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Biodegradable nappies

(32 Posts)
blushingmare Sun 14-Oct-12 03:55:04

I want to try biodegradable nappies as feel so terrible about the landfill we're producing with our trusty Pampers. The problem is, I really do think Pampers do a brilliant job of keeping her little bum dry, comfy and rash free. She produces ALOT of wee at night and has leaked several times with other nappy brands, but Pampers Baby Dry keep her dry for 12 hours straight and also are relatively good at containing the more explosive poos! So I'm nervous about switching and don't want to risk (more than usual) disturbed nights, or even worse, any nappy rash. Would interested in hearing others' experiences of biodegrade nappies. Thanks.

ValiumQueen Sun 14-Oct-12 08:43:10

I think biodegradable nappies only biodegrade if you dispose of them in a compost type place. If they go with your regular rubbish they do not get the chance to degrade faster. I have not used them so cannot help.

As you clearly care about the environment,would you consider washables? There is a wealth of information and support on these threads.

blushingmare Sun 14-Oct-12 10:41:02

Really? That's no good and definitely not worth making the change for if that's the case sad. I thought they would compost down in landfill, but it just takes less time? I have thought about reusables, I really have, but I just can't get my head round how they'd work. I seem to be washing non stop as it is (extremely sicky baby) and the drying is so hard - no drier, so just have baby clothes hanging around the house constantly, and with winter coming and drying taking longer that's only going to get worse. Can't imagine adding nappies to the mix! And I have to confess whenever I start thinking about reusables and looking into the options, my head explodes with the different systems that are available and how you're supposed to manage them confused

jaggythistle Sun 14-Oct-12 10:48:41

i use Nature Babycare ones, not for environmental reasons, but because i have very sensitive wee bums in my house and they seem to suit them better. (had to try a few types after horrible nappy rash)

they are great quality and i have used them for almost 2 years now. they are a bit more expensive, but i get them in Boots and therefore get a free pack with my points after a few!

i did also consider reusables, but i know i just don't have the time or patience. blush Baby DS2 is a v frequent pooper so I'd need a lot...

I use a combination of washables & Nature Babycare eco nappies.

Washable nappies are great, I don't have a dryer and just hang them on the radiator. You can buy ones that are quick drying.

The eco nappies are not in my opinion the best nappies (Lidl are), but they don't have any nasties in them like the others. That sold them to me.

ValiumQueen Sun 14-Oct-12 11:43:52

There are washables that dry overnight on an airer even in winter. I fully understand you do not want even more washing. I never use a dryer btw, and have bamboo for nights and they take 3 days to dry! Maybe in the future when baby is less sicky?

I think it is worth researching the rate of decomposition as I have only heard this. The price would put me off tbh.

Phineyj Sun 14-Oct-12 11:59:03

I have been researching this and I discovered some work that's been done on Ireland into successfully composting nappies (I found two brands - Moltex and one other - would have to check on name -- they weren't any more expensive than other types of nappies, but you'd probably have to mail order).

I checked with our local council waste people (we are in south London) and they admitted there is no rule against home composting nappies - although they clearly thought I was mad! We have a largish and not overlooked garden so it would be quite practical to add several more compost bins -- they are provided at heavily subsidised cost by the council -- and I thought better than stinky disposables in the dustbin (we have fortnightly collections) or than washing "real" nappies in the washing machine, which is in our kitchen, where we eat...bleurgh!

However I am not sure compostables are going to compost quickly enough to make this practical. I am doing a small experiment on the two different brands to see if they compost within 3 months (am going to check on them in a few weeks, as I buried them in early August). I also noted that the Irish studies were done with worm composters, and when I looked into that I decided having to manage worms as well was a bridge too far and possibly meant I was actually mad for considering it and not just 'mad by local council standards'.

If I haven't put you off I can send the links to the various sites and studies I looked at.

However, I understand that putting compostables into landfill is a bad idea & you might as well use Pampers etc, as the last thing you want is semi decomposed nappies in the middle of a landfill. So seeing as I need to use a nursery when the baby is older, even if this works I'm still going to need some sort of alternative (also I can't imagine bringing nappies home from trips to cafe/other people's houses, to compost).

FWIW, I think this could turn out to be one of those things that is considered relatively normal in future, rather like recycling has become normal when it used to be considered rather weird. After all, our landfills are nearly full in the UK.

ValiumQueen Sun 14-Oct-12 12:03:54

How about a washable nappy laundry service? That way you use the washables but do not have to wash them yourself?

comixminx Sun 14-Oct-12 12:44:34

Drying washable nappies - you can use radiators as mentioned above or we have one of those electric airers from Lakeland, very easy.

