Reusable Nappies Versus Disposable Nappies – 3 Points To Consider
For most of us, when it comes to the question of reusable nappies versus disposable nappies, the answer would be obvious. Reusable nappies should emerge the clear winner hands down. However, before coming to a conclusion, there are a few factors that must first be considered.
Use Of Resource
Proponents of reusable nappies have always used the consumption of resources as a major leverage point against the proponents of throwaway nappies. However, there are a few interesting facts that have come to light and in terms of resources usage for both types of nappies.
It is true disposable nappies use up a lot of resources during the manufacturing process when compