One thing I’ve become more passionate about since having a child is how much we, as society, care about the planet. I dread to think what the world will be like when Penny is my age but I’d like to think I made a conscious effort not to contribute to the vast amount of rubbish that is created daily. This year our family will be making 12 changes to improve our environmental impact. I would love to be a zero waste house hold so we’re starting our journey with that aim in mind. Each month I will be making a change in our house which I intend to stick to for the foreseeable future. Making one considered change per month seemed to make this huge task of becoming Zero Waste more manageable.
January – Cloth Nappies
Ok – so our first swap has been easy. Penny has been in cloth nappies since she was 4 months old and will remain that way until potty trained. We were putting out 4 bin bags of nappies a week – granted we chose to use Eco brand Natty nappies and biodegradable nappy bags – but the site of those bags really was awful! We visited Penny Broderick at the Worcester and Hereford Nappy Advisory Service and borrowed a trial nappy kit.
98% of people who borrow kits do convert to using washable nappies, but it is worth knowing that cloth nappies don’t have to be used full time. Even one cloth nappy a day saves 365 a year from landfill, and saves you money in the process!
To start with we really didn’t get on well and there were MANY leaks – but it didn’t take us long to work out which style is best for Penny and master the fitting. We chose to buy a range of Baba and Boo nappies and it really is one of the best decisions I have made for Penny. They fit beautifully, come with super absorbent bamboo inserts as standard and the patterns are just stunning!
Summarised from the WHNAS website:
Most credible sources say a child will need around 6 nappies a day over an average of two and a half years. Using cheap supermarket brand nappies at 8p each, and ignoring nappy sacks and wipes for now, that is 6 changes x 547 days = 3,282 nappy changes, at 8p each = £262.56. Using high end branded nappies or “eco” disposables at 32p each = £1,050 plus nappy sacks at an average of 5p each = £164.10 so total cost of disposable nappies = £426.66 to £1,214.10 depending on brand used.
Technically, you can “cloth bum” a child from birth to potty absolutely free if you are happy to use very basic nappies that have been pre-loved, however most people prefer to buy all-in-one, quick drying, stylish, birth-to-potty style nappies which can cost from £4 new up to around £20 depending on the quality, ethics, manufacturing costs etc of the nappies. The most popular brands work out at around £8 per nappy on average and to “cloth bum” full time, washing every 2-3 days, you would need 25 nappies = £200.
The UK Cloth Nappy Library Network worked out that a 60 degree wash on a cotton cycle with high spin, then line-drying (as we mentioned, some nappies are dry within a couple of hours so there is no need to tumble dry) cost an average of 45p. 3 loads a week at 45p over 2 years = £140.40 and a large wetbag to hold 20 nappies whilst waiting to be washed is approx £8 so total cost of cloth nappies = £348.40
If cost alone doesn’t convince you then the wast figures might. The Environmental Agency figures for disposable nappies in landfill estimate 0.86 tonnes PER CHILD. This is approximately 6 extra black bags of household waste every month.
Keep an eye on my blog for next months reduced waste change!