ValiumQueen Sun 14-Oct-12 12:55:50

I am sorely tempted by the Lakeland airer. Pennies to run, and if you put a sheet over it is even quicker apparently.

blushingmare Sun 14-Oct-12 18:21:43

Phineyj that's an interesting experiment you're carrying out there! Please let me know how it goes - I'd love to know the results! And yes I'd be interested in those links if you still have them thanks. Valium I haven't discounted reusables, but I think maybe will revisit the idea later when not feeling so overwhelmed by everything else even though dd is 4 months old I still seem to have little time for anything other than feeding and settling to sleep, and maybe getting a bit more sleep so mind can focus on such decisions blush!!

However day 1 of my biodegradables trial has not gone well. Have had her in 2 brands - Nature Baby and Beaming Baby, and have major leakages from both. Haven't managed to get decent wear from a single nappy today, so not holding out too much hope...! I must have a wee and poo monster for a baby because other people don't seem to have these problems! envy

blushingmare Sun 14-Oct-12 18:41:11

Also, I'm probably being really thick here, but can someone explain to me why it's a problem for biodegradable nappies to decompose in landfill? I don't understand why this is a bad thing - I thought they just rot down quicker in the landfill and are therefore taking up less room, but I'm obviously missing something. And presumably this is the case for all biodegradable things we have - like packaging, carrier bags, etc, but noone tells you you need to do anything special to dispose of these things so what's the point if everyone's just putting it all out with their main rubbish? confused

ValiumQueen Sun 14-Oct-12 18:48:00

Oh dear. How very frustrating. As mentioned upthread, Aldi nappies are pretty good. Other people do have problems I am sure, but very few mums will openly admit any 'failings' in real life.

ValiumQueen Sun 14-Oct-12 18:49:57

I thought landfill was only for things that did not break down? I do not know. Hopefully the links mentioned earlier will help.

LittleBearPad Sun 14-Oct-12 18:58:28

We use nature ones and they've been great. I have been pretty conservative with size and moved my DD up a size as soon as it seemed remotely necessary. She's in them all night 7-7 too and no issues so far.

ValiumQueen Sun 14-Oct-12 19:15:18

It is because biodegradable things produce methane which is 23 times worse for the environment than CO2. Biodegradable things are not meant to go to landfill because of the methane. Not that I understand much about this you understand. I am no scientist.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 14-Oct-12 19:22:31

We used the nature ones with DS, but found when he was bigger that he only stayed dry at night in Huggies (something to do with the shape, I think), so our compromise was Nature for day and Huggies for night.

Phineyj Sun 14-Oct-12 19:26:47

That was my understanding too ValiumQueen - you're not meant to put biodegradable things in landfill because they are surrounded by non-biodegradable things there and so it doesn't work (bit like filling your compost bin with plastic I suppose).

Personally, I think a lot of the things that say they are biodegradable are probably "greenwash" but with the plastic bags, I suppose at least it means in the sea and when they are lying about in the environment they will eventually rot?

Here are the links blushingmare:

The Irish stuff (it's a rather amateur website - use the links down the left hand side to access the various pages):

I got some free samples here for my composting experiment:

I must say I checked on them today (buried them 17th Aug) and not much composting is going on so far, but I gave them a good watering and will check again in November. The baby is due Dec 21st so I need to make a decision either way by then.

My DH is not very keen I must say, but I reckon he'll give it a go if I can prove the things will biodegrade without doing the worm thing. I noticed today some of the right sort of worms had found them all by themselves though.

LOL, if this works I can annoy the council by becoming the local nappy composting expert (what I really want is to get the council to set up their own nappy composting site, as they do for garden waste and so on). It might just work - the borough has a good track record for trying new things.

Phineyj Sun 14-Oct-12 19:27:03

Sorry forgot to make the links into links...

didireallysaythat Sun 14-Oct-12 19:33:18

I use moltex - I don't think they make any claim that the are truely biodegradable, and we are putting them into landfill so they are going to rot as slowly as everything else in there. However I think the resources used to make them may be less than other nappies. will send you free samples if you want to try different types of nappies - their customer support is good and they were the cheapest place I've found for them (I buy boxes of 140+)

BikeRunSki Sun 14-Oct-12 19:34:54

I used cloth during the day with DS and Bambo bamboo disposables at night/on holiday/ when out and about. I am now doing the sane with DD. I have never had any problems with the performance of the Bambos. I did try to compost some at home, but it was rather smelly having the nappies hanging out in the garden. Even with worms, nothing much had happened after three months and I threw them away. My local authority incinerates rather than landfills, so I figured I'd rather have them burn bamboo than whatever Pampers et al are made of.

