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A nappy, or diaper is a garment that is worn by individuals who are incontinent (someone who has no bladder control). This group includes both babies and toddlers, and some elderly people. There are two types of nappy, disposable and reusable (or cloth).

Disposable Nappies

Modern disposable nappies are generally made of a cloth-like waterproof exterior, a moisture wicking inside layer, and an absorbent inner core (usually a dried hydrogel). Many mothers like using disposable nappies mainly for convenience. Well known brands include Pampers and Huggies.

Reusable Nappies

Modern reusable nappies include:
A washable cloth nappy.
Liner which keeps the baby dry.
Wrap, which is a waterproof cover.
And not a safety pin in sight!

These nappies come in many forms - shaped, flat, all-in-ones, small, medium, large, one size fits all - there is so much choice!

Nappy Facts

Almost 8 million nappies are thrown away every day in the UK. (Source: WEN)

That means 3 billion nappies are thrown away in the UK every year. The vast majority of these (90%) end up in landfill. (Source: WEN)

Using disposables costs 7-10 per week. Most are tossed into the household dustbin and nappies make up to 4% of British household waste. (Source: Wakefield Council)

Using cotton nappies rather than disposables saves roughly 600 for a first child, and 800 for a second child if parents use the same cotton nappies again. (Source: Modern Baby)

Disposable nappies will take up to 500 years to completely decompose. (Source: Modern Baby)

By the time a baby is potty trained, a typical family can get through 4-5 thousand nappies. Which is an estimated cost of about 1000! (Source: WEN)

It is estimated one baby's disposable nappy waste from its nappy years will fill 156 black rubbish bags. (Source: Real Nappies Wales)

An estimated 200 million disposable nappies are thrown away in Wales every year. (Source: Real Nappies Wales)

Why Should I Consider Using Cloth Nappies?

Benefits include:

Cost savings. By using cloth nappies you can save hundreds of pounds - and cloth nappies can also be reused on your second child too.

The Environment. Okay, so The Environment Agency issued a report in 2005 with the conclusion that the environmental gap between disposable and cloth nappies wasn't that great. But we just want to say that this didn't take into account that the UK has little landfill space, disposable nappies take years to biodegrade, or the cost savings, hence a very good reason to use cloth nappies!

There is a lot to choose from - you're not restricted to one item.

I am interested in trying out reusable nappies - where can I buy them?

There are loads of places online where you can purchase these nappies. Although if you're a first time buyer, we would recommend you contact your local council who will put you in contact with a local nappy scheme who will be able to go through all the options with you. Many schemes also provide extras such as a laundry service, demonstrations, or starter trial nappy packs, so there isn't a big upfront cost. Check out the link below for further information on nappies.

Further Information

To find out more about Real Nappy Week and how you can contribute check out the link below:

The Real Nappy Campaign is a national campaign to promote the awareness of reusable nappies. Check the website out here:

Nappy Outlets


Tots Bots

Little Lamb

Green Nappies
Green Nappies

Related Information/Articles

To discuss and debate issues about reusable nappies, check out the Junkk Forum here (need to register first):
Reusable Nappies

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