One of our WasteBuster volunteers, Dawn, talks about her experiences with cloth nappies during lock-down in the Spring of 2020:
Last year I looked into making the swap from disposable nappies to reusable ones, after one of my friends who uses them every day recommended them. I purchased a day’s worth of cloth nappies to see how I got on with the change. My initial thoughts were that there wasn’t much difference between using disposables and cloth nappies, apart from the fact that instead of putting the used nappy in the bin, I would put it in a ‘wet bag’ I ordered online. Instead of emptying the bin into a black sack for the general waste collection, I emptied the ‘wet bag’ into my washing machine.
I was a little apprehensive about the ‘mess’ inside the nappies, but when I changed my first cloth nappy (which my son immediately soiled – thanks for that!), I found that it wasn’t any different than wiping my toddler’s bum. I just had to clean up him and the nappy liner. I’ve been using reusable liners, but you can also get biodegradable liners that go into your general waste bin. There are also different materials for the liners, such as cotton, bamboo, paper, and fleece.
As the weather got warmer, it meant the drying time for washed cloth nappies got shorter. What is more natural than letting them air dry outside in the sun? Now that I’m working from home, and have been since March, I have the time I didn’t have before to wash the used nappies and let them dry outside (or inside if the weather doesn’t allow) for a quicker turnaround time so I can use the nappies more often during week.
Naturally during lockdown a lot of people are staying at home more often, so the amount of waste and recycling has increased across the county, and with the household recycling centres only opening in May, some households have found a build-up in kerbside waste that they’ve not been able to put out with their waste collections.
So that’s another reason why using cloth nappies during this time is perfect. Even if I substituted one disposable nappy a day with a cloth nappy, I would be saving 14 nappies from going to landfill every fortnight.
Essex County Council offers its residents a £30 refund on the purchase of any cloth nappies; which includes new or pre-loved. So, if you wanted to try cloth nappies before you commit to cloth nappies full time (where you would need between 15-20, depending on your child’s age), then this is a great way to start! You could save £1000 per child using cloth nappies (which you can then re-use if you have another child), what have you got to lose?