Are you aware that disposable nappies literally never biodegrade? 

Do you know what problems disposable nappies cause?

Have you ever thought the impact that would have if every baby would use one reusable nappy a day?

Let start talking about the number of disposable nappies in the UK and the amount of waste they produce:

An average child uses 4500 to 5000 nappies until potty-trained.

Each used nappy weighs around 195 grams. Together the fill 150 black bags producing one ton of rubbish. Remember this is just for your baby’s nappies in the first 2.5 to 3 years.

In the UK nearly 8 million nappies are thrown away every day; this means 3 billion nappies a year equivalent to 70,000 double decker buses full of dirty nappies! 

Problems associated with disposable nappies at a glance:

Use of space in green areas: The materials and the chemicals used in disposable sanitary products take up to 500 years to decompose this means nappies only accumulate in landfills.

Pollution of the ground in situ: The plastic and the chemicals in disposable nappies never fully break down and rot in the environment.

Pollution of water further afield: Disposable nappies in landfill leach plastic, chemicals and excrement to clean sources of water.

Pollution of the air: The excrement is a decaying element for any landfill and it is an important contribution of the production of methane gas, one of the gases that cause global warming.

Are disposable nappies an important contribution to the pollution caused by landfills?

The UK generates over 200 million tonnes of total waste and landfill is the second most used waste treatment in the UK. There has been an increase in recycling causing a considerable reduction in landfills. However, China’s ban on importing plastic waste in 2018 might cause an increase in landfill soon.

But even with the increase of recycling landfills are mainly used to bury a lot of household items that cannot be recovered or are difficult to recover, such as disposable hygiene products including nappies.  8% of these products are incinerated, a few proportions are littered and the vast majority is just simply buried in the landfill. 

An average of 7.14% of households (1 in 14) in the UK creates nappy waste*. Nappies and absorbent hygiene products, such as adult nappies and sanitary pads, currently makeup to 9% of all household waste and have become the largest and ever-increasing category of household waste. In fact, this amount has tripled in less than 10 years.

*– source EDANA, the international association for the nonwovens and related industries.

It’s up to us to be part of the solution and even at a small scale, every single change we do contributes to reducing the damage to the environment.

Even one single reusable nappy per child will have a great impact. Let’s do some sums:

An approximate number of babies born in the UK per year = 725 thousand. 

The average amount of time that babies and toddler are in nappies = 2.5 years 

725, 000 x 2.5 = 1, 812, 500 (one million 8 hundred 12 thousand and 500 disposable nappies A DAY!!! 

It requires 5 trees for every 5000 disposable nappies, this means that ONLY ONE REUSABLE NAPPY A DAY will save 1,812.50 trees being used and dumped forever in a landfill!! 

Also, it is a fact that reusable nappies do not contribute to the gas’s emissions generated in landfills, neither they pollute underground water and the surrounding areas of a landfill. 

That is why we fully support #MakeLaundryNotLandfill

Watch this BBC video to explore what happens to your house waste.

Reusable versus Disposable

As many people seem to argue about the true claims and credentials for the two types of nappies and on the understanding that all types of nappies leave a carbon footprint; however, we calculated the impact between the 5500 disposable nappies used by a child in 2.5 years versus 30 reusable nappies.

We were able to conclude that reusable nappies are greener, healthier and cheaper. You can read the full blog here.