I suppose the question here really should be ‘Are cloth nappies better for the environment than disposable nappies?’ and the answer can depend on how you personally rate certain factors.
So, let’s start at the beginning. You’ve found out you’re pregnant and you want to bring your baby up in as environmentally-friendly a way as possible. It’s all about sustainable living.
You start looking at organic baby clothes, bamboo baby leggings, organic cotton muslin squares and bamboo swaddles. Goodness me, there’s so much to choose from when it comes to your as yet unborn ‘ethical baby’!. You almost feel overwhelmed and you haven’t even thought about what nappies to use yet! Is it better to use disposables or reusables?
Are Cloth Nappies Better than Disposables?
So both sorts of nappies have their good points believe it or not when it comes to trying to be as eco-friendly as possible.
The fact is most parents still opt for disposables. They’re super-convenient and dead easy to use. The trouble is they are made from plastics, paper pulp and highly-absorbent chemicals. So when the 8 million or so disposable nappies end up in landfill sites every day, they create a soup of nastiness. As the disposables break down, they emit methane gas (a greenhouse gas) and leachate, a poisonous liquid , which contaminates the water and soil!
Cloth Nappies are very much on the up and up ,as more and more people start to worry about what the planet will look like when their children grow up. Reusable nappies are generally made from natural fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton or bamboo. Obviously cloth nappies don’t fill up a landfill site, are breathable and cause very few allergic rashes in babies. Many say that using reusable nappies means your child will find potty training easier as they are more aware of their toilet needs. Real nappies are also cheaper even when you bear in mind the cost of washing them.
There is an argument that because cloth nappies use washing powder and a lot of electricity and water for washing and drying, they really aren’t as eco-friendly as was once believed. Look around on Google and you’ll see what a minefield the whole debate is.
And let’s not forget Nappy Rash. Are cloth nappies or disposables best for holding off the dreaded nappy rash? Well it has to be said that disposables are ultimately better at keeping baby dry. But if you make a point of changing cloth nappies more frequently then baby’s bottom won’t be in contact with the wee or poo for so long anyway.
At the end of the day it really is up to the individual parents to decide for themselves. If it helps, The Environment Agency say that there isn’t much of a difference between reusables and disposables as far as environmental impact is concerned.
But have you seen how adorable some of the new cloth nappies on the market are! That’s got to be a massive plus point in their favour surely!