

Chemicals and toxins

If you’ve seen my reviews of biodegradable, bamboo, or non-toxic diapers, you’ll know that I love a chemical-free diaper. The companies who do use toxins in their diapers don’t shout about it, of course, but we’re lucky that there are so many amazing brands who shun chemicals completely, like Dyper, Hello Bello, and Eco Pea.

Unfortunately, not all brands take the same stance, with Pampers and Huggies being two of the biggest culprits when it comes to completely unnecessary additions in their products. So what toxins might you find in diapers, and how do Huggies Special Delivery stack up?

Phthalates

I think the worst of all the chemicals you might find in disposable diapers is phthalates. Used in all kinds of everyday products, like flooring, toys, and diapers1, these chemicals are used to improve plastic’s durability. The problem is, they’ve been linked with increased eczema and asthma rates2, as well as abnormal genital development in young boys. Suffice to say, it’s best to avoid them completely.

Do Huggies Special Delivery contain phthalates?

Being free of phthalates is a big plus for a diaper, so brands will generally be very clear about their avoidance of these chemicals. Unless it’s super clear that they avoid them – it should state this on their site or on the diaper packaging – it’s safer to assume they’re used. 

Huggies doesn’t tell us about their use of phthalates in their Special Delivery diapers, so I assume they are used.

Fragrances, lotions, and dyes

Fragrances, lotions, and dyes made with heavy metals can irritate your baby’s skin and cause diaper rash. And they’re just not necessary. And because fragrances aren’t regulated by the FDA, diaper companies can use the term to cover up a bunch of nasty added chemicals. 

Do Huggies Special Delivery contain fragrances, lotions, and dyes?

Huggies lets us know that their Special Delivery diapers are completely free of fragrances, although they don’t mention lotions or dyes. 

Chlorine 

You might have seen chlorine-free diapers and wondered what on earth chlorine was doing in a product for little ones. It’s well known for killing bacteria in swimming pools, but its function in diapers is to make them more absorbent. Chlorine bleaching is terrible for the planet and can be avoided while still producing a great quality diaper. Look for totally chlorine-free (TCF) diapers if you can. Elemental chlorine-free (ECF) diapers are better than nothing, but TCF diapers get the gold star.

Do Huggies Special Delivery use chlorine bleaching?

Huggies Special Delivery diapers are free of elemental chlorine only, which means they don’t avoid chlorine completely. It’s a shame that this is the case, when their rival diaper, Pampers Pure Protection, is completely free of chlorine.  

More on this topic: Disposable Diapers: What Are They Made From, And Are They Safe?

Huggies Special Delivery size chart

SizeWeight
Newborn6-9lbs
Size 18-14lbs
Size 212-18lbs
Size 316-28lbs
Size 422-37lbs
Size 5>27lbs
Size 6>35lbs

Huggies Special Delivery Reviews

Huggies have stood the test of time for a reason: they’re generally pretty effective. And it looks like Huggies Special Delivery variety is no different, with an amazing 4.9 out of 5 on average in over 5,400 reviews (on Amazon). 91% of users rated them 5 stars out of 5, with parents saying they love how soft they are, how good they are for sensitive skin, and how well they prevent leaks and blowouts. Some eco-friendlier diapers seem to compromise on quality, but it looks like this isn’t the case with Huggies Special Delivery diapers.

Where to buy Huggies Special Delivery

Like Pampers, most Huggies varieties are available at all major stores, including Walmart, Costco, Kroger, and Target. And Amazon, of course, sells pretty much every diaper brand you could think of. Prices shouldn’t vary too much from store to store, but it’s still worth comparing prices to get the best deal.

How Much Do Huggies Special Delivery Diapers Cost?

As a general rule, diapers that avoid toxins or use any kind of plant-based materials tend to be a little more expensive. That doesn’t mean you can’t find eco-friendly and budget-friendly diapers though. In fact, while some premium earth-friendly diapers can cost upwards of 70 cents per diaper, you can find toxin-free diapers for as little as 16 or 17 cents each. Most diapers that use plant-based materials and avoid toxins cost at least about 30 cents each, so how do Huggies Special Delivery diapers compare?

The price of Huggies will vary a little from store to store, so let’s take a look at a range of prices.

