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Biodegradable nappies

Advice on using biodegradable nappies on your baby, degradable nappy benefits and how environmentally friendly they really are.
Current statistics estimate that disposable nappies account for over 50% of the rubbish made by a one child family and contribute to approximately 4% of the UK's total waste. As disposable nappies may take up to 500 years to degrade and relase potentially toxic chemicals during the process, we are only just becoming aware of the environmental impact their widespread use may have.

Although many families are now choosing to use reusable cloth nappies, they are not always the most practical option especially if you are travelling, do not have much space in your home or use a childminder who prefers to use disposables. Biodegradable nappies provide a solution to this problem.

The majority of biodegradable nappies can be composted, come in biodegradable packaging and are available for use with biodegradable wipes and nappy bags so that the whole nappy changing process can be tailored to minimise the impact on the environment. Additionally, as many biodegradable nappies are made from recycled materials, are free from chemicals and are unbleached, they are also kinder to the environment in terms of both their production and their ecological impact as they decompose.

Many regular disposable nappies contain absorbant gel to draw moisture away from your baby's skin. There are several biodegradable nappies on the market which use cotton padding as a replacement and their use can help to limit the number of chemicals your baby is exposed to. However, the cotton padding may make the nappy more bulky in comparison although they are still usually slimmer than reusable nappies.

As biodegradable nappies are not mass produced to the same extent as disposables and use different, more environmentally friendly processes, they do tend to be more expensive, although the price is begining to come down. Additionally, when purchasing a biodegradable nappy it is important to check that all of the nappy is biodegradable and not just certain components, so you can be sure you're getting the most environmentally friendly product for your money.

It is also important to be aware that as biodegradable nappies are not bleached this means that they are often beige in colour instead of the white we are used to. As biodegradable nappies do tend to be a more expensive option, they can be used in conjunction with reusable nappies as no matter how good your intentions, there are times when using a cloth nappy is not an option.

For those with an ecological conscience, biodegradable nappies strike a good balance between convenience, environmental friendliness and consideration of your baby's sensitive skin.

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Hi, I too am a new mum wanting to go green with regards to my new baby. I started off using pampers and huggies as I had vouchers to get money off. I found they leaked regularly with my son. I then switched to nature babycare in an effort to be greener. I was really disappointed with them as they leaked and weren't particularly comfortable. Then I went on a ebay frenzie looking for washables to try. I have since tried over 20 different brands and now switch between using washables during the day at home and biodegradable disposables (Bambo Nature) when out and during the night. The best advice I can give for anyone wanting to try washables is to buy cheap to start with, use fleece liners under the paper liners (maintains the life of the nappy) and only soak the pooie liners or nappes. All the rest can get dry stored in a bucket and then they all go on a cold wash, (can do this by hand), then a 40-60 wash with half a scoop of powder. It is definately cheaper to use washables and this includes the initial purchase costs, the cost of detergent and energy. Even if you only use a washable once a day, it's a great feeling, knowing that you're doing your bit.

I have tried and tested 4 biodegradable disposables (Nature Babycare, Bambo Nature, Moltex Oko and Wiona). I would recommend Bambo Nature. Better than huggies and pampers.

I would also recommend Bambinex All-in-ones sized reusable nappies (best performance for smallest price need to buy three different sizes as baby grows); Modern Baby Pop-In Birth-to-potty (great performance more expensive but no need to by mulitple sizes) and Blueberry Pocket (best performance pocket style nappy but is expensive).

Get on ebay for cheap prices, I haven't paid store prices yet for any washable nappy, boosters, liners, soaks etc... If you really wanna save pennies get second hand ones ( or Netmums webste also has a buy/sell forum to place ads.

Hope this helps some of you!
by mrsmuzi 2nd Mar 2009, 9:27am
I am a new mum and have the environment playing on my mind day in and day out. I think it's because I have bought a child into the world and want to do whatever I can to make the world a better place for them when they are older, I think everyone will agree. I started using 'Nature Babycare' biodegradable nappies and I felt really good about doing my part for the environment UNTIL.... every other one I seemed to put on leaked! At first I thought I was putting them on wrong so I switched to 'Eco-Baby' biodegradable nappies from 'Asda' which were absolutely fantastic (apart from night times). Then my husband and I finally decided to try 'Smart Nappy' from 'Mothercare'. At first we got on with them really well especially as I am a full time mummy, I believe it would be hard if your children were in creche etc. there were no leaks (apart from night times) but then I sat down one day and did my calculations..... to buy the starter kit is £40 which gives you four nappies, so realistically you need 8 nappies which sets you back £80. Then nappy liners £2.49 for 100, Disposable pads for night time £3.49 for 24, nappy soak £2.49, nappy pail and pre-wash stain- remover £1.99. As for helping the environment it states on the nappy starter kit that aftyer soaking nappies in the nappy soak you can wash nappies on a 40 degree wash. Well i'm sorry but there is no way even with the pre-wash stain remover that you could get soiled nappies clean on a 40 degree wash. It also states on the nappy starter kit that you do not add fabric conditioner so if you use fabric conditioner in your washing you have to wash them seperately. Its not really helping the environment is it? So my conclusion is 'Eco-baby' biodegradable nappies from 'Asda' are the way forward with 'Boots' Biodegradable nappy sacks. I strongly advise new mums, mums to be and everyone else using nappies to go and grab yourself 'Eco-baby' from 'Asda'. Even if you use non biodegradable nappies just at night time at least you are cutting down waste by more than half. I hope this advice helps and I would love to hear your comments.....thanks for reading.
by tw15ted 5th Mar 2008, 8:47am
Before I was pregnant I didn't really think about what type of nappies I'd use until a friend said in horror "your not going to add to the landfill with 5000 nappies are you?"
So I have been investigating the options. One argument is that all the washing you have to do with reusable can cause pollution. I talked to my hubby who is definitely the one to ask as he does environmental impact assessments for a living. He reckons that it’s not only a problem that the landfills are filling up with nappies. What you have to consider is the life cycle of the nappy. e.g. the chemicals and bleaches in production ,the transport pollution, energy used to make them etc, etc and then it takes about 100 years for a nappy to biodegrade. Which brings us to another problem that effects the environment that is the harmful chemicals that are produced in landfill that pollute our air. Asking hubby about the daily washing he reckons that you can buy environmentally friendly washing powders and the water we used does go to treatments plants any way. You can also put your machine on at night to save on the electric bill. Not to say that I would never use a disposable and I have not got a clue what it will be like using reusable nappies. But I am going to give it a go. As I am bringing a child into the world I have to at least try to make it a good place to be. Hope this doesn’t sound preachy and you find this informative. Good Luck what ever you choice is.
by JacksterWood 5th Feb 2008, 9:16am
I've been using the Nature care bio degradable nappies but have found some problems with leakage. Has anyone else experienced this? I'm not if it's the nappeis or that we are not fastening them tight enough.
by AngelaS 15th Jan 2008, 2:41pm