As you know I am very passionate about doing what we can to reduce, reuse and recycle. Babies produce A LOT of waste and there are lots of things we can do as mums in order to help. Not only is it important for us to do it for the planet, but is it not more important to teach and help our children follow in our footsteps? If we don`t, they are potentially faced with a very serious problem (it`s already pretty serious) which will impact their lives on a massive scale.
If you are looking to parent in a more sustainable way, using cloth nappies and/or cloth wipes is definitely a HUGE step in the right direction. Did you know that most wet wipes are made with plastic resins like polyester or polypropylene. As such, wet wipes never fully biodegrade, they simply break into smaller and smaller pieces – releasing countless microscopic fibers into the environment.The wipes clog internal plumbing, septic systems, and public sewer systems. Even though advertised as such- they are not flushable and they contain a heap of nasty chemicals. Using cloth wipes (some face cloths) are a lot more effective and can simply be washed and reused again and again.
Cloth is easy to do, easy to wash and also very affordable.
Lets dispel some common myths about cloth diapering
Cloth nappies cost more
We are given nine months to prepare for a little one to enter our world. In that time it is very manageable to collect a full stash of both newborn and even after newborn cloth nappies. It really is just about some planning. Us women are good at that- if we put our minds to it. Make it a priority.
A newborn uses around R1000 worth of disposables in four weeks - that`s over R4000 in the first four months - that is your money thrown in the bin. If you took that R4000, you could put it towards a great set of reusable Pokkelokkie nappies that can be used for up to ten months. It`s a no brainer. Have a look at this infographic:
Cloth nappies smell
Once you have started your cloth journey, the smell of a disposable nappy is actually what "smells". Cloth nappies themselves do not smell if properly washed. A cloth nappy storage bucket also does not smell if kept in a well ventilated area and the bucket itself has holes.You just have to try it to believe it. If for any reason you can smell cloth nappies, it simply means there is something not right in the wash routine and this is easily fixed.
Using cloth nappies means I will have to touch poo all day long
Folding up poo and throwing it in a dustbin is gross. It`s not only gross but it`s irresponsible. Did you know that if you look at the packet it actually requests that all poop be thrown in the toilet? Cloth actually results in less mess as it contains poop 100% better than any thin plastic sheet wrapped around the baby`s bum. Cleaning cloth is not difficult. Getting a bidet sprayer is a total game changer. It is very affordable (R300 odd), easily hooked up to the toilet by husband or handyman and WALAH - spray the nappy off in the toilet and throw it in the basket until wash day.
Poop does not make the washing machine dirty or stinky either. All nappies are always rinsed before a wash and there is never poop left in a machine as a result of a nappy wash. Remember that most of our mums washed our cloth nappies in their machines too.
Cloth nappies are difficult to use when out
Using cloth is no different other than that you have to place the used nappy in a cute little wetbag until you get home. As long as you have a good quality nappy that is put on properly and boosted, there will not be any leaks. I have had more leaks using a disposable nappy than I ever have using our cloth.
Cloth is more work
Using cloth is a bit more work BUT, so is recycling plastic. We have a separate bin and make a special effort to wash out our milk cartons in order to recycle them. We carry a separate bag up to the road each week. Is it worth it? Yes. Is using cloth nappies complicated and time consuming- most definitely no. Is it a worth the extra effort to rinse and pack away - totally YES. We can all make the time for the things in life that we deem are worth it.
Cloth nappies are a waste of water
Did you know that to manufacture one disposable nappy uses around 36 litres of water. Washing cloth nappies two to three times a week is actually a very environmentally friendly approach to saving water when comparing to buying and throwing away disposable nappies. We have not even mentioned all the trees that are cut down to manufacture the wood pulp for disposable nappies (a key ingredient) Check this out:
Using cloth means heaps of washing
If you cloth full time you are looking at around three loads a week.
Let`s break it down. Putting a load of nappies into a washing machine takes around three - four minutes. Let them wash for two hours. Taking them out takes another two minutes. Hanging up takes about five to ten minutes (depending on how fast you are). Packing them away - ten minutes. So in total it takes around twenty to thirty minutes of your time per load of washing. Very, very manageable AND having baby`s pretty nappies all hung up is extremely motivating and satisfying.
I really hope that by reading the myths it will inspire you to not only give cloth a go but do it the best you can. Remember that I do not advocate it as something you have to do - we all have choices here. I feel it would be great if we could simply rewind forty years back and live a bit more organically like our grandparents. I feel somehow our children's futures are blurred into a screen of meaningless information, selfies and piles of plastic. Disposables were born out of convenience (nothing else) and I feel it really is time to look past making things easier for ourselves and look more to being responsible for what we create here and to just clean up after ourselves.
It is not all or nothing - even if you used five nappies a day on the weekend this is a massive contribution. I cant wait to see all those bums in their cloth!!!