Disposable vs. Reusable Nappies

Disposable vs. Reusable Nappies

Disposable nappies have become a standard part of our lives due to their convenience and low price, which is completely understandable given that a child will use around 4,000 nappies before they are potty trained. While those monetary cost seems low at the time of purchase, these costs actually add up, and it’s important to think of the environmental cost as the planet is the most important thing we leave to our children.

Around 8 million nappies are thrown away in the UK every day, that amounts to 2.5 billion in a year. That means 2.5 billion nappies are sent to landfill every year, accounting for up to 3% of household waste. If this doesn’t shock you, maybe the fact that it can take over 200 years for a single nappy to biodegrade in a landfill will. And this isn’t even counting the environmental impact of production.

Enough of the stats though, let’s look at what we can all do to lessen our environmental impact just a little bit, from eco-friendly disposable nappies, and the more desirable option of reusable nappies such as Tots Bots nappies and gNappies.

Right now we offer a range of eco-friendly nappies from Moltex, Bambo, Beaming Baby and Naty by Nature Babycare. Typically, eco-friendly nappies are more readily biodegradable than regular disposables, which means they will biodegrade at a faster rate in landfills, and they’ll be made from materials that are more environmentally friendly and come from renewable sources. The production processes used by many of our brands are low carbon and they do not use any chemicals that can be harsh on babies’ sensitive skin while polluting the planet. Even though the composition and production processes can differ from those of regular disposable nappies, it’s important to note that eco-friendly nappies perform just as well as any other nappy brand.

But what about reusable nappies? Well they’ve evolved from a simple square of terry towelling held together by safety pins. Now you can buy all sorts of styles in bright colours and fun designs with Velcro or popper fastening with elasticated leg holes and they are usually made up of a reusable outer and a biodegradable inner that can be thrown away or  composted. While this still accounts for waste being sent to landfill, it’s safe to say it is a fraction of what is already ending up there and is already a much better solution, especially if you are not ready for completely reusable nappies. There have been debates about how eco-friendly a reusable nappy is since energy is obviously used when you put it in the washing machine, however using eco-friendly sanitiser and laundry detergent means you can wash them on an eco setting for excellent results – and you don’t need to tumble dry, just put them on the line! During production, reusable nappies have shown to use fewer raw materials (2.7kg used in a full-time set of reusables compared to 120kg if you’re using disposables) and have a lower carbon footprint as they are not sent to landfill where disposables give methane when they degrade. And monetary savings? Reusable nappies can save up to £500 per child in the long run, so maybe it’s better to splash out in order to save later.

In an ideal world everyone would use reusable nappies, but at least there also eco-friendly disposable nappies available if you’re not ready to make the transition – there are always environmentally friendly options at a low cost. Have a look at our nappy brand pages to learn more!