StoreSizeCount per packTotal pricePrice per diaper
Walmart3116$38.3533 cents
Target358$24.9943 cents
Amazon3116$38.3533 cents

The price of Huggies Special Delivery, especially at Amazon and Walmart, isn’t bad for the quality at all. You generally pay a little more for plant-based diapers, but Huggies Special Delivery aren’t significantly more expensive than other diapers that use plant materials. 

It’s also worth considering Amazon when buying your diapers because there’s a super-easy way to save even more cash. Amazon’s Family Program is free for Prime members, and gives you up to 20% off the diaper and baby food subscriptions, as well as parenting tips and exclusive discounts.

Huggies Special Delivery Price vs Pampers Pure Protection Price

There’s a clear rivalry between Huggies Special Delivery and Pampers Pure Protection. Both are their brand’s ‘eco-friendly’ offering, so how do the prices compare?

Pure ProtectionSpecial Delivery
StoreSizePrice per diaperSizePrice per diaper
Walmart334 cents333 cents
Target334 cents343 cents
Amazon336 cents333 cents

Prices for both varieties are similar, so it’s really down to their effectiveness and ingredients to decide which comes out on top. Both varieties have great reviews, but Pampers Pure Protection avoids chlorine completely, unlike Huggies Special Delivery. 

Huggies Special Delivery Diapers FAQ

1. What is the difference between Huggies Special Delivery and Huggies Little Snugglers?

Both Huggies and Pampers offer a wide range of diapers. This is great, but it can be confusing. Huggies seem to market their Little Snugglers as a rival to Pampers Swaddlers, or the diaper of choice for newborns. They tell us that ‘more hospitals than ever’ are using Little Snugglers, they’re hypoallergenic, they’re super soft, the smaller sizes have an umbilical cord cutout and they feature a wetness indicator. There’s no mention of plant-based ingredients at all though, which Huggies Special Delivery diapers do feature.

Neither variety is free of chlorine and phthalates, but, choosing between both, I prefer Huggies Special Delivery diapers. Using some plant-based materials is better than using none!

2. Are Huggies Special Delivery plant-based?

Huggies Special Delivery diapers do use some plant-based materials; they’re certainly the most eco-friendly offering of the Huggies brand, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best. In fact, they’re made of 23% plant-based materials, so I assume the rest is petroleum-based plastics. 

Huggies doesn’t make these plant-based ingredients clear (although I assume some is wood fluff pulp, a commonly used ingredient in plant diapers), but they do say that sugar cane is used. In comparison to some other plant-based diapers – Dyper, Andy Pandy, and Hello Bello to name just a few – Huggies Special Delivery just don’t cut it. They might be made with a small percentage of plant-based materials, which is certainly better than nothing, but they’re not free of chlorine, which is terrible for the environment, and phthalates, which are terrible for your baby’s health. 

Just because a diaper states that it’s ‘plant-based’ doesn’t mean it’s eco-friendly. I’d go as far as to say that Huggies have greenwashed their Special Delivery diapers. Greenwashing involves making products or processes seem more environmentally kind than they really are. It’s time big companies like Huggies and Pampers stepped up and provided some truly earth-friendly products in the form of non-toxic and even biodegradable diapers.

3. Are Kirkland diapers better than Huggies?

Huggies Special Delivery versus Kirkland Diapers

Kirkland diapers are Costco’s own diaper offering. If you’ve ever compared Kirkland diapers to Huggies, you might have noticed some similarities, and this is because both diapers are made by Kimberly-Clark, the same company responsible for some big name brands like Andrex and Kleenex. They’re not exactly the same, of course, but they do share similarities. Let’s take a closer look at what they offer.

Choice: As we know, Huggies offer a wide variety of diapers, aimed at different ages and stages. Along with their eco-friendlier offering, Special Delivery, they also produce Little Snugglers, aimed at newborns, Huggies Little Swimmers for water babies, and Little Movers for babies on the go. 

Kirkland only produces one kind of diaper, so no special overnight or swim diapers.

Price: As you’d expect, Costco’s diapers are super budget-friendly, setting you back between 16 and 30 cents depending on the size you need. Huggies Special Delivery are more, of course, averaging about 33 cents. Huggies Little Snugglers also work out more expensive; they range between about 24 and 50 cents each on Amazon. 

