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Reusable Nappies Are Better for the Environment – Here’s Why

Pepi collection modern reusable nappies
Sustainability is on everyone’s mind: new polling shows that 85% of Britons are now concerned about climate change. As we all rush to fill our recycling bins, ditch our plastic coffee cups and switch to aluminium straws, there’s another big change we could make that would also benefit the environment enormously, but which gets far less airtime – ditching disposable nappies.

If you’re a parent and considering making the change, here are some of the key facts.

Disposable nappies create huge volumes of waste

Did you know that the average baby uses between 4,000 and 6,000 disposable nappies by the time they are potty-trained? And that disposable nappies can take up to 500 years to decompose in landfill? When we consider landfill is designed to slow down degradation by packing waste in so tightly that no air can filter in to speed up the process, and that when things do eventually decompose they release methane (a greenhouse gas that has been proven to contribute global warming), it all starts to sound pretty scary.

The good news is that, by switching to reusable nappies, you will reduce your carbon footprint by about 40%! Better still, you’ll halve the amount of waste your house produces on a weekly basis and you’ll be helping to protect the world your child will grow up in.

Even if you can’t make a full-time switch, using a cloth nappy a few times a week will make a big difference.

Disposable nappies rely on ‘dirty’ manufacturing

Single-use nappies are made from plastic polymer polypropylene (which sits directly next to the baby’s skin) and other manufactured materials like wood pulp. The creation of a disposable nappy relies on intensive (‘dirty’) manufacturing processes that are detrimental to the environment. For
example:

  •  Around seven million trees are cut down in the UK each year to make the pulp for disposable nappies.

  • To make the plastic for just one disposable nappy, a whole cup of crude oil is required.

As mentioned above, babies need up to 6,000 disposable nappies before they’re potty-trained; if you have more than one child, this figure could double or even triple. But if you use reusables full-time, you’ll need to invest in between 15 and 20 nappies – and that’s it. These garments can then be passed on to your other children or relatives. 

pēpi reusable nappies are even better for the environment due to their clever
design

Switching to reusable nappies is not only great for the environment, it’s also great for a parent’s peace of mind – because, first and foremost, you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your baby’s skin is not coming into contact with any nasty chemicals. pēpi are also proud to have designed a nappy with a clever custom fit, meaning that the garment is able to grow with your baby. Our one-size-fits-all nappies suit babies between 3.5kg to 15 kgs in weight. This innovative example of slow fashion saves you money whilst benefiting the environment, reducing the need to keep buying new garments (and ditching the old ones) as your baby grows.

It’s time to tackle throw-away culture
The UK throws away around 400,000 tonnes of disposable nappies each year, which take up to 500 years to degrade. By contrast, we throw away 25,000 tonnes of disposable coffee cups, which take around 30 years to degrade – yet it’s the coffee cups that have made the headlines. Don’t get us wrong: throw-away culture is an important issue and any change – from carrying a reusable water bottle to getting rid of plastic bags – is good. But if we’re ditching single-use cups, why are we still using single-use nappies?