Waste-free nappies

We’re trying to reduce our waste, as you probably already know. It’s a big goal for us right now. 

I’ve used cloth nappies for all our babies, from terry squares to all-in-ones (nappies that contain the absorbent layers and waterproof outer layer in one piece, which is often adjustable in order to fit different sizes). I have also used disposables at various times. 

I have set up an exclusive cloth nappy system for Sarah that produces no waste. I love it. It’s completely guilt free.


Firstly, we have a range of nappies, pictured above. We have about 35 nappies like this. They are not all the same brands but they all do the same job, although I have my favourites. I keep the nappies folded like this on the shelf under our change table. 


I also have a collection of cloth wipes. They are minky soft. I bought these, and we have 15 like it. I have made cloth wipes before too, using old towels and t-shirts sewn together. They are easy to use. I spray the wipe with water from a bottle I keep on the change table and use it. It’s good to Sarah’s skin – no chemicals, and no waste. I simply throw the wipe in with the nappies for washing. 

I also use flushable bamboo nappy liners. Bamboo is a sustainable product. The liners can be flushed into our septic system, where they biodegrade. They also help keep Sarah’s bottom clean and dry, and soiled liners can simply be flushed away, making washing up even easier. 

I’ve heard people argue that cloth diapering is as environmentally unfriendly as using disposables. This is simply untrue. Even when you factor in the product, waste and energy from manufacturing the cloth diapers, they are much safer for the environment than disposables. Even when you factor in the energy, water and waste used when washing the cloth diapers, they are still more environmentally friendly than disposables.  The water used for washing is negligible- we have a very energy efficient washing machine, which makes me even more confident that I’m doing the best I can. 

Cloth nappies do take more of my energy to use. They mean an extra load of washing every second day. I dry them in the sunshine or in front of the fire. They take ten minutes to fold and put them away. I’m currently an at home mum. I have plenty of time for the extra 21 minutes every 2 days to spend on the nappies. I wash them at night and hang them to dry in the morning. Too easy. 

  • Loading the machine: 1 minute
  • Unloading machine and hanging out to dry: 10 minutes
  • Folding and putting away: 10 minutes

But some people believe they don’t have the time for cloth nappies. Some people possibly find the idea revolting (although I don’t see the point in having children if you can’t handle washing poop out of pretty much anything). To make disposable nappies more environmentally friendly, here are some tips:

  • Don’t wrap dirty nappies in plastic bags
  • Buy nappies that come in cardboard boxes, not plastic packaging
  • Buy biodegradable nappies (and to make them more efficient, develop your own compost system!)
  • Try using reusable baby wipes with plain water for changing time
  • Support small businesses that make nappies, not the nappy giants
  • Have a go at using cloth nappies, even if you just use one or two a day, or one cloth swim nappy, or one cloth night time nappy
  • Give baby lots of nappy free time

When it comes down to it, I just think our cloth nappies give our baby the cutest bum!  


I also just want to say that I’m not going to be all judgemental and holier-than-thou if I come across a mother who uses disposable nappies. I might try to tell you how easy it is to use cloth, but by no means am I going to think you inferior. I just wanted to say that because sometimes it feels that way with us mums.