Washable vs Disposable Nappies: Let’s curb the Myth
Many of us may think that when it comes to choosing a nappy for our little ones, we have to use either the disposable nappy (quick and convenient we think) or the washable nappy (time-consuming and fussy but eco-friendly). The truth is however, that you don’t need to choose one over the other. In fact, using a combination of the two is a great way to save money and reduce your waste.
Let’s bust some common nappy myths to help you choose the right type of nappy for you: cloth or disposable or a combination of both.
Myth #1: Disposable nappies are quicker and more convenient than washables
Try telling this to the family that runs out of disposable nappies in the middle of the night. While disposable nappies are available in a variety of shops, once you have your stock of washable nappies in place you never have to worry about running out.
While many of us may think that washable nappies require safety-pins and complicated folding, modern washable nappies have actually done away with most of this. They are made from quick drying fabrics and use poppers or Velcro to secure them – no safety pins needed. Most also come shaped just like a disposable nappy, the only difference is that they are much more colourful and cute to look at!
If you are worried about convenience, why not consider using washable nappies when you’re at home and bringing disposables for when you are out-and-about? For each washable you use at home, that’s one less to buy as well as one less being sent to landfill.
Myth 2: Cloth Nappies and washing them costs a fortune
You will change anywhere from 4,000-6,000 nappies for your baby before they are potty trained. So, while it is true that the initial start-up cost of washable nappies is high with about 20 nappies needed at approximately £10 per nappy, over time they pay for themselves and then some. Cloth nappies become even more cost effective if you have more children or can pass them on to friends or family. Our calculations show that disposable nappies can cost twice as much as cloth in the long run- and that’s including the cost of washing them! The costs are even less if you have more children later.
Myth #3: Cloth nappies are not really better for the environment than disposable ones
In the UK, over 8 million disposable nappies are sent to landfill EVERY DAY! Once buried, usually in the countryside, disposable nappies will take 200-500 years to decompose. Just think, if William Shakespeare had worn disposable nappies, they would still be with us today. Also, even biodegradable nappies are not able to decompose inside a landfill with the absence of sun and oxygen, so what may seem like a good alternative is not suited for rubbish sent to landfill.
While washable nappies do require water and detergent to clean them, modern washable nappies are easy to take care of. They do not need to be washed at a high temperature. In fact, many cloth nappy brands recommend washing at 40 degrees as anything hotter can damage them. Also, they only require half the amount of detergent you would normally use and you can always wash them together with towels or other laundry you may have.
Many parents find the first few months with a new-born baby difficult. Why not try switching to washable nappies at six months? Most babies begin eating solids around this time, which makes cleaning nappies easier and will still keep a significant amount of nappies from being sent to landfill.
Try considering cloth nappies during the day and only using disposables at night or when you go out for the day. There will still be a big cost-savings to your wallet and the amount of rubbish in your bin will shrink dramatically.
Curious to learn more? Post any questions or myths you may hold about cloth vs disposable nappies to our Facebook or Twitter feed. Together we can help bust common nappy myths and keep rubbish out of the landfill- one nappy at a time.