Materials: Interestingly, both Huggies Special Delivery diapers and Costco’s Kirkland diapers use some plant-based materials: 23%, in fact. It’s clear why many parents think both diapers are the same, but with different names!

The rest of both diapers is presumably petroleum-based plastics. 

Toxins: While Huggies Special Delivery diapers steer clear of lotions, fragrances, and elemental chlorine, Costco’s diapers don’t boast any kind of non-toxic credentials. I assume phthalates are used in both varieties.

Availability: You’ll find Huggies everywhere, and that’s no exaggeration. Look in any Target, Walmart, CVS or online retailer and you’re likely to find the Huggies variety and size you need. Kirkland diapers are available in Costco, of course, but that’s it. So unless you’re a member (which costs 60 bucks a year) and you have a store close to you, Huggies are probably a better choice.

Reviews: Both varieties have really impressive reviews. Huggies Special Delivery diapers average 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon, with Kirkland diapers averaging an equally great 4.7. Again, the whole ‘they’re the same diaper’ theory rings true!

Kirkland vs Huggies

Looking at Huggies Special Delivery specifically, it looks like they have the edge over Kirkland purely because they do stay away from fragrances and lotions. It’s great that both varieties use some plant-based materials but, ultimately, it’s just not enough.

4. Are Huggies better than Pampers?

Huggies and Pampers are age-old diaper rivals. They both produce one diaper variety each which uses some plant-based materials, but which is better?

Huggies Special Delivery versus Pampers Pure Protection
  • Price: The price of Huggies Special Delivery and Pampers Pure Protection is very similar. Looking at size 3 diapers, you can buy Pampers Pure Protection for 34 cents each from Walmart, while Huggies Special Delivery will set you back 33 cents each.
  • Materials: Both Pampers Pure Protection and Huggies Special Delivery diapers use some plant-based materials, and they’re the only variety of their respective brands that do. Huggies are clear about what percentage of plant-based materials they use in their Special Delivery variety – 23% – but Pampers doesn’t tell us about their Pure Protection variety. Pampers says its Pure Protection diapers use sustainably sourced cotton and ‘other’ plant-based materials, although it’s not clear about what these are.

    Huggies is similarly vague about its materials. It tells us that Special Delivery diapers contain sugarcane, but it doesn’t give us any other details. 
  • Toxins: Huggies Special Delivery diapers are free of lotions, fragrances, and elemental chlorine, while Pampers Pure Protection diapers shun chlorine completely, and are free of fragrances and lotions. Neither brand is clear on their use of phthalates, so I assume both varieties contain them. 
  • Availability: There’ll be no issues finding Huggies Special Delivery or Pampers Pure Protection. Both varieties are widely available in stores and online.
  • Reviews: Reviews for both diapers are pretty great. Looking on Amazon, Huggies Special Delivery diapers average 4.8 out of 5 and Pampers Pure Protection average exactly the same. Both varieties are loved for their softness and quality. 

The Bottom Line: Pampers vs Huggies

Prices are similar, materials are similar and reviews are similar between the two varieties. One of the only differences between Pampers Pure Protection diapers and Huggies Special Delivery diapers is Pampers’ avoidance of chlorine. Huggies Special Delivery diapers are free of elemental chlorine only. 

This gives Pampers a slight edge but, really, neither variety goes far enough to be considered truly eco-friendly. They need to make their use of phthalates clear, as well as what materials are used in their diapers. And how about making all varieties plant-based? I’m sure both brands have the money to do so!

5. When did Huggies Special Delivery come out?

Special Delivery diapers are a relative newcomer to the Huggies range, launching in 2019. While it’s a great start, I think Huggies, with all of their resources and expertise, should be looking to make all of their diapers plant-based and non-toxic. All parents want the best products for their little ones and other brands are currently way ahead of Huggies when it comes to offering safe-for-the-world and safe-for-baby diapers.

6. What is better – Huggies Special Delivery or Honest?

Huggies Special Delivery versus Honest Diapers

Just like Pampers Pure Protection, Huggies are clearly trying to rival Jessica Alba’s Honest diapers with their Special Delivery variety. Honest diapers are super popular amongst earth-conscious parents and carers. And fans of super cute diaper prints made with water-based inks…

They’re free of harsh chemicals, including phthalates, and are made with chlorine-free wood fluff pulp. We don’t know whether phthalates are used in Huggies Special Delivery and they’re not completely free of chlorine, either. 

