Are you considering changing to reusable nappies?
In real terms, disposable nappies haven’t been around all that long. Initially introduced in the 1950s, they didn’t become mainstream until the 1970s. Prior to this reusable nappies, or cloth nappies were the norm and the endless washing and management of them was just part of everyday life for mums.
It’s quite understandable how they quickly grew in popularity, offering a major advance in both convenience and hygiene. They are super easy to use and easy to find in any supermarket, so it’s easy to see why they are the most popular choice for around 95% of parents in the UK.
Making the change to using reusable nappies might seem like going back in time, but for the environmentally conscious parent looking for eco-friendly baby products, perhaps it’s the future.
The environmental cost of disposable nappies
It’s a pretty well-known fact that nappies take up to 500 years to break down in landfill. With such time scales it’s quite easy to be quite flippant about it, after all, it’s not going to affect you personally right? What about the other figures though, for example, did you know that the amount of nappies we throw away each year is estimated to account for 2-3% of our household waste here in the UK? That adds up to a whopping 400,000 tonnes of nappies going to landfill every year! Pretty hard to even imagine what that amount of nappies looks like isn’t it?
Some websites claim that nappies can in fact make up half of a family’s waste. I’m unsure what size family they are using as a medium, or even what these families are feeding their children for that matter, but it does seem a bit excessive from my experience.
There are other things to consider too. Did you know there is 1 cup of crude oil in every nappy? What about the manufacturing and transport costs? The plastic waste used for the packaging? If you are an environmentally focused parent there are plenty of things to consider that might well make it easy for you to decide to switch to reusable nappies, or any other eco-friendly baby products for that matter..
Choosing reusable nappies is said to cut down on carbon emissions generated by disposable nappy use by up to a quarter. This is taking into account the reduction of nappy waste and plastic use.
Are reusables cheaper than disposable nappies?
Although there is a larger initial outlay when purchasing reusable nappies compared to disposable nappies, in theory you should save money in the long run. How much money you can save though is at best guesswork and dependent on a number of factors! For example, a good quality reusable nappy may well be passed down to several kids in the family.
On top of the initial outlay for your reusable nappies, you also need to factor in electricity, water, and detergent costs. If you don’t fancy the idea of washing nappies along with other items as a full load, costs could quickly mount up. Whether you feel the financial savings are enough to make up for the extra work involved is certainly something to consider.
So what are the pros and cons of using cloth nappies?
A simple list of pros for the use of reusable nappies
- They are easy to use
- For the reasons listed above they are kinder to the environment and therefore more suitable for environmentally conscious families
- Unlike disposable nappies that contain chemicals, reusable nappies are usually made from natural materials proven to be softer on baby’s bottom
- They offer a financial saving over the long term
- No more stinky nappies in your household waste
- Fun stylish designs to choose from
A list of cons for the use of reusable nappies
- Top of the list has to be that it’s a messy job which is why most people choose to use disposable nappies. Like any messy job though, someone has to do it!
- Additional workload for mum and dad in the form of extra laundry
- Not as slim line as disposable nappies so some of your favourite outfits may not fit as well
For me, the biggest cos in the list in the convenience factor. Unfortunately, the younger generation has been brought up in a world where all we know is convenience and anything that strays outside of this is out of the norm. It is this ingrained mindset that makes us automatically brush off the idea of changing to something that we consider hard work, even if it is more beneficial for the environment.
Where can I buy reusable nappies in Suffolk?
So you’ve decided to give them a try but are unsure where to buy? Obviously there is plenty of choice online, but as with many things for our little ones, we often like to see things in person before making a final decision.
We are now stocking reusable nappies from Sunshine and Raebows
We have teamed up with local business Sunshine and Raebows to offer a selection of reusable baby nappies in our Suffolk baby shop at Stonham Barns Park. We have a variety of styles and all sizes in stock along with inserts, boosters, and liners. Feel free to stop by when you’re passing and we will be happy to talk you through the nappies and how they work. Additionally, our Suffolk baby shop stocks a range of baby clothes from Sunshine and Raebows, TagTogs, Little Lavender Bbay Boutique, and many more.
There are also a number of resources available where you can hire cloth nappies and effectively ‘try before you buy’ such as Suffolk Cloth Nappies in Ipswich. You can probably find a similar service in your area just a few google clicks away.