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The most frequently asked questions on the internet:

Nearly 8 million nappies are thrown away every day in the UK; that’s 3 billion a year. More disposable nappies are found in UK household waste than anything else. It is thought the plastics in disposable nappies could take hundreds of years to decompose. 11 May 2006

Disposable nappies: a looming environmental threat?
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/disposable-nappies-a-looming-environmental- threat-477750.html

Around seven million trees are cut down in the UK every year just to make the pulp for single use nappies.11 Oct 2018

Reusable versus disposable nappies: the real story of their environmental impact by Jane Shaw October 11, 2018 https://www.babaandboo.com/blogs/news/reusable-versus-disposable-nappies-the-real- story-of-their-environmental-impact

Diapers are made of cloth or synthetic disposable materials. Cloth diapers are composed of layers of fabric such as cotton, hemp, bamboo, microfibre or even plastic fibres such as PLA or PU, and can be washed and reused multiple times. Disposable diapers contain absorbent chemicals and are thrown away after use.


It will take 200 to 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompose, leaving a legacy to your children’s grandchildren. “The production of disposables uses 3.5 times more energy, 8.3 times more non-renewable resources, and 90 times more renewable resources than real nappies.
23 Apr 2001

NHS urged to promote washable nappies.

There are an estimated 321 million babies aged under two-and-a- half in the world. If each of those babies wore disposable nappies, assuming an average of 4.2 daily nappy changes, 6,000 tonnes of nappies would need to be disposed of every day. That’s an awful lot of nappies and an awful lot of landfill.11 May 2006

Disposable nappies: a looming environmental threat? | The Independent
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/disposable-nappies-a-looming-environmental- threat-477750.html

The Disadvantages of Disposable Nappies
Not as environmentally-friendly as cloth diapers and contribute to landfill. Once in landfill, disposable nappies take at least 200 years to decompose. Disposables are considered to be more expensive than cloth diapers across the long-term.
23 Feb 2015

Modern Cloth Nappies Vs Disposable Nappies – Which Nappies Are…
https://www.bellybelly.com.au/baby/modern-cloth-nappies-vs-disposable-nappies-which- nappies-are-better/

After Year One: 1,500 to 1,800 Disposables Yearly
If your older baby is sleeping through the night in a single diaper and you are changing him or her every three hours during the day, you can expect to use about four to five diapers per day, which is 28 to 35 diapers per week.

How Many Diapers Does a Baby Use in a Year?

People who warn against the dangers of disposable diapers often say that sodium polyacrylate can cause allergic skin reactions. Fortunately, such reactions seem to be very rare.

What’s in disposable diapers – and are they safe for your baby?
https://www.babycenter.com/0_whats-in-disposable-diapers-8211-and-are-they-safe-for- your_10335425.bc

Most emollients can be used safely and effectively with no side effects. However, burning, stinging, redness, or irritation may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Baby Diaper Rash Topical: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures …

Disposable nappies: What’s their environmental cost?
3rd October 2018

BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45732371

Disposable nappies have been in the firing line at the Conservative Party conference, as Environment Secretary Michael Gove hinted at a future ban.
He later clarified his comments to say that nappies wouldn’t be banned but suggested they could be part of plans to “tackle waste better”.
So what is the environmental cost of single-use nappies?
An estimated three billion nappies are thrown away every year in the UK, accounting for 2-3% of all household waste, according to recycling charity Wrap.
This is a fairly old estimate based on the number of babies and toddlers in the population and how many nappies a day the average baby uses.
It may have shifted slightly but gives a reasonable ballpark.

Should we burn or bury plastic waste?

The vast majority of nappies are not recyclable and must be thrown away with general waste. This means they will probably end up in landfill or being burnt.
Energy can be harnessed from burning waste and used for fuel but this also produces greenhouse gases – as do landfills.
The main alternatives are:
• cloth nappies that can be washed and reused
• biodegradable nappies
Wrap says by the time they are potty trained, a baby could have used 4,000 to 6,000 disposable nappies, or 20 to 30 reusable nappies
There’s also a financial saving to be had – although those wanting the convenience of disposables along with environmental benefits might find themselves paying more for biodegradable nappies. Throwaway nappies contain plastic and so does the packaging they come in.
Much of this plastic will go to landfill. And so, to put it politely, will the nappy’s contents, which can then end up in the water system. When reusable nappies are washed, on the other hand, faeces end up in the waste water supply, which means they are then treated in a water treatment plant, in the same way adult waste is.
But although on many measures reusable nappies are better for the environment, they come with their own costs.
In particular, reusable nappies seem to be worse in terms of carbon emissions.
The Environment Agency, in 2008, estimated that over the two and a half years it reckoned a typical child would wear nappies, disposables would create 550kg (1,200lb) of carbon emissions. And reusables would create 570kg of carbon emissions.
That’s because of the energy it takes to wash and dry them.
The carbon emissions associated with disposable nappies, on the other hand, are mainly down to the production of the materials used to construct them.
And, arguably, parents and guardians have more control over the carbon emissions created by reusable nappies.
Washing them on a full load, a more energy efficient setting or by hand, and hanging them out to dry rather than tumble-drying can all reduce the environmental impact.
But this suggests a further hidden cost – the labour involved in the extra laundry created.
The Office for National Statistics has estimated the cost of unpaid work done in households in the UK. And the unpaid work UK households undertake to do laundry alone was valued at about £90bn in 2016.
Meanwhile, the environmental impact of disposable nappies could also be reduced by changing the materials they are made of or disposing of them differently.
But these changes are in the hands of manufacturers and the waste disposal system rather than families.