Are reusable nappies REALLY better for the planet?
The short answer – YES
They have a far lower carbon footprint – up to 40% less than disposables.
- Using reusables you will produce far less waste – you can save 99% of the waste produced by disposable nappies. You could eliminate 900kg of waste over 2 years.
- They will use much less water – producing the 5000 disposables a baby will use between birth and potty training will use more than twice the amount of water as reusables, even when you take into account all the washing.
- Reusable nappies take far fewer resources to produce – producing 4000 disposables will use 1500 litres of crude oil.
- Modern cloth nappies frequently use recycled plastics and bamboo cloth, which is far less water-intensive to farm than cotton. They do not require soaking or boil washing, just a standard 40 degree cycle. They have been designed to dry quickly on an airer or clothes line.
But aren’t biodegradable disposables an easy eco-friendly option?
The short answer – NO
- ‘Biodegradable’ or ‘compostable’ nappies really aren’t – not with current UK facilities at least. None of them is 100% biodegradable material (the average is around 60%), and they require an industrial hot composting system to break down.
- They must not be placed in recycling or garden waste bins, as they would contaminate these waste streams.
- A garden compost heap will not reach the required temperature to make their disposal safe and hygienic even if there were space for the ~5000 dirty nappies that will be produced by the time a baby is toilet trained.
- They are manufactured with fewer chemicals than most disposables, but they still contribute to the mountain of residual waste that must be collected and disposed of every fortnight.