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Cloth vs disposables?!

Wanna hear something funny? Well, here’s a good one: Some people actually tell me that cloth nappies are worse for the environment than disposable nappies. Yes, that’s right – Worse. The only problem is, they’re not joking. 

Unfortunately, in an era where some politicians think climate change is rubbish, I suppose nothing should surprise us. But, as crazy as it is, we thought it was time to debunk this myth once and for all. 

For starters, CHOICE – the highly respected Australian consumer advocate – makes it clear in their 2014 Nappy buying guide: “For environmental and financial reasons you can’t go past MCNs (modern cloth nappies.)” 

But let’s break it down. A child uses an estimated average of 4000+* nappies in a lifetime. The plastic in disposable nappies is made from oil – about 1 cup of crude oil per nappy, to be precise. The absorbency is made from wood pulp. The manufacturing process creates carbon emissions (about half a tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent over two-and-half years).

And if you’re concerned about water usage, consider this: A disposable nappy requires about 37 litres of water to manufacture. By comparison, a cloth nappy only uses a few litres of water to wash in a machine (Most 4-star washing machines use about 10 litres of water to wash 1 kg of laundry, according to the Australian Department of Agriculture).

But there’s more good news. The most recent update to a study on the Life Cycle of Nappies, published by the UK’s Department for Environment, shows that reusable nappies are up to 40% per cent better for the environment, depending on how they are used. And that doesn’t even take into account, the impact of landfill and soil contamination from disposable nappies! Furthermore, you probably already follow the recommended guidelines for maximum environmental benefit:

  • Dry pail nappies, don’t soak them before wash
  • Air dry, don’t tumble dry
  • Use an energy efficient washing machine
  • Wash in temps below 60C
  • Wash in fuller loads
  • Use an eco-friendly detergent
  • Reuse on a second child, pass nappies on or buy them second hand 

Even better, here at Bambooty, our nappies are designed to make it easy to “do the right thing”:

  • Stain resistant layer eliminates need for soaking
  • All-in-two nappy options reduce drying time and minimise need for tumble drying
  • Bulk packages and BASICs options mean you can buy enough nappies to allow time for air-drying
  • Organic cotton and bamboo materials further reduce ecological footprint
  • High quality means they can be reused on more than one child. 

In short, using cloth nappies is not only a lot better for the environment, it puts you in the driver seat for controling the impact as well as controling what is going on your baby's skin.


Still not convinced? Let’s go back to Australia’s beloved CHOICE for the last word: “Despite the environmental costs of fabric production and nappy laundering, cloth nappies that are dry-pailed and mostly line-dried still come out ahead of disposables.”


So next time, someone tries to tell you disposable nappies are best for the environment, tell them they’ve got to be joking!

Baby holding earth


*an average of 6 nappies/day for 2 years

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