Learn more about the many benefits using real nappies can have and for information on our free real nappy events held at Children's Centres across the district.
- Real Nappies: The facts!
- How do Real Nappies work?
- Free Real Nappy giveaway packs
- Benefits of using Real Nappies
- Exploding the Myths of Real Nappies
- Second-hand suppliers
Currently in the UK about eight million disposable nappies are thrown away each day, which accounts for about three percent of our household waste. Using real nappies can dramatically reduce the amount of waste we send to landfill and minimise our impact on the environment.
Disposable nappies in landfills take hundreds of years to degrade, but also have a big impact through the manufacturing, transport and chemicals they require. Real nappies not only reduce this waste dramatically, but they have an overall lesser impact on our environment.
A cloth nappy is made up of a number of layers. The outer wrap acts as a waterproof layer; whilst the inner lining provides the absorbent layer. Some cloth nappies will come ‘ready made’ and are quite similar to disposables, whereas others may need to be made up in layers as required.
Each nappy will require a final layer consisting of a washable or flushable liner; which acts to catch any solids. At night, booster pads can be added to provide extra dryness over a 12-14 hour period.
Modern real nappies don’t use safety pins, instead they might have Velcro, poppers or an elastic fastening. You can even use traditional terry cloths, but with different folds to suit your baby. Have a look at our Nappy-Origami guide in the related downloads at the bottom of this page for a free guide to folding.
Veolia and West Berkshire Council are offering a free giveaway pack containing a handy guide, wet bag, two popular real nappies and fleece liners. These can be requested through our knowledgeable nappy adviser who will be able to offer you all the advice and information required for you to give real nappies a try. We will have one Newborn trial that can be lent out free for 2 weeks for small babies.
If you are interested in obtaining a free pack or converting to cloth, then please call us on 0203 567 2900 or email us.
Converting to cloth is easier than you may think and there are many benefits for both you and your baby, as well as for the environment too!
- Anecdotal evidence suggests that those children who use cloth nappies become potty trained much quicker than those using disposables as they are more aware that they have been to the toilet.
- Cloth nappies are made from natural materials, which help your child’s skin to breathe naturally as they do not contain any chemicals or gels.
- Real nappies could save you up to £500 per child and this price will rise if the nappies are reused for subsequent children. An initial payment is required for the nappies at the start of use, but this is one-off and you won’t need to pay out for disposable nappies as part of the weekly shop. Although the one of cost for real nappies will be between £300-400; parents will end up spending four times this amount over a two and a half year period.
- There is a vast network of second-hand nappy suppliers, which can reduce the cost even further.
- Washing nappies at home is the cheapest option, but there are also plenty of collection laundry services which cost around £8-10 per week.
For the environment:
- It is predicted that a child will use between 4,000 and 6,000 nappies. These will unfortunately end up in landfill sites and as they decompose give out a harmful greenhouse gas called methane, which contributes to climate change.
- WRAP (the Government's Waste & Resources Action Programme) have calculated that households which use cloth nappies reduce their household waste by up to half compared to those continuing to use disposables.
- Disposable nappies use up to three and a half times more energy to make compared to cloth nappies.
There are many myths surrounding the use of real nappies... here are a few of the facts:
- They leak: Cotton nappies are no more likely to leak than disposables as long as they are fitted correctly.
- They cause a nappy rash: Independent studies show that frequent nappy changing is the key to avoiding a nappy rash and the type of nappy used is not a determining factor.
- They smell once used and have to be sterilised: Used cotton nappies can be stored in either a bucket with a lid or a container filled with water. Both will prevent them from smelling. Modern washing machines clean well enough that there is no need for sanitising cloth nappies.
- Cloth nappies create extra loads of washing: Cloth nappies can be washed with the rest of your families washing. Heavily soiled nappies can be easily pre-washed or soaked. On average, families that use real nappies carry out a wash every 2-3 days. Overall the cost of washing real nappies (including the cost of detergents), is minimal compared to the environmental cost of disposables.
- Nurseries and childminders won’t use real nappies: Nowadays child carers are happy to use real nappies as they are now so widely used. Real nappies also reduce the nurseries costs for the disposal of clinical waste.
- My child is used to disposables; it's too late to convert to cloth: It is never too late to convert to cloth and it will even help to potty train your child quicker, saving you even more money.
The initial cost of purchasing real nappies can be quite expensive, although you won’t be spending continuously as you would with disposables. There are a number of sites that specialise in selling second-hand real nappies, which are a much cheaper alternative. Listed below are some of these sites, which can help to make the changeover to cloth even easier.