Why Cloth Nappies?

A consequence of using disposable/single use items is the prevailing attitude of 'out of sight out of mind' or that by throwing something away it does go 'away'. Unfortunately that isn't the case is it? It's really helpful to break things down and look at exactly what is being disposed of. 

How Many?

For the purposes of this breakdown we will use the average of 6

nappies a day. This is an average take from using more on a newborn

and less on a toddler and across those with heavier and lighter wetters. 

If you multiply 6 by 365 days in the year you have total of 2190. 
Members of the UK Nappy Network found that around 30 used

nappies fit in a standard bin liner comfortably for size and weight.

So.... over a year one baby produces 73 bin liners of waste in nappies

alone. We can extrapolate that out over the 2.5 years the average

child uses nappies for (183 bin liners) and also to account for

multiple children. 


You get the idea. It's a LOT of waste in your bin. Waste tends to be measured in weight so let's have a look at that. 
A used disposable nappy weighs around 195g (nappicycle.co.uk) so again using the average of 6 we have 1.17kg of waste a day and 427kg a year. Over the 2.5 years that's 1,068kg. Over a metric ton of nappy waste per child. 

How much?

What most people tend to focus on is cost. So here we go:
Using the figure of 6p a nappy (based on a brief look at

supermarket average across brands) and the 6 used a day

the totals are: 36p a day, £131.40 a year and £328.50 over

the 2.5 years. 

But what about wipes I hear you say? Well the average price

of a packet of wet wipes is 80p, I'm told they last most people

about a week. Totalling £41.60 a year. We all know that if you

have wet wipes around they get used for way more than just

wiping bottoms so this is probably a conservative estimate.

And to be thorough let's include nappy bags (at 1p each) which

adds on another £21.90 to your total. 

Let's say an average spend on nappies for one child is £194.90.

All of which are thrown away producing 73 bin liners weighing

Now, in Suffolk our waste is incinerated in the Energy from Waste

plant. This is preferable to waste but still nowhere near as

preferable as reduction and reuse.

We can't promise to reduce the amount of nappies you have to

change but we can minimise the amount of nappy waste produced.

You can see from these figures that even

by using 1 reusable nappy a day straight away removes 12 of those

bin liners from the pile. 


It's very common to read comparisons looking at the financial cost of

Reuseables vs disposables. And here I think it's possible to be honest.

You can spend £20 each on a reuseable nappy. And if you used them

full time and washed every other day you would probably need 15-20.

If you used them to 2.5 years old from birth then it's still

less than the £427 we worked out earlier but not significantly

enough to get excited about. If I told you that you could

set yourself up to use cloth nappies full time for less

than £100 that would change things right? So you would

save yourself over £300. And yes...of course you can use

reuseable wipes too. Maybe spending £20 on those?

That's half the cost of using disposable ones for a year. 


HOLD ON!!!!!!!!

You thought I forgot about washing!! Members of the UK Nappy Network worked out that factoring in water, electricity, detergent and wear and tear the average cost per wash of nappies is 45p. And every other day washing which probably is more often than you need to wash makes a yearly total of £82. 13. 

Adding together the £100, the £20 and the £82 and getting £202 for a yearly cost of reuseables.
Adding together £131.40, £41.60 and £21.90 and getting £194.90 for a yearly cost of disposables. 
Similar figures. However in year 2 or 3 or 4 YOU DON'T HAVE TO BUY ANY MORE REUSEABLE NAPPIES OR WIPES. So your total costs are just the washing costs. And then say you used those nappies on a second child!! 
Which ever way you spin it reuseables are a significantly cheaper option if you want them to be.


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