Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Green nappies not the only green thing full of cr@p

A government report that found old-fashioned reusable nappies damage the environment more than disposables has been hushed up because ministers are embarrassed by its findings.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has instructed civil servants not to publicise the conclusions of the £50,000 nappy research project and to adopt a “defensive” stance towards its conclusions.

The report found that using washable nappies, hailed by councils throughout Britain as a key way of saving the planet, have a higher carbon footprint than their disposable equivalents unless parents adopt an extreme approach to laundering them.


Update, now with linky - sheesh, what happened to it?


Richard Sharpe said...

Mrs Sharpe was very keen to get on the bandwagon and try the bamboo fibre jobbies, as well as the old school fabric ones. She's not the best for keeping up with the washing though, so it didn't last long. The bamboo ones also leaked liquid nastiness all over the place. We spent a fair bit of money on nappies which are now essentially spill stations. We've moved onto the use once and throw away type now. I'm much happier and the house doesn't smell like a South-East Asian toilet,

Skeeter said...

To save the planet,our greeny d-i-l decided to use old fashioned cloth nappies on our first grandchild.
As a working mum, she "outsourced" the washing of the cloth nappies, but could not cope with the noisome container and its steadily increasing load of festering mess in between nappy exchange pick-ups.
The planet-saving lasted about a month, and disposables have been used on both children since then.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kae. I normally leave the blogging and comments to my boy (on a bike), but couldn't resist this one. Junior was in cloth nappies for 4 months until my resolve pretty much went streaming down my front during a Coles shopping trip (eeww!). I abandoned the trolley in whatever aisle I was in, walked the 2 blocks home, changed him and myself, went back to continue shopping and added disposables. Both the Monkey & No. 3 went straight into Huggies without any discussion.

Old fashioned cotton nappies are high maintenance, smelly and leaky. You need lots and lots and lots and lots as they absorb and contain substantially less of the ick and goo than disposables.

Let's face it, this is probably the last thing you want to "reuse and recycle" and consequently end up in landfill anyway along with the countless cloth wipes also used. OK, not as much as disposables and I know there are people out there who pass down and share their nappies, but eeww.

Even if you regulate water temperature and air dry the nappies, there is still a lot which accounts for the rest of the cotton carbon footprint - cotton crops (use about a quarter of all the world's pesticides), transportation (to countries with cheap manufacturing and labour), all the machinery required to stitch and sew, more transportation to end users, then water temperatures, chemical detergents, bleaches, dryers and on and on and on.

Yes, yes there are also lots of arguments about manufacturing, packaging, transport and dumping of disposables.

I work too hard and have 3 kids. Ultimately, we are time poor and can afford disposables. I’m going to find a blog about parties or weekend spa retreats. Or go to bed.

Boy's J