Phineyj Sun 14-Oct-12 19:37:49

Good point BikeRunSki, I ought to check what they do with the black bin rubbish round here. Burning bamboo's got to be better than burning plastic.

didireallysaythat I don't think moltex do claim that - the study in Ireland was done by a university department and they used worm composting which is different to general garden composting - that's why I was trying it out.

BiscuitCrumbsInBed Fri 19-Oct-12 09:01:55

phiney very interesting experiment, pls update as to how it goes?

I used beaming baby and bambo on DD for the first 11 months, had a few leaks at the beginning with the explosive breastfed poos but no worse than anyone else i know who was using pampers. I just put them in my black bin bag, on the basis that I know it's not perfect but surely they will rot down a bit? But sounds like I may be wrong on that after reading hhis thread! Switched to washables at 11 months after doing a trial and thinking/fearing I would be a massive hassle and it wasn't at all! I was too exhausted / overwhelmed to do it sooner but now use washables all the time except at night.

blushing or anyone who is considering washables, it's worth checking out the 'try cloth for £10' from fill your pants website to give you a feel for the different nappies.

blushingmare Fri 19-Oct-12 18:24:01

The more I read up about biodegradable products the more incensed I become! I mean there really is no point in having them unless they are disposed of properly and we just don't have those facilities widely and easily available. It therefore becomes simply a marketing ploy to allow companies to charge more for supposed green credentials angryangry How has there not been some kind of Panorama story about this?! Or maybe there has and I missed it, but I'm pretty sure most of the population doesn't know you need to dispose of biodegradable products specially. (considering name change to Disgustedoftunbridgewells....)

Biscuit - thanks for that - I'll look it up.

BiscuitCrumbsInBed Sun 21-Oct-12 10:10:23

Has anyone used/heard of gNappies? I've just seen them on ocado, it's a system with washable pants but compostable/biodegradable insert. Might be worth a look?

billybob7 Mon 22-Jul-13 14:40:48

Hi girls! I have been really worried as I am expecting my baby and I am an absolute freak when it comes to composting and making sure everything goes in the right place. So I have just stumbled upon an interesting read about the gNappies and Hotbins (I have a hotbin which I use for my garden composting in which all sorts of food - cooked or uncooked goes and up until now it works flawlessly - it has thousands of massive worms in it making sure they do not leave anything behind - the worms came into the bin by themselves (it is not a wormery)) and wanted to share with all of you what I read today :
Also had a look on the gNappie website and those nappies look amazing -
Let me know if you have already experimented with the gNappies as I am due in February and I might to start another Hotbin before winter comes in as you need to get it hot before throwing masses of nappies in it.

TonyCal Tue 22-Oct-13 23:30:02

Hi Sorry we missed the post. If anyone would like a copy of the case study and test results of home composting disposable nappies I can provide, or follow the link to our blog:

If you would like more info on how and why there are different reports on how fast they compost or what happens in to them in landfill we can also provide.

anderel Thu 24-Oct-13 22:23:53

I've looked into this and have concluded composting nappies is not viable. For starters, it's illegal to home compost pooey nappies. Then there's the fact that you would need a HUGE compost bin/pile to deal with all the nappies. I found a NZ company that makes compostable nappies and has pics of the degradation on their website. Basically they put one nappy in a standard sized garden compost bin and after 3 months it still looked like a nasppy, but black. Hmmm. Apparently it had broken down by 30%. Sorry I can't seem to find any relevant links.

billybob7 Mon 28-Oct-13 13:55:37

Hi TonyCal - can you please let us know about how fast do they compost and whether you know if Hotbin will compost anything but the gNappies??Have you had any experience composting nappies of any sort and if yes - which brands? Thanks

Hi anderel - why is composting nappies illegal? Where does it say that ... and it's legal to fill the landfill? I don't get it. Thanks

anderel Wed 30-Oct-13 11:40:28

Sorry, late night posting made for some factual errors! Home composting poo is not recommended as may not get hot enough to kill pathogens. So, not illegal. Putting poo in council garden compost collection is not allowed for the same reason, but also for health and safety of waste handlers. Many councils require adult hygiene waste (incontinence products)to be double-bagged and incinerated however nappies are free to go with normal waste. Unsure why the double standards. In my county all waste is incinerated...

anderel Wed 30-Oct-13 11:44:38

This is the NZ compostable nappy I was talking about:

billybob7 Fri 08-Nov-13 12:57:15

Hi anderel, I agree with you - it does seem disgusting and not acceptable to compost those types of nappies. However, I think I am going to embark on a experiment myself with the 100% biodegradable nappies (gNappies) and the HotBin which goes to 60C which is supposed to kill all bacteria and pathogens. Will let you know how I get on and whether it had worked smile)

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