Our EnvironmentPaediatricians suggest newborns should be changed 10-12 times a day and older babies about six times, ending with just one nappy being used at night-time.
Assuming an average of seven changes a day over the nappy wearing career of your baby, you will use about 6300 nappies.
6300 nappies for one baby. Can you imagine how big a pile that is?
Now try and imagine 1 million because that’s what we in the UK throw away almost every day!
One million little packages a day buried or burnt.
No-one knows how long disposables take to decompose in landfill and estimates vary wildly, but reported figures are between 40 and 500 years.
If the baby Queen Elizabeth (the First) had worn a modern disposable, parts of it could be around today, especially if King Henry the Eighth had adhered to modern advice and had sealed it in a plastic bag, effectively mummifying the contents!
8 million nappies are thrown away every day just in the UK!
That’s almost 3 billion disposable nappies a year!
Councils spend millions to dispose of "disposable" nappies, as each baby will produce 1 tonne of disposable nappies in their nappy career.
Ironically it can take up to 500 years for a “disposable” nappy to completely decompose during which time it can produce the greenhouse gas methane and the toxic liquid leachate that can pollute the soil and local water supplies.
EU law states that human waste must not be put into landfill but every council in every EU country turns a blind eye to that one!
Incineration releases carcinogenic dioxins into the atmosphere and can create toxic ash, which then has to go into landfill!
Many people ask us about the environmental impact of using washable nappies. There are of course energy costs involved with manufacturing, washing and if you choose, tumble drying.
There are these costs for every garment you buy. Would you wear disposable paper pants or would you prefer to wash cotton pants?
If you decide to use washable nappies for your baby, at the end of her nappy career, you have choices to make about what you would like to do with your nappies. You can do what we did, and put another baby into them. And another. And another. And another! You can sell them or give them away as there is a very big market for preloved nappies, or you can arrange for them to go to the many charitable organisations that take used washable nappies for distribution in poorer countries.
Your final choice would be to simply put your 40 nappies and 12 wraps into landfill. Now compare this to 6300 disposables. Once a full kit of nappies and wraps have reached the end of their life the 'plastic' components (Velcro and snaps) are only equivilent to a 1 litre milk carton in weight!
The natural fibres will decompose fully in a few years.