Cloth v Disposable Nappies: Why should I choose cloth nappies?

Why should I choose cloth nappies?

Cloth v Disposable Nappies

Each year in Ireland, 96 million disposable nappies will be dumped in landfills where they'll stay intact for centuries as they decompose. The very first disposable nappy which was introduced to the world in 1961 is probably still in a landfill, intact. If so, it will remain there for another estimated 450 years before it completely decomposes. And those first disposable nappies have since been joined by billions more just like it.

In Ireland it's estimated disposable nappies account for 7% of waste in all landfills. In this increasingly threatened world we inhabit, and with a generation of parents who are growing ever more uncomfortable with the idea that their children are the cause of so much waste, especially waste made up of stubborn plastic and synthetic chemicals all wrapped around human faecal matter, we can help you make that change to cloth nappies. Disposable nappies cannot be recycled and must go to thermal treatment plants or landfill.


A baby laughs with her sibling as her mother changes her cloth nappy

Cost Savings of Cloth Nappies

Let’s do some basic calculations. An average child gets through 1,600 nappy changes a year before toilet training, which takes up to 3 years. With 60,000 children born in Ireland each year, we could be looking at 96 million nappies going to landfill annually in this country. Just imagine the worldwide tally for this.

When averaged over 3 years, your little one will need 7 nappy changes per day. At an average of €0.20 per nappy that is €1.40 per day, €511 per year, and €1533 for 3 years. Please bear in mind that bin charges would be additional to this.

Now let’s consider reusable nappies. Cloth nappies are not just beneficial for the planet but also your back pocket.

Should you wish to only use cloth nappies, you will need a stash of roughly 25 reusable nappies. Regardless of what type of reusable nappy system you opt for, this will amount to an outlay of €330. When washing and drying costs are also factored in at the average Irish rate, a total cost for using cloth nappies only is €475.

Disposable nappies = €1533 for 3 years. Cloth Nappies = €475 for 3 years.

Yes, this is a higher upfront cost for one child, but the savings are simply incredible for the best reusable nappies before you consider the environmental benefits too. Plan on having more babies? Cloth nappies will last without any issues.

How Much Does a Reusable Nappy Cost to Wash?

Many manufacturers encourage you to wash your cloth nappies at 40 degrees Celsius, and here at Summer Sweets Baby none insist on washing them above 60 degrees Celsius. When we factor the cost of water, detergent, and electricity, in Ireland if you wash your nappies 3 times a week at 60 degrees Celsius, the ultimate total cost to you will average €1.25. And most parents will be able to wash just twice a week at 40 degrees Celsius at a cost of just €0.80.

How do I get started with cloth nappies?

It will not cost a lot of money to get started and use reusable nappies. Here at Summer Sweets Baby we strongly encourage parents to look at birth to potty nappies. These one size nappies will cover your baby from birth to infant. Modern reusable nappies are made to be absorbent and prevent leaks. Reusables have absorbent inserts and a waterproof cover, save money in the long term, have a great choice of microfibre, cotton, hemp, and bamboo , and are gentle on your baby’s skin; they have so many advantages when used full time.

We would encourage parents who need to buy their first nappies to consider a birth to potty kit. While there are different types of nappy, our kits will give you a certain type of nappy; pocket nappies: these nappies come with a waterproof outer layer for great absorbency and different type of inserts for catching your baby’s pee and poo. A pocket nappy is a great choice for beginners and babies; easy to use, durable, a separate insert, and pop in the washing machine when you’re ready.

Please note the terms reusable nappy and cloth nappy are completely interchangeable, and refer to many types of different nappies.