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This topic is for discussing nappies. If you want to buy or sell reusable nappies, please use our For Sale/Wanted boards.

That 'green' question again - sorry

(25 Posts)
Lovage Tue 11-Sep-07 18:38:12

I'm really keen to go over to washable nappies. DP wants convincing of the 'green' benefits of washables over disposables. Does anyone know any resources/webpages etc. discussing the flaws in that study that showed that the environmental costs came out similar? I have vague stuff in my head like 'they assumed you washed at 95 o and tumble dried' which we wouldn't, but DP is a sceptical scientist and likes to see the evidence. He wouldn't be convinced by 'the Women's Environmental Network is pro-washables' (I tried that argument!)

bagpuss Tue 11-Sep-07 18:40:38

There is probably tonnes of stuff on the internet if you google. I think that the nappy lady used to have quite a bit on her site (including stuff about persuading reluctant partners wink). Come to think of it there may be some old threads on here if you search.

Chirpygirl Tue 11-Sep-07 18:47:35

Have a look here on the nappy lady website.

For gods sake don't let him find the EA report!

They assumed everyone bought 40 nappies, washed at 90, always tumble dried and ironed them and used fabric conditioner.
I have 15 nappies, was at 40, never iron (it would wreck them!) dry on the radiator and never use fabric conditioner and most other nappy users are the same!

More links about flawedness (?) of study here
1
2

NannyL Tue 11-Sep-07 18:54:59

this i my respone to the EA report...

I have read the whole lot!

www.environment-agency.gov.uk/commondata/acrobat/nappies_1072099.pdf

you will see that this is May 2005 and one of the biggest (the biggest?) studies of its kind. Also the one that most people refer to.

You can read all 130ish pages, + 50 pages of appendix if you like.... OR i will summarise it for you for people who cant be bothered.

ANYWAY

they assume that 1/3 of people wash their nappies at 90c (i disagree!) table5.7
they assume 10% of nappies are ironed (5.14.7)
they assume 60% of nappies are tumble dried.... (if you look it says their survey sugested that 19% of people tumble dry their nappies but because 75% of household use a dryer they decided to use a figure of 60% (off the top of their heads basicaly)(9.3.2)
they assume 50% of people add softner to their nappies . im sure anyone who uses nappies KNOWS that you do NOT ever add softner to nappies cause it stops them from absorbing.... (also consider the enivironmental impact of the softner.... and of manufacturing the softener.... and of driving to sthe supermarket to by the softener and of the softener going down the drain etc etc) (5.14.5)

It also assumes most people SOAK their nappies and allows 10 litres of water per day.... on top of 75 litres per washing machine load.... a large overestimate on the amount of water most modern machines, having recently got a new washing machine trust me i KNOW, so 85 litres of water per day (5.14.2)

They assume that people have 47.5 'terry nappies' nappies per 6 months (9.3.5)...
and then asses the full environmental impact of manufacturing all that cotton to make 47.5 nappies per 6 months.... and its the MANUFACTURE and water used during manufacture that is basically the major environmental 'problem / issue with' washables
also they acknowledge and justify this figure and in the same sentence say that actually only an average of 40 nappies are bought for the LIFE of the child (personally i cant believe that is an accurate average.... does anyone know anyone with more than 40 nappies?... EVERY person i know has LOADS less)


Its is assumed that 12 nappies are washed at a time (5.14.7) and that it takes a WHOLE HOUR to iron 12 cotton nappies.... and they use that figure of electricity... ie an iron on for an hour to iron 12 cotton squares..... Maybe 12 seconds would be more accurate? or 0 seconds for ironing nappies!]

FOR disposable nappies they assume just over 4 (4.05) nappies per day... this is a LOW estimate IMO especially when you consider new born babies (9.1)

In the summary they conclude that reusable users should reduce they energy they use washing and drying nappies.

SO..... they DO over estimate the washing temperatures, water use, tumble dryer use and iron....

they also allow for FAR too many nappies being manufactured (washables) and asses the environmental impact of the commercial manufacture of the cotton...

(no mention of bamboo which is a much more environmentally friendly material and becoming increasing popular with washable nappies)
then there is the fact that loads of people who choose washables are 'environmentally aware' people who are likely to be using less than 'conventional' washing detergents... such as soap nuts or eco balls, and are likely to be using more energy efficient machines, due to the way they think.

the fact that they only allow for 12 nappies being washed per load then 60% tumble dried (when only 19% of their survey suggested they tumble dried their nappies, AND allowed 1 hour of electric for the iron per load).... yet allow for the manufacture of nearly 200 nappies PER CHILD just shoes how ridiculous this whole study was!

{they also allow for nappies to be travel half way around the world to England.... yet several main brands of washables ARE made here in the uk}

and with 2nd babies etc they DONT need to be manufactured... which IS the main issue with washables

don’t forget we bin 8 MILLION disposables per day and for every £1 a parents spends on nappies the tax payer has to spend 10p disposing of them

Lovage Tue 11-Sep-07 18:55:06

He's already seen the EA study, alas!

but thanks for those links - any more anyone?

Lovage Tue 11-Sep-07 18:56:03

Ooh, cross posted with NannyL - thanks for that incredibly detailed reply!

NannyL Tue 11-Sep-07 18:59:03

ur welcome!

Flamesparrow Tue 11-Sep-07 19:00:41

Can you point out the money benefits too? wink

bagpuss Tue 11-Sep-07 19:03:31

NannyL that is a great post. I was going to say that I have just checked the archives on here and there were various discussions at the time which pointed out the flaws. I know there was a mumsnetter who was trying to compile a more accurate report a few months ago, not sure whether they managed it though.

