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Nappies; Diapers; Disposables; Reusable? Confused?

Aug 4, 2008
Did you know that diaper bags are one of the hottest selling items on eBay? Every day, lots of people pay over 100 for a bag to carry their nappies in. But at least it is easy to make a choice on what bag you would like - personally I went for a nappy bag that matched my new travel system!

But what about the type of nappies you decide to use. How do you make a decision? I have put together a handy little guide to the pros and cons of each type so that you can make an informed choice.

Disposable nappies:

With over 90% of parents choosing disposables they are obviously the easiest and simplest nappy to use. The benefits are that they are readily available, every local shop stocks nappies. They are very convenient, just take one off, put in a nappy bag and drop in a bin. They are hassle free. There is no lingering smells to deal with or pails of soiled nappies in your home.

But are these benefits really worth the price you pay. Your baby will go through on average 5000 nappies before being potty trained. My experience has shown me that the cheap discount disposables are a waste of money as they leaked and they also caused a horrible nappy rash. If you buy the premier brands, you will pay upwards of 500 for these nappies that are thrown away. But you keep paying in the form of higher council taxes to dispose of these nappies long after your little darling has flown your nest.

Cloth nappies

Towelling nappies have come a long way in the last few years and are gaining in popularity although it will take time to catch up on the disposable market. Cloth nappies are a cheaper option particularly if you reuse them for your subsequent children or donate to second hand shops or charities. Safety pins have been replaced with Velcro and as no chemicals or gels are used in the manufacture of these real nappies they are seen to be kinder to the environment.

The difficulties with towelling nappies are that you have to wash them or arrange for a laundry service. The marketing departments attached to the manufacturers of disposables, point out that the impact of cloth nappies on the environment is just as bad for cloth nappies only more difficult to quantify. They do not overburden our rubbish systems but users of these real nappies tend to use more water, energy and washing powder as these nappies have to be washed and dried.

Even nappy services may contribute to the global warming problem not least due to the petrol consumed collecting all the diapers. Some services also use biological washing powders. You should make sure that your chosen provider is committed to using eco-friendly detergent.

Conclusion

My view on this issue is that you could try a mixture of both. If every baby born in Britain was to be swaddled in a mixture of real and disposable nappies, a huge reduction in household waste would occur. Granted the impact on the landfill problem would not be as beneficial as it would if disposables suddenly went out of production but Rome wasn't built in a day. As that saying goes, every little helps!
About the Author
Pam Pearson is a guest writer for the "Washable Nappies Guide" blog: where you'll find lots of practical advice and guidance on using environmentally friendly nappies.
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