Thursday, 11 January 2007

What nappies to use?

It has taken us quite some time to decide what nappies we are going to use. Basically we have considered three choices: normal disposable nappies, washable nappies and "ecological" disposable nappies. At the end we have decided to use the "ecological" disposable nappies. In order to make a decision we have considered firstly the health of the baby and secondly the impact of the nappies to the environment (both during manufacture and once in the waste). We have taken the impact on the environment into consideration because of the sheer quantity of nappies produced and disposed off every year: in a household with one baby 50% of the waste is made of disposables and 4% of the overall waste produced in the UK are nappies (about three billion nappies a year)!!!.

These are the main reasons of our choice.

  1. Normal disposable nappies. We have discarded them because they contain many chemicals and bleaching agents that are suspected of being carcinogen. In addition, their manufacture is quite pollutant for the environment (because of all the chemicals they use) and once you got rid of them it takes 500 years for a nappy to biodegrade.
  2. Washable nappies. They seem the cheapest option but they involve quite a lot of work to wash and you need a lot of space to let them dry. There are companies that provide the service of collecting your nappies and washing them to very high standards. I guess they use powerful washing powders and drying machines. It is not clear to me how ecological this is, but I am sure somebody has studied it, does anybody know of any study about how pollutant washing is?
  3. "Ecological" disposable nappies. This are the ones we have chosen. I write "ecological" because it is not that they are 100% biodegradable but I think they are a good compromise. The brand we use is Moltex Eco. They perform as well as any of the leading non-ecological brands (they were voted "Best Nappy" by mums on Channel 5 TV). This nappies do not contain chlorine or any bleaching agents nor harsh or unnecessary chemicals like deodorants and bactericides usually found in disposables. They are also certified TBT (Tributyl-tin) free, a potentially dangerous chemical usually found in disposable nappies. They consist of a biodegradable breathable protective film (made out of unbleached cellulose) and absorbent gel of which 80% is conventional gel (polyacrylate) and 20% is biodegradable gel made out of maize starch. To say it in fewer words, it is better for the baby because it does not contain harsh chemicals and it is a step in the right direction from the environment point of view.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for being aware of your choices and making good ones. If more people cared like you, we might be better off!

12 January 2007 at 23:58  
Blogger Farm Wife said...

Your run of the mill cloth diapers are not your only option if you wish to go a more economical route.
There are covers with pads that slip in so only part needs washing...and with a little borax in the wash, they do come clean.

Just a thought.

13 January 2007 at 14:56  
Blogger Awesome Mom said...

Cloth diapers do not take a large amount of space to dry and are really not all that much extra work. I am a cloth diapering mommy and we use what are called fitted prefolds. They are pretty much the shape of a disposable and have a extra pad sewn to the front so you can customize your absorbency. Over those you put a cover. They dry quick since there are not a lot of layers all bunched up. I put them in the dryer for an hour and they are nice and dry. All in ones will take longer since there are so many layers all bunched together.

Washing the diapers only involves a minimal amount of detergent (a lot less than I use for my own clothing since I do not want to cause build up) baking soda in the initial wash and a vinegar rinse. I wash the diapers with a soak first if there are a lot of icky poopy diapers and then put them on a heavy wash which will give me an extra rinse. I have two kids in diapers and wash every two days

You don't have to do disposable and if you do use cloth diapers then you have diapers for your next child. That is what really sold me on it since I am a thrifty person at heart. There are a lot of options out there so I recommend joining a cloth diapering group and reading what others are doing before spending a ton of money on something that might not work for you.

13 January 2007 at 19:34  

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