When you’re a new parent, your world revolves around nappy changes. Babies go through piles of nappies and they could easily use up to 4,000 to 6,000 disposable nappies by the time they are potty trained!
While disposable nappies may seem more convenient, their environmental impact is devastating. Disposable nappies are the third largest single consumer item in landfill. Once they reach landfill, nappies take up to 500 years to degrade, releasing methane, and other toxic gasses which go directly into the environment via our waterways.
The good news is that there’s a wide range of eco friendly nappies readily available and a growing number of parents are making the switch in order to help the environment and safeguard their children’s future on our planet.
Reusable cloth nappies and eco disposable nappies are some of the best alternatives on the market today.
Reusable nappies are washable alternatives to disposable nappies, often made from natural fibers such as cotton, bamboo or microfiber, while eco nappies are single-use diapers that break down naturally.
They’re both made from plant-based ingredients and are more environmentally friendly compared to disposables.
Let’s look at some of the unique benefits they have to offer so you can make the best choice for your little one.
Advantages of reusable cloth nappies
On average, 20 billion disposable diapers are added to landfills every year, creating a whopping 3.5 million tons of waste. Each disposable nappy takes hundreds of years to break down in a landfill. You can save thousands of disposables per child from landfills by going cloth. Though you will use more water and power when you are washing reusable nappies, it is still far less water than is used in the production of disposable nappies, and modern washing machines use far less water and power than previous generations of washing machines.
Easy to use
Cloth nappies are no longer the dreaded towels of the past. Modern reusable nappies are almost as simple to use as disposables. Some even come shaped, elasticated, fastened, and fun prints.
You don’t need to pre-soak or boil them, simply toss them in the washing machine and it’ll do the hard work for you.
Good for baby’s health
Disposable nappies contain super absorbent polymers and a myriad of other chemicals which could pose a health risk for your baby and aggravate their skin, causing rashes and skin allergies.
In contrast, reusable nappies are chemical free and made up of natural fibres including cotton, bamboo and hemp which are more gentle for your baby’s skin.
You can reuse cloth nappies countless times, which makes them an incredibly pocket-friendly investment. Once you have an adequate supply, you won’t need to spend an extra dime on nappies! Reusable nappies can save you over €1000 on one child alone and they’ll last until your child is potty-trained.
Life happens and you may find it difficult to keep track of how many diapers you have left. With reusable nappies, you won’t live with the constant fear of running out. You’ll have one less thing to worry about on your busy baby schedule.
Planning to have another baby? No worries, your current stock of reusable nappies can be used for your next child. That’ll be one less errand and one less expense.
If you’re lucky, you can use them for your third and fourth child!
Tips on using reusable cloth nappies
- Check your specific detergent guidelines from your cloth nappy brand and make sure to use an approved detergent to avoid ruining your nappies.
- Wash reusable nappies on a cold cycle before putting them in a normal hot wash.
- Line dry or air-dry the nappies.
- Use an energy efficient washing machine.
- Put nappy covers to add a waterproof layer.
- Use fasteners to keep the nappy in place.
We used Bambino Mio reusable nappies with our kids. They are an excellent nappy and come in colourful, fun designs.
What about eco disposable nappies?
If you are still not ready to make the leap to reusable cloth nappies, or you would like to use them alongside disposable nappies, you could consider using one of the more eco-friendly brands of disposable nappies that are available. These also have many advantages compared to regular disposable nappies such as:
Unlike regular disposable nappies, many eco nappies are made from organic materials which easily break down in three to four years. However, even the most biodegradable eco nappies will take time to break down and must be in the right conditions. It's important to look at the production process when it comes to eco nappies. Many eco brands will use much more eco friendly processes, such as using organic cotton or sustainable wood pulp, as well as using less plastic and chemicals.
Since eco-nappies are made of natural breathable materials, they are great for babies with sensitive skin. They have no harmful chemicals or artificial fragrances so you can be confident your baby won’t develop any skin irritation.
Being able to throw away your diapers instead of washing them (as with reusable nappies) is definitely a plus. You can save on water, soap and utility bills.
Beaming Baby, Bambo, and Eco by Naty Nappies are our top eco picks here at Storkbox.ie. They are 100% free of chlorine, perfumes, latex, alcohol, PVC, TBT and Dioxin. They are soft, comfortable, highly-absorbent and easy to use. On top of that, they come in sophisticated designs and different sizings to fit any baby. We used these brands along with reusable nappies when our kids were in nappies, and we loved them.
The bottom line
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to choosing what type of nappies you’ll use on your little one. Switching from disposables has never been easier for parents seeking to be more eco-conscious. By buying eco-friendly alternatives such as reusable nappies and eco nappies, you’re making an ethical decision to take care of your child and our planet at the same time.