Switch to cloth nappies!
When we suggest to people that they should use cloth nappies, we are often faced with incredulity, coupled with some variation of “Why would I do that?”, “Sounds like a lot of work…” and “What about the poo?!”
But there are actually many benefits to using cloth; it’s not much more work than using disposables, and the environmental, health and cost benefits far outweigh the inconvenience of facing a little more poo.
Disposable nappies account for 2-3% of the UKs entire household waste.
Around 8 million disposable nappies are sent to the landfill every day – that’s nearly 2.5 billion a year – in the UK alone! If you think about that, you soon realise that this is horrendous.
What’s more, scientists estimate that it could take up to 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompose. Think about that too … that means that the first ever disposable nappy produced is still out there somewhere, and still a long while away from breaking down.
MYTH: Using cloth nappies has a greater environmental impact than using disposables.
Admittedly, more water, electricity and cleaning products are used in a household that uses cloth nappies. The truth is though, that a lot of water, electricity and chemicals are used in the production of disposables, too, and as a consumer, you have no say in how much is used.
MYTH: Cloth nappies stink!
Interestingly, they really don’t smell any more or less than disposables.
They also don’t stink so much when stored. If they are kept in an adequate container with enough air flow, they really aren’t bad. A bin full of dirty disposables smells so much worse!
MYTH: I will have to touch poo!
You don’t have to … you can use (truly biodegradable) liners which will catch all the poo and can go straight into the bin.
In case the environmental impact isn’t enough to convince you to make the switch, there are other advantages to using cloth nappies too. Here are a few:
1. You are placing natural fibres against your baby’s skin. Some cheaper brands do use polyesters, but these are not recommended.
2. Cloth nappies help with hip alignment in babies. Cloth nappies are bulkier than disposables, and therefore keep a newborn’s hips slightly wider apart, this is actually ideal for their hip development. More information about this can be found at https://www.thenappylady.co.uk/news/do-cloth-nappies-damage-your-babies-hips.html
3. While they do require an initial investment, in the long term using cloth nappies will save you money. The savings multiply if you have subsequent babies, as the nappies can be reused for years and years. They also have excellent resale value, being sold at up to 80% of their retail price. You can calculate how much you will save by switching to cloth at this link: http://www.clothwillsaveus.com/
4. They’re incredibly cute! I mean, who wouldn’t want all these beautiful prints on their baby’s bum!
You can find more info about the advantages of switching to cloth at https://foe.scot/cutting-down-plastic-nappy/
This article is based on one originally contributed by Ann Buhagiar to “365 Actions” in 2021 (Insta: @dear.maggie.eco)
Please consider using cloth nappies instead of environmentally damaging and expensive disposables.
And, if you haven’t done so already, please sign up to our bulletin “Take Action” using the form below, and thank you for your support.