European Week for Waste Reduction #ewwr17 – Reusable nappies versus disposables…

I knew my next blog post was going to be about reusable nappies so when I saw that last week was European Week for Waste Reduction ‪#‎ewwr17‬, I wanted to add in my own thoughts.

Waste is a huge problem in our society and disposable nappies is a biggy. There are loads of easy ways to reduce the amount of waste we create such as ensuring we recycle what we can, reducing plastic use, using reusable bags and swapping to reusable/biodegradable nappies. The Bambino Mio website states that it can take up to 500 years for disposable nappies to decompose, and given that around the world 6000 TONNES of nappies are thrown away every day, it’s definitely worth considering a more eco-friendly alternative. I’ve spent time looking into what’s available so if you fancy giving it a go, I’ve added some links.

With babe number 1 I mostly used Naty Nappies. These are a fair compromise when using disposable nappies as they contain less harmful chemicals and degrade much more easily. I didn’t really have the money at the time to invest in buying cloth as the start up cost isn’t the cheapest. But on the other hand, when you add up the cost of disposable nappies over the whole use, it probably worked out cheaper.  I have since seen another Eco-friendly brand called Kit and Kin which has super cute designs and was created by that little-known Spice Girl Emma Bunton! It’s great to see more choice for disposables which are becoming more affordable too. I decided to change to cloth after I had Louis.

My first lot of nappies were Little Lamb birth-to-potty pocket nappies. There are a number of different types available. you can buy sized nappies or nappies which grow with your baby. I decided these would be more economical. They had poppers to adjust the length and width and inserts of bamboo cotton to absorb the wee. These are a lovely quality but it wasn’t the right type of nappy for us. I found the stuffing of them quite laborious and we lived in a small house which didn’t have much space for drying. The outer part of the nappy dried quickly but the inserts took quite a while to dry. After a few weeks of using them, I wanted to try something else. If you decide use cloth, you get quite into nappies… I can’t believe I got “quite” into nappies. I used to be “quite” into socialising, having a drink or three and going to see my favourite bands. Last year, I got “quite” into cloth nappies. In my defence, there are some awesome designs out there and they do look incredibly cute!


My Tots Bots collection

I discovered that there is a large market for second-hand nappies out there. This will save you a huge amount of money so is definitely worth looking into. I joined a few groups on facebook and managed to build a decent collection quickly but without breaking the bank. I went for Tots Bots and Mio Solo nappies for the day and a selection of Little lambs, Lollipop and Mother ease two part nappies for night time. The Tots Bots have velcro tabs to fasten them and an extra insert which is detachable if you want it less bulky but they are so easy to use as you just push the insert in and they dry quickly too. Two part nappies consist of a thick cloth layer – I chose shaped ones with Velcro fastening, and a waterproof outer wrap. These are intended to last overnight. I found they didn’t quite last for Louis in the beginning as he was a heavy wetter so I would have to change him at least once. However, as he has grown older and no longer feeds at night, it lasts him no bother at all. I have had issues at times with the smell of ammonia! It’s worth looking at your washing regime if you experience stinks. It take some trial and error but you get there in the end.

Cloth nappies need changing more frequently than disposables. They are more prone to leaks and are definitely more effort at times. Since L has grown, I don’t have many leakage problems any more so I don’t have to change him every hour or so! He was a ridiculous wriggler for a few months and changing him was really challenging but it didn’t matter if it was cloth or disposables that I used! It really was a sight to behold watching him at work! Getting a good fit takes a bit of perseverance and there are you tube videos which can help as it’s good to see a visual demonstration.

I have a pretty cute collection of Tots bots. They’re super easy to use too and I’m glad I’ve persevered with them. I also bought reusable wipes and fleece liners. The wipes have helped me cut down massively on using baby wipes and I think they do a better job too. I wet them in a box and use a few drops of lavender oil to keep them smelling fresh. It does take organisation to keep a routine with disposable nappies but once you get into it, it really isn’t too hard. Poops are flushed down the loo, I keep the nappies in a nappy bin in a net bag and once it’s full, I pop them into the washing machine for a long cycle and extra rinses! I’m more organised on outings too and take my special nappy bag out with my which has a pocket for clean ones and a dirty pocket too. I’m sure I’ve saved money in the long run and it’s reduced my contribution of sending nappies to landfill. I know the counter argument is an increased use of electricity and more frequent use of the washing machine which results in microfibers going into the water system. On weighing up the pros and cons I’ve decided to stick with cloth.

I didn’t use them when Louis was a newborn, I know a lot of people do use them from day one but I didn’t purchase them until he was a month or so old. I imagine that’s hard work as the number of nappy changes you have with a newborn is crazy but I think if I could do it again, I would use cloth in those early days and I would absolutely have used them for Penny too in hindsight. One issue I had was a temperamental washing machine…yeah it broke down, twice, with a load of dirty nappies inside! That wasn’t much fun and I had to switch to disposables until it was fixed. Our local council provide bags to get nappies picked up separately from the rest of the household waste and it’s quite a good way of getting a visual on how many are used in a two-week period.

If you’re thinking of trying reusable nappies but don’t know where to start, definitely check out some local selling groups or see if your area has a nappy library where you can buy second-hand nappies. they may not be as convenient as disposable nappies are but even having a few will reduce the number of disposable ones being sent to landfill.

For local readers, the Edinburgh Real Nappy Community are holding a Nappucino on December 1st. Details are available here:



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