Chirpygirl Tue 11-Sep-07 19:48:11

great post NannyL, that was what I was looking for on MN threads but couldn't cope with trawling back!

Ironing nappies....it makes me grin everytime! I don't even iron my clothes ffs!

Lovage Tue 11-Sep-07 20:08:12

Money benefits probably don't apply for us - DS is 13 months already and may well be an only child (nappylady reckons under 8 months is the point that makes it more likely you'll save money). And I think we'll need some of the more expensive pocket type nappies for the days he goes to nursery. And to be fair to DP, he'd go for washables over disposables even if they were more expensive if he thought it was the environmentally better thing to do.

As you say, ironing nappies!! not going to happen in this household.

Lovage Tue 11-Sep-07 20:14:29

Money benefits probably don't apply for us - DS is 13 months already and may well be an only child (nappylady reckons under 8 months is the point that makes it more likely you'll save money). And I think we'll need some of the more expensive pocket type nappies for the days he goes to nursery. And to be fair to DP, he'd go for washables over disposables even if they were more expensive if he thought it was the environmentally better thing to do.

As you say, ironing nappies!! not going to happen in this household.

Chirpygirl Tue 11-Sep-07 20:20:08

Don't forget resale value though, nappies hold their value really well so you would probably get at least 50% if not more back when you have finished.

PLus you could use washable wipes for some changes which saves another couple of quid a week

pistachio Tue 11-Sep-07 20:22:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Flamesparrow Tue 11-Sep-07 20:24:28

Nah, the money you make selling them on still counts. Ooh and see if your council does a scheme!!

hotbot Tue 11-Sep-07 20:42:44

i believe we saved lots of money using real nappies. we got great ebay deals on new nappies,use flannels not wipes, do soak tho i am sure dds bottom is toxic, dry on ;ine as often as possible. real nappies are great, no nasty chemicals on your los bot

claireybee Thu 13-Sep-07 17:01:20

Agree with NannyL on all except one point - I'm afraid i do have more than 40 nappies blush in different sizes though so not all in use at once. And a lot of them were seconds when I got them, and are now about to be used on my second child. They will then be passed on to my sister (not that he is planning a baby just yet but still...)so manufacturing not really an issue.
Also the amount i have in each size (probably 25-30 lost count a while back grin) means that i can wait until i have a full load before washing (in my A+ rated large load machine). Have never washed fewer than 16 nappies, and is more often nearing 20

claireybee Thu 13-Sep-07 17:02:05

My sister is a SHE btw, not a he!

GemmaJones Thu 13-Sep-07 17:36:42

My daughter is now 18 months and I have been using real nappies since she was two months. We've spent a grand total of £131 on the nappies and about £20 every 6 months on new wraps. Definitely a lot cheaper than disposables over the same period. There's also so many great offers out there - just seen these Ella's House Bumhuggers on <a target="_blank" href="http://www.cleangreennappy.co.uk/product.php?code=EHBH">this</a> site, which seems to have loads of really good advice.

I also followed the debate about cloth nappies. There was a radio phone in on Chris Evans' show, and someone from an online retailer phoned and said that the statistics were really skewed. Can't remember all of it, but the number of nappies, the temperature they were washed at, and the ironing all mean that the survey is being redone. Can't wait for the results!

GemmaJones Thu 13-Sep-07 17:38:24

My daughter is now 18 months and I have been using real nappies since she was two months. We've spent a grand total of £131 on the nappies and about £20 every 6 months on new wraps. Definitely a lot cheaper than disposables over the same period. There's also so many great offers out there - just seen these Ella's House Bumhuggers reduced on this site, which seems to have loads of really good advice.

I also followed the debate about cloth nappies. There was a radio phone in on Chris Evans' show, and someone from an online retailer phoned and said that the statistics were really skewed. Can't remember all of it, but the number of nappies, the temperature they were washed at, and the ironing all mean that the survey is being redone. Can't wait for the results!

micromummy Thu 13-Sep-07 23:47:26

is there anyone in the world who irons nappies??

SAHMof1 Fri 14-Sep-07 12:22:51

Just a question, why does your DH not trust the WEN? They are first and foremost an environmental group that advocates environmentally friendly actions and products.

Secondly, even if the report is right (which it’s not) and our carbon emissions are equal no matter what nappies we use, disposables still create more landfill waste, which in Britain is a big issue.

And if DH has read the report he will (as a scientist, and believe me I know what you mean because my DH is one too and has just done his PhD too!) then the inadequacies of the report are bloody obvious (so my DH tells me).

Even with DS at 13 months, he will probably be in nappies for longer than the 8 months to come, so you will save money, especially if you sell your nappies on again too.

But if it’s the environmental issue, I hope I’ve helped!

preggersagain Fri 14-Sep-07 12:28:08

i have been doing the washable nappy survey for the last few months and tbh it is nearing completion- thanks to all those who took part!!

There are people out there who iron nappies!! believe me grin (but certainly not 10% of nappy users!)

laura032004 Fri 14-Sep-07 16:12:52

I once watched in disbelief as my dad happily ironed my (well DS1's ) Tots. Bless him! He was used to ironing terry squares, and presumed you'd iron all nappies to flatten the pile and make them more comfy.

Difers Sat 15-Sep-07 20:06:42

Preggersagain - Will you have time to e-mail us the results????? I would be very interested indeed.

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