“The Blue Planet Effect”. Perhaps the biggest turning point the UK has had on the war against single use plastic. It’s opened so many peoples eyes to the sheer enormity of the problem our planet is facing. There’s been a shift in the water. People are talking about it and starting to “see”. But unfortunately I’m here to be devils advocate….. It’s not enough. It’s no where near enough. Refilling your water bottle and taking your bamboo coffee cup out with you are great steps, I wouldn’t be without either of mine, but if we are going to tackle this issue we need to look at ALL the single use items we use, that maybe are or maybe aren’t as easy to switch. The items that the media aren’t talking about (in a positive way anyway) and aren’t on our supermarket shelves yet. My favourite of these items. Reusable nappies.
Hear me out..
There’s no safety pins, no boiling them on the stove and no rubber pants to squeeze on. They are actually super cute, seriously money saving, easy to use and better for baby. What’s not to love right? Expect the most common question I get asked. “Don’t you have loads of washing though?” Honestly……. Yes. I have tons of washing, but I have a baby and twin 10 year olds in the house who seem to get covered in mud just walking to the car. I’m afraid it comes with the territory, and that’s ok. Another honest answer?! Washing nappies actually helps me keep on top of all the other washing. I do two nappy washes a week and always need to bulk them out so add all our other white bits in for that reason. (Don’t worry there’s a pre wash to get rid of all the yuck before I add other stuff in) so all in all it actually only equates to one extra wash a week compared to what I was doing before just perhaps each wash is fuller.
Now for a little secret….
There’s a secret? Yep. Cloth nappies contain the, how do I put this nicely?.. poonarmies/up the back poos/pooplosions whatever you like to call them. In fact I’ve never had one in cloth. I have however experienced it in a single use nappy the odd time we’ve used them and it’s not something I’m keen on repeating. So that keeps the washing down on that front!!! We actually had a single use nappy in the house that was left over from a friend the other day and I found my partner Mat looking at it. He said “but how can that possibly contain anything? I don’t know how we survived with the boys in these”. At least I know I have a convert.
Legit Facts now.
The average child uses around 6000 nappies in their nappy wearing life. That means the UK is throwing away 400,000 tons of nappy waste a year. Compare that to the 25,000 tons of coffee cups we throw away, you can understand why I want us to think about nappies and not just cups and straws. Although 25,000 tons is still a huge problem (please don’t use takeaway cups) it doesn’t even compare to the sheer scale of the nappy problem. Remember that’s 400,000 tons of toxic waste. Did you know your not suppose to put human waste in the bin? Most disposable nappy packaging actually states you should get rid of any solids down the toilet where it will be sent to a treatment facility and treated properly, before putting it in your household waste. Human waste in landfill it extremely bad. It turns toxic and seeps into the environment. So if your suppose to be tipping the solids down the toilet anyway there’s not much difference right?
Then there’s the cost.
Buying those 6000 single use nappies is going to cost you 800-1000 pounds over the average 2.5 years your child is in nappies. Compare that to around £300 on buying reusables. This figure could also be cheaper depending on what brands or type of nappies you use. So think of the saving if you used those nappies on subsequent children!!
I do however understand that £300 in one hit is too much for many families. I knew I wanted to use cloth before I was pregnant so brought a few a month throughout my pregnancy so that the cost didn’t feel too much all at once, although I wouldn’t recommend doing too much of this as once your baby is here you will find you like or dislike certain types and brands. But perhaps buying a few to start with and then putting a little bit of money away each month to buy the nappies once you know what you like is a great idea.
Here’s where your top resources come into play. Number one, a nappy library. Heard of a sling library? where you go to see some slings, try them on, talk to an expert. Well it’s the same just with nappies.
Secondly, your local council. Unfortunately my council doesn’t have one of these schemes but up and down the country councils actually give you money to buy nappies!!! Some give you cash back. Some give you vouchers. Some discount codes. But they want you do to this, so take advantage. It saves them money in the long run, because the collection and disposal of single use nappies is an expensive business.
So I hope that’s maybe given you something to think about. It’s not for everyone and I understand that but give it a go. It might just surprise you.