Every time I throw away a nappy, I can’t help but think of it going to landfill. Disposable nappies are the ultimate in convenience – but at what price?
I really, really wanted to give cloth nappies a go. But I’ll be honest and say that I was so overwhelmed with everything I had to think of with a newborn, I took the easy route and stocked up on Pampers.
It’s actually quite a complex debate, this one. Yes, the landfill argument is clear cut. But cloth nappies are not without their drawbacks. Aside from the endless piles of dirty nappies to wash and the time and energy that involves, there is the other cost to the environment – more chemicals used in laundering them and more electricity used in the washing and (in some cases) drying process.
I know of a couple of people who tried the cloth nappies and then paid for a collection and washing service. This sounds like the best of both worlds, but ultimately both gave up on this because the service ended up costing too much and they still had to deal with storing up piles of dirty cloth until their weekly collection was made.
There is no doubt that cloth is much kinder to a baby’s delicate skin than the chemical-treated paper they use in disposables and I understand it can help with earlier potty training too, as the cloth doesn’t soak the wetness away in quite the same way. And of course they do work out a lot cheaper, if you use them from birth and especially if you can ‘recycle’ them with a sibling as there is no further outlay.
As with pretty much every parenting choice, it’s best to consider all the facts – but then make whichever decision feels right for you.