Disposable nappies – when are they ok?
There is no denying that throwaway nappies are damaging to the environment on average you will do 7,000 nappy changes in a baby’s lifetime, that’s a lot of waste in around about 2 years, and an estimated 550kg of carbon emissions.
Team that up with the wipes and nappy bags and you’re looking at a small mountain.
Disposable nappies take around 500 years to degrade – so way after our future family have been born and lived their lives, for many many generations those nappies used today will still be here.
So, what is the alternative?
Cloth nappies! On the whole disposable nappies are still a very new concept, invented in the late 1950’s, it’s not so long since cloth was the norm.
I actually own terry nappies that my nan used on my mum and I am now using on my little one. They last a long time and make fantastic cleaning cloths, burping cloths and much more, long after the need for nappies has passed.
Modern cloth nappies are a lot easier to use and there is hardly any difference from disposables in terms of fitting them although it can take some practice to get the fit perfect -of course you do have to wash them.
Good news – breastfeeding/formula poop is water soluble, so no handling required, it is only once solids are introduced that the solids need to be removed prior to washing, but it’s a lot simpler and less gross than it seems.
Washing wise – with modern washing machines that’s easy too, there’s no more wet pailing, no more soaking or boiling.
Once they’re in the machine it will do its job. They are also more cost effective in the long term and can last for more than one baby if they are looked after correctly.
If you would like more in depth information regarding washing routines, fitting guides or just a confidence boost, please do contact me at Forest Friendly for advice and guidance.
My favourite brand of nappies right now is newcomer Bells Bumz, which I stock – I even have 3 exclusive prints.
But there are a lot of other options out there and it can take a bit of time to land on a favourite. Be warned collecting patterns can be highly addictive!
The second-hand market is fantastic right now or you can check out your local nappy library for help. If you are just starting out there are schemes to claim back some of the cost, check out your local one. Ours is Gloucestershire cloth nappy scheme and I have flyers and application forms available in my shop. You can use them to claim back after supporting local retailers like myself, which is a win win for everyone.
Wipes are even easier; you can purchase them from retailers like myself or you can make your own – just don’t forget to hem them and allow for shrinkage!
Top tip – it’s easier to wash and dry one piece of fabric than 100, so wash prior to cutting.
You’re probably wondering why an article with a title question asking when disposables are ok is focusing on cloth nappies.
Well, sometimes it is ok. Mum guilt is so very very real and if cloth nappies are just too daunting right now, or you’re struggling to persevere with family that are not on board, or whatever reason at all its not for you. That’s ok!
There are still eco options. Cloth is always going to be the most environmentally friendly, however I stock a fab little brand called The Cheeky Panda.
These nappies firstly come boxed – tick no plastic wrapping, next they have a 100% bamboo lining, better for the environment and better for baby’s bottom.
Thirdly they are hypoallergenic, no nasty chemicals. They are also infused with aloe vera, carry the FSC mark and are super soft.
Of course you don’t have to choose one way or the other. I am a huge cloth advocate but we do supply disposables for nursery after several cloth attempts, and that’s ok! If you’re on holiday, camping, have an injury or disability, whatever reason you need to use disposables whether temporary or not, that’s ok. You can make more eco-conscious choices in other aspects of your life which are more manageable for you. If you are reading this article and you’re thinking about being more eco-friendly, you have already made a huge step in the right direction.
Ultimately you have to do what is best for you, your way, and your personal circumstances. So however you choose to wrap your baby’s bottom there is an eco-friendly way to do it! I can’t wait to talk to you about your options.
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Written by Kirsty. Owner of Forest Friendly. Friendly eco warrior and mum to Oliver a very busy 2 year old.