We did it! We are very nearly a full-time MCN (Modern Cloth Nappy) family.
I can hear your thoughts. “But the extra washing load! ..But the messy hands! ..But the costs!” One month ago I had the exact same thoughts. So in my true nature, I researched and researched some more. I hoarded articles on my mobile whilst breastfeeding my son to sleep. I binged YouTube reviews and tips while my toddler ate breakfast, lunch, and dinner and any other moment I could squeeze.
I became obsessed with the idea that I could make such an enormously positive environmental impact. And it turns out once you know more about it, you learn just how easy, clean and budget-friendly it can be.
Here are some key points about disposable nappies which I found awful:
- Once nappies end up in a landfill, they can take around 500 years to decompose
- Australians use around 5.6 million nappies per day
- This means that over 2 billion used nappies go into landfill sites in Australia each year
- The nappy problem isn’t just confined to Australia; for instance, Americans use 27.4 billion disposable nappies each year, which is enough waste to stretch to the moon and back 9 times
- The manufacturing process for disposable nappies uses significant amounts of water and energy. This contributes to energy waste and pollution on a large scale and also links to other problems associated with deforestation and non-sustainable sourcing
- When nappies are placed into landfill, certain bacteria and viruses are at risk of soaking in to our groundwater and causing subsequent contamination problems. This is why we have sewers instead of bins
- The gel used for absorbency within disposable nappies is toxic if exposed to. If a child stays wet long enough, this can leach through into the most sensitive area of their body
All of this enthused me to make a slow swap to reusable nappies. So I started small. I bought 5 reusable pocket nappies and they lasted me one afternoon between my sons. Washing was easy; one rinse cycle and then my regular load was added to the machine and they were hung out in the sun with my regular washing. No extra loads and no messing about! As for costs, I looked back through my online grocery shop receipts and added up 6 months worth of disposable nappy purchases. I then kept a diary of how much I was spending on reusable nappies and any accessories. It was clear from the beginning that we would be making a saving. Not right away. But considering we have two boys in nappies and plenty more nappy-wearers to come, it would repay itself enormously, and very quickly.
At the moment, my boys are still wearing disposables overnight. I have plans to change this in the near future as we grow more accustomed to the process and as the reusable liners become more absorbent after a few weeks of washes. In the meantime, I’m feeling GREAT about our environmental impact. We also use an old towel cut into squares, as wipes with warm water.
I’m happy to report that recently, I found my nappy-soul-mate (yes, I did just say nappy-soul-mate). I found a YouTube video by Bare & Boho. A local Australian designer (tick!) whose ethos is minimal and ethical (tick, tick!) who wanted an easy, reusable nappy system (tick, tick, tick!) So I’ve now switched to using this brand as my main form of MCN.
Here are some great Australian resources if you are flirting with the idea of making the change. Remember, you don’t need to jump with both feet first. Baby steps!
– Plus, plenty of Blog posts, Facebook groups and YouTube reviews!
Are you a responsible cloth nappy family? I would love to hear your tips and recommended Australian brands!
Written by Shona