The Future is Reusable: Defra’s Research on Reusable Nappies confirms they are the best choice for eco-friendly parenting.

Tagged in: Eco Family
Baby wearing a reusable nappy smiling

As parents, we all want to do what's best for our children and the planet they will grow up in. One small but significant step towards reducing our environmental impact is switching to reusable nappies. You’ve probably heard of them already but might have questioned if they really are better for the environment, and are they are worth the upfront investment?

The good news is that, according to a recent study commissioned by Defra (AKA the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), reusable nappies:

  • Produce 25% less CO2 than single-use disposable nappies 
  • Use 98% less raw materials
  • Have over 90% lower environmental impact during production and disposal

This confirms that reusables are the better choice for the planet.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deeper into Defra’s research and why we should be choosing reusable nappies for the sake of the planet.

Say Goodbye to Raw Material Waste:

The study revealed that reusable nappies use 98% fewer raw materials than single-use disposables. That’s a significant environmental impact when you consider the number of nappies a baby will use until potty training – up to 8000!

Reusable nappies may require a higher initial investment, but the payoff is significant when you consider the environmental savings you’ll make in the long run. Not to mention you’ll be saving yourself money when you reuse the same set of reusable nappies for your next little one.

The Tricky Drying Question:

One common misconception around reusable nappies is that the washing and drying cancels out any environmental benefits. However, the LCA report found that even when factoring in washing and drying, reusable nappies are still the best option for the environment. In fact, the study found that using reusable nappies for a child’s full nappy-wearing period (from birth to potty trained) results in about 345kg of CO2 emissions, while using disposables results in almost 457kg of CO2 emissions.

Environmental Impact of Production:

The production of a single-use disposable nappy results in substantially more environmental impact than that of a reusable nappy. In fact, Defra’s study found that the environmental impact of production for a reusable nappy is over 90% lower. This means that using reusable nappies not only reduces what goes to landfill, but also reduces the pollution generated from the resources used to produce them. The report's findings are especially encouraging in light of the growing popularity of renewable energy sources. As renewable energy gains more market share, reusable nappies will only improve in their environmental performance compared to single-use nappies. So, it's clear that using reusable nappies is not just the right choice for our kids, but also the planet they will inherit.

Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:

The study also found that reusable nappies produce 25% less CO2 than single-use disposable nappies and using the nappies for more than one child, choosing eco-friendly detergents, washing at lower temperatures, and line-drying your nappies will reduce your carbon footprint even further. The inconvenient truth is that we need to make changes to our consumption patterns to protect our planet. Choosing reusable nappies for your baby can be a simple and effective way to make a difference.

What can we learn from the report?

Defra’s research confirms it – reusable nappies are better for the environment. They use fewer raw materials, have a much lower environmental impact during production and disposal, produce 25% less CO2 than single-use disposable nappies. Whilst the initial upfront costs are higher, the environmental savings make it a worthwhile investment and it’s not long before they start saving you money in the long run. It’s time to say goodbye to single-use disposable nappies and say hello to reusable nappies for the benefit of the planet, our little ones, and our wallets.

Baby wearing a reusable nappy smiling