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Welsh version

The Dyfi Valley Real Nappies Project

baby wearing cotton nappyReal nappies are cotton, washable ones, with liners. These save on landfill and other resources by not being throwaway - as well as being cheaper!

We have keen volunteers who can offer parents advice about using them.

If you would like one of them to visit you individually or as a group, or you would like an information sheet, please call us on 01654 703971.

We are also working with Gwynedd, Powys and Ceredigion County Councils to promote their nappy initiatives.

Where can you get 'real nappies' locally?

There are a few local nappy dealers and there are several web-based companies. For more details of these, see the Powys 'real nappy' directory link lower on this page.

In the Dyfi Valley area

  • Treehouse TLC in Aberystwyth sells a range of cotton nappies and degradable varieties. T: 01970 625116
  • The Quarry Shop in Machynlleth sells biodegradable nappies. T: 01654 702339
  • Helen and Mark Burr run their own company, BabyKind, based in Nebo, Gwynedd. They sell across the UK and Europe, and recently provided nappies for the Dyfi Valley 'real nappy' trial. T: 01286 882617; email: helen@babykind.co.uk.

>> Download the Powys 'real nappy' directory [PDF 170kB: Welsh; English].

What makes a more eco-friendly disposable nappy?

Helen Burr's experience (Manager of BabyKind Cloth Nappies)

Choosing the right one means looking at the eco impact of their manufacture as well as the impact of their disposal.

It is actually very hard to find any reliable information about the different types of so-called eco-disposable nappies and, as far as I am aware, there has been no systematic comparison of them.

Virtually all the information that is available is provided by retailers.

Most make claims about how degradable they are but there is little or no research or evidence presented on this, or information about the conditions under which they degrade.

Furthermore if these nappies end up in landfill, how different are they from conventional disposables?

That said, there are four main disposables available in the UK that claim to have less impact on the environment than conventional disposables and are the same to look at and use as conventional disposables:

1. Moltex OKO Eco-Disposables

  • Moltex are probably the most widely available and they are an excellently performing nappy.
  • They are made with some recycled material and without chlorine or bleaching agents.
  • They therefore appear beige in colour - some people don't like them because they are not bright white like conventional disposables (I actually like them because they are unbleached- bleach residues can harm a baby's bum).
  • It is claimed that they biodegrade in a wormery in 8 weeks without leaving harmful residues, but to me the research is far from thorough at this stage.
  • They are made in Germany and are the only disposable made in Europe recommended as being eco-friendly.
  • They are also packaged in an entirely degradable cellulose bag.
  • Finally, they claim to be very skin-friendly too, being free from dyes, lotions, deodorants, or bleach residues that can irritate a baby's sensitive skin.
  • Price from£9.99 for a 52 size Mini, which isn't too bad, but they are usually only available by mail order and so if you can't afford to buy in bulk they work out quite expensive with postage.

2. There is one that is available in some supermarkets: Nature Boy and Girl.

  • These are Scandinavian-made and, in my opinion, not as high performing as
  • Moltex -a bit prone to leaks, though no worse than lots of other disposables.
  • The outer layer is made from a breathable GMO-free biological corn starch-based film rather than the plastic of conventional disposables.
  • It is claimed that they are 70% degradable.
  • Their price is comparable with conventionally branded disposables and there aren't the postage costs if you can get them in your local supermarket.
  • Cost has to be a pretty big factor, when you think that many families will spend well over £1000 on disposable nappies for each child.

3. Tushies Gel- and Perfume-Free Eco Disposables

  • Tushies are becoming quite widely available in the UK, but again usually by mail order only.
  • They are free from the absorbent gel (polysodium acyrlate) that is found in other disposables (so that doesn't end up in the soil).
  • The core is made from a cotton-based blend and they claim to be 80% degradable.
  • These are also skin friendly, being free of dioxins, latex, perfumes and dye.
  • Made in the US.
  • Price from £8.75 for 40 Mini plus postage, so quite expensive.

4. There's a new one called Bambo Nature.

  • It's not yet widely distributed in the UK, that looks quite good in terms of being environmentally responsible in production.
  • The pulp used to make these nappies is described as "environmentally compatible" and is derived from controlled Scandinavian Forests.
  • They are bleached with oxygen rather than chlorine, which reduces their environmental impact.
  • The production process minimizes the consumption of energy and waste from the process.
  • The core is made mainly from starch and is claimed to be 100% degradable. However, this core is presumably wrapped inside a plastic cover.
  • Made in Denmark.
  • Price £4.59 for 30 Mini plus postage.

5. There is also a different type of disposable 'nappy' called a Weenee pad.

  • It is not like a conventional disposable nappy and looks more like a sanitary pad.
  • It sits inside a reusable waterproof cover in a 'sling'.
  • The cover can also be used for reusable cloth pads.
  • It is flushable (but you'd have to be confident about your plumbing!) and degrades completely in 150 days if flushed or composted.
  • I like the fact that these are so degradable, but the containment is poor (i.e. leaking out) and the pants are rather plasticky and uncomfortable-looking.
  • The pads can also be used in some ordinary cloth nappy covers.
  • Made in Fiji.
  • Price £9.99 for 40 small plus postage, making them expensive.

Disposal

It's totally unscientific I know, but we put three disposable nappies in our own compost heap: a conventional, disposable, a Nature Boy and Girl and a Moltex.

It must be a couple of years ago now. We've never seen any of them again! I don't know if they've degraded or made nice comfy baby-rat beds!

BabyKind Cloth Nappies - Real nappies for changing times!

Helen@babykind.co.uk | www.babykind.co.uk | Tel: 01286 882617