Honest diapers are comparable to Huggies Special Delivery when it comes to price, and you can subscribe to Honest diapers on their site for delivery to your door. They’re also available at some retailers, like Target and Amazon

Ultimately, Honest diapers go much further in their attempts to minimize their impact on the planet.

Alternatives to Huggies Special Delivery 

If Huggies’ less-than-perfect plant-based diapers just aren’t cutting it for you, there are loads of amazing alternatives. While Pampers Pure Protection is their obvious rival, this variety has similar issues to Huggies Special Delivery diapers – they still contain toxins. 

The following brands avoid harsh toxins, including phthalates. One brand goes even further, offering biodegradable diapers.

Hello Bello

A box of Hello Bello Diapers

Check Price at Walmart

Hello Bello is one of my favorite diaper brands, offering plant-based diapers suitable for sensitive skin. They avoid nasties like phthalates, fragrances, and lotions, and they do all this for a pretty great price. They average about 33 cents each, which is much cheaper than some other eco-friendly brands.

Read Next: Hello Bello Diapers Review: A-List Diapers For Your Little One

Abby & Finn

a pack of Abby & Finn Diapers

Like Hello Bello diapers, Abby & Finn diapers are completely free of phthalates, chlorine, lotions, and fragrances. The other thing they share is the brilliant price – a pack of size 3 Abby & Finn diapers will cost you just 28 cents per diaper. That’s a great price for a non-toxic, plant-based diaper. And if that wasn’t enough, the company donates 30 diapers to families in need with every purchase. 

Dyper

a box of Dyper Diapers

Check Price

Dyper is another non-toxic diaper brand. But they go a whole leap further, providing biodegradable plant-based diapers. These super soft and absorbent plant-based diapers break down easily into the soil. Some can even be composted, either at home in a compost bin or using a professional composting service. 

You’d think all this would set you back a fortune, but Dyper diapers average just under 40 cents per diaper. If your budget allows, these diapers are the pinnacle of eco-friendly.

Related Post: Dyper Diapers Review 2020: Eco-Friendly, Skin-Friendly And Bank Account-Friendly

Huggies Special Delivery diapers: The good and the bad

The GoodThe Bad
◆ Widely available
◆ Uses some plant-based materials (23%)
◆ Cute designs
◆ The smaller sizes have an umbilical cord notch
◆ They have a wetness indicator
◆ Hypoallergenic
◆ Free of fragrances
◆ Free of elemental chlorine
◆ They have great reviews
◆ It looks like they contain some chlorine and phthalates
◆ They use a small percentage of plant-based materials
◆ Huggies isn’t clear about what materials are actually used

Huggies Special Delivery: Should You Try Them?

Huggies special Delivery Pin

Huggies is known for their quality diapers. But that’s just not enough when more than 20 billion diapers end up in landfills in the US every single year. We need quality and products which care for our planet. For our sake and for the sake of our little ones…

So does Huggies come through with its Special Delivery diapers? Despite being the most eco-friendly of the entire Huggies range, other brands eclipse it when it comes to non-toxic, environmentally-friendly baby products. It’s great that some plant-based materials are used, but therein lies the problem – some is not enough. Huggies, like so many other brands, is certainly guilty of greenwashing. 

Huggies needs to not only increase the percentage of plant-based materials used in its Special Delivery diapers but roll out some plant-based positivity to its entire range. Like Pampers, the Huggies brand has the money and resources to make some amazing changes when it comes to the impact the diaper industry has on our planet. Many other smaller companies like Dyper are paving the way for an eco-friendlier future. Huggies, don’t get left behind!

References

  1. Jaakkola, J. J., & Khinght, T. L. (2008). The role of exposure to phthlates from polyvinyl chloride products in the development of asthma and allergies: a systematic review and metaanalysis. Environ Health Perspect, 116(7), 845-53.
  2. Hannon, P.R./ & flaws, J.A. (2015). The effects of phthalates on the ovary. Frontiers in endocrinology, 6

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