What’s the most environment-friendly way to keep your baby clean and comfortable?

Three  billion disposable nappies are thrown away in Britain every year. In one year a baby will use enough nappies to fill 40 black sacks. Disposable nappies can take 200-500 years to decompose and by the time a child is two, they could have used more than 5,000 nappies.

There’s a strong argument that disposable nappies are expensive for parents and bad for the environment.

On the other hand, frequent washing in hot water and tumble-drying is also bad for the environment – and expensive too.

 Which? website looks at the arguments for and against. Which? concluded that “Reusable nappies work out cheaper than disposables, especially if you use traditional terry nappies rather than the modern, fitted equivalent.”

 An Environment Agency study in 2008 found that reusable nappies can be 40% better for the environment than disposable nappies – but only when parents take sensible steps to reduce the environmental impact of cleaning and drying them.

 A study on infants with nappy rash found that the type of nappy used was not significant. Disposable nappies did not have a protective effect.

 Some tips on real nappies

  • Modern cloth nappies can be fitted, shaped and self-fastening.
  • Home-washed nappies could save parents £500 for a first child and even more for subsequent children.
  • Home washing can be done at 60 degrees (no need to boil).
  • Use an ecological sound washing powder
  • Dry on a washing line or dryer when you can.
  • Biodegradable nappy liners can be used inside a cloth nappy and the contents can be flushed down the loo.
  • Nappy washing services are ecologically sound and save you the trouble of laundering at home, and may be even better environmentally.
  • If you need to use disposables (e.g. on holiday), eco-disposable nappies are available. google Eco Nappies. For example, Naty by Nature Babycare can be bought at your High St chemist.