Cloth Vs Disposables

I thought cloth was supposed to be cheap, but it looks quite expensive to me?

At first glance, it can appear this way. But remember- it pays to look long term! Cloth is affordable- much cheaper than disposables, and below we will show you a comparison. But first of all let us explain something. No matter what you buy, you will always pay a little more money for quality and convenience. A good quality modern cloth system may cost a little more upfront than what you expected, but it should be viewed as an investment.  It is really important to make sure you have a nappy system that is reliable and durable; Cloth nappies are designed to be re-used over and over...just like clothing!

Obviously the cheapest way to cloth nappy your baby is with terry squares.  If you're open to that option, you'll save a stack of cash.  However, if terries dont appeal to you, then modern cloth nappies are the best option for you.

Okay, now here is a breakdown of costs for disposable nappies. These figures have been chosen as a general guide- some babies use more nappies than described below. The cost of disposables varies- cheaper brands might cost between 30 and 35 cents per nappy but you are likely to use more nappies and experience more leaks. Premium brands might cost you up to 55 cents. Since we've minimised the number of changes to 7 per day including night, we used an average of 50 cents per nappy cost to buy a nappy that is less susceptible to leaks and blowouts...

On those figures, consider the following costs:

  • A newborn will have an average of 6500 nappy changes from birth to toilet training ($3250)
  • From 6 months, baby still has about 5000 more nappy changes to go ($2500)
  • From 12 months, baby still has about 3800 more nappy changes to go ($1900)
  • From 18 months, baby still has about 2500 more nappy changes to go ($1250)
  • From 24 months, baby still has about 1200 more nappy changes to go ($600)

PLUS, you have additional costs such as wipes to consider as well. If you had 2 babies in disposable nappies, these costs would double!

Consider a modern cloth alternative with Baby BeeHinds. You'll save thousands!

Okay then, you have convinced me about the fantastic financial savings, but isn't using cloth a lot of hard work?

Nope! Certainly not! Washing cloth nappies is about 3 extra loads of washing a week. Add maybe 10-15 minutes per load to hang them on the line, which you can do with bub beside you anyway, it's really not that hard...afterall, you're still washing clothes, sheets etc for the whole family.... when baby comes along there's going to be extra washing regardless. And contrary to popular belief, you do NOT have to soak nappies, and cart around heavy water filled buckets. Nor do you need to wash poo-ey nappies by hand. It really is a simple process to care for your nappies!

Cloth nappies have evolved...if you're using a reliable modern cloth nappy system, you're less likely to experience fact, our customers are so impressed with our products for the simple reason they don't have to worry about leaks! Once you have your routine and system sorted it really is so easy.

I was expressing my interest in using cloth nappies not only for financial reasons, but also for environmental reasons. Then someone told me that cloth is just as bad environmentally as disposables. Is this true?

No, definitely not. It is a common misconception unfortunately. No matter what anyone tells you, when you consider the raw materials, the water and the chemicals needed to even produce a single plastic disposable nappy, only to have it thrown out a couple of hours later, cloth wins hands down every time, first and foremost because a reusable product will always be a more environmentally friendly choice than a single use product.

Something to think about: approximately 3.75 MILLION disposable nappies are dumped into our ground every single day, throughout Australia and New Zealand alone. Imagine worldwide! The thought is staggering: millions and millions of individually wrapped parcels of plastic, chemicals, faeces, urine and paper dumped into our ground EACH DAY. You can make a difference. Everyone can make a difference. There's no need to be a throwaway society! And did you know each disposable nappy takes hundreds of years to break down? Basically, right at this very moment, we have tonnes and tonnes and tonnes of plastic sitting in the earth. Yukko.

Here are some stastistics:

A subsequent study conducted by Landbank Consultancy in 1991 had the following findings;
Impact per Infant per Year*

Cloth Disposable Impact Difference
Energy 2532MJ 8900MJ 3.5x
Waste Water 12.4 cubic metres 28 cubic metres 2.3x
Raw Materials : renewable 25kg 208kg 208kg
Raw Materials: non-renewable 4kg 361kg 90x
Domestic Solid Waste 4kg 240kg 60x
Land for Raw Materials 1,150-6,800ha 29,500-32,300ha 4-30x
*Link, A. (2003) Disposable nappies: a case study in waste prevention. Women's Environment Network.

Breaking it down - disposable nappies require more water, more energy, more raw materials and more land to produce and use than cloth nappies, and they generate 60 times more waste.

Regarding water - as we are a nation going through a drought, Australian parents are naturally wanting to do the best they can to conserve water. But as you can see, disposable nappies use 2.3 times MORE water to produce than what it takes to wash cloth nappies over the period of a whole year! And disposable nappies are made right here in Australia, using our Australian water! Disposable nappies are definitely not the most water friendly choice.

Baby BeeHinds fitted nappies are made using mostly bamboo fibres... these don't require any where near as much water as cotton to grow (on which the above figures are based). Nor do they require pesticides or any other type of chemical during the growth process!  Also, the fibres are grown internationally, where drought is not a problem.

This year (2008) the UK's Environment Agency (Government) has released an updated report regarding the environmental comparison between disposable and reusable nappies. The new report confirms that reusable nappies are better for the environment than disposable nappies by up to 40%!  That is a figure that cannot be ignored.  Please see the Australian Nappy Network's official site or visit their wordpress for more information.

For information on the environmental debate between cloth and disposable nappies some useful links to peruse include:

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