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reusables .v. biodegradable disposables

(18 Posts)
GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 19-Aug-08 15:35:49

we were initially going to go for reusables for our LO due in october but I'm seriously wondering now if they do make a difference both environmentally and money-wise...

with electricity and water rates rising, would the cost difference over the 2 years really be that much different?

also from an environmental POV, I've heard there's not that much in it either considering the electricity and water used to continually wash (we don't have a tumble dryer which I know would totally negate the environmental impact)

am also aware that although the biodegradable ones are supposed to be better for the environment, but considering they go inot the same landfill it won't actually make any difference once they're surrounded by non-biodegradable stuff

any advice/opinions/thoughts?

BigBadMousey Tue 19-Aug-08 16:02:14

The report that you are thinking of that concluded reusables were just as bad for the environment was very flawed. They have acknowledged this and a new report is due out soon. It assumed people washed their nappies at 90C having soaked them in chemicals and then ironed them hmm. It did not take into account new, very environmentally friendly fabrics such as bamboo and organic cotton. There were other dispcrepancies too.

I use cloth to reduce landfill and to save money. Even with the water and electricity bils rising, I think you'll be very hard pushed to part with as much money as you do with disposables. If you use reusable wipes you will save even more. There is a good market for second hand cloth nappies and many local councils offer a finacial incentive to use cloth.

I used biodegradeable nappies with newborn DS because they contain fewer chemicals and bleach than the normal brands. Research is ongoing into anaerobic degredation in landfill. There is also a lot of research to determine the effecting of using unbreatheable disposables on boys.

There is a lot of choice when it comes to cloth nappies. You can buy a btp set brand new for less than £100, never tumble dry and use reusable wipes and you'll save a lot of money. Many DCs are not potty trained at 2.
If you have more than one DC you can save even more by reusing the nappies.

The trick is to get the right nappy for your circumstances - if environmental factors are important to you then you can choose a quick drying nappy made from an environmentally friendly fabric that is made in the UK.

ilovemydog Tue 19-Aug-08 16:07:07

iron nappies?

RhinestoneCowgirl Tue 19-Aug-08 16:09:39

The Environment Agency report also only looked at a small group of cloth nappy users who as BigBadMousey suggests, didn't seem that typical in their washing and ironing(?!) habits.

The biodegradable disposables are a bit of a red herring as you suggest, as unless you have facilities to compost the biodegradable bits (unlikely in domestic setting), they will just end up in landfill with the rest.

DS has been in cloth since around 6 weeks, he is now 2. I think we have saved money, even tho we do end up with disposables some of the time (e.g. when he goes to his CM). I have a mixture of shaped nappies and bamboo squares - these are great for drying more quickly. I also don't have a tumbler.

For me the main thing is diverting waste from landfill - every cloth nappy you use means one less disposable in the ground...

BigBadMousey Tue 19-Aug-08 16:10:47

yeah - ironed nappies. It probably reads like I said they ironed the chemicals though (should I quit now while I'm ahead?)

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Tue 19-Aug-08 16:24:34

thanks - makes more sense. I wash everything on 30degrees, how much should you wash nappies on?

I really want to do reusuables but just wanted to make sure it wasn't a false financial and environmental economy

our borough doesn't do incentive schemes sadly, but is the Nappy Lady a good place to start to look into which reusuables to use? have heard they're good at assessing your liefstyle so therefore what nappies (ie we have no tumble dryer but also no garden so swift natural drying is of the essence!)

sarah293 Tue 19-Aug-08 16:25:52

Message withdrawn

BigBadMousey Tue 19-Aug-08 16:37:39

I wash everything at 40C. Some people was their nappies at 30C, others 60C. 90C would kill most nappies.

IME Biodegradeable ones don't leak - but I only used them for 3 days grin, disposables leak like mad and cloth rarely leaks (I never get leaks when I use my Motherease Airflow wraps though).

I haven't used the nappy lady but lots of people recommend them. Alternatively there are MNetters who give free tailored advice online (Nappuzone and Bumfluff).

Essie3 Tue 19-Aug-08 17:18:11

I've got a DS mainly using washables, but when we do use the biodegradable nappies he's wet. Right through!

blackrock Tue 19-Aug-08 20:22:47

We used bio ones on newborn, then at three months used washables. DS was a heavy wetter so used bio ones at night. This worked well for us and was the best we could do!

Anglepoise Tue 19-Aug-08 23:26:32

Hey GWTMH grin

If you haven't seen it already, there's loads of info on thenappylady's site, including some stuff about the report saying that reusables are bad for the environment here. Personally I think the landfill issue is one that can't be got round.

Also recommend sites such as - I have a huge pile of reusables that should last for DC1 if not DC2+ and they were well under £100 for the lot (most of them in a £55 bundle)

LackaDAISYcal Tue 19-Aug-08 23:40:10

My DH has done a lot of research about this as part of his job and according to him the biodergradable nappies are a red herring as they need air to be able to degrade properly. If they are just bunged into a landfill site with the rest of your domestic waste, the conditions are anaerobic and they take as long to break down as a non eco nappy. the eco nappies have the edge in their manufacturing processes than some of the big brand name nappies though.

from my POV, the cost to me is of a lesser issue than the cost to the environment from all the nappies that go into landfill, and although we don't use cloth full time due to DDs ongoing nappy rash issues, every time i use cloth it' one less nappy in landfill and that makes me feel a little bit better about it.

PicassoNorks Wed 20-Aug-08 06:42:00

I had heard that as well, LackaDAISYcal, though apparently some local authorities will take bio-dispies with garden rubbish, which helps

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Wed 20-Aug-08 12:05:29

yeah that's what I'd heard too which is why I'm totally confused about it all...thanks for reassurance, think we'll stick with the plan to use reusuables....argh now where the hell to start! have seen various threads below about it so will start searching...

Shorty84 Wed 20-Aug-08 12:31:06

Pampers or huggies are usually good lol

wearymum200 Wed 20-Aug-08 12:38:14

we used cloth mainly, but disposables for holidays etc. I found much less nappy rash from eco-disposables than ordinary ones (esp supermarket own brands). Bear in mind that nappy bags are very bad news (never decompose at all, unless get biodegradable ones)
If you have a garden, eco-disposables can go in a wormery I believe.
And there's some suggestion that cloth nappy wearers potty train (on average) earlier, so less nappies in total

blackrock Wed 20-Aug-08 20:08:13

DS potty trained at 2, and was aware of being wet in a reusable. Made it easy. My best friend uses disposibles and her DS is unaware when he pees - as they take the liquid away.

kazbeth Thu 21-Aug-08 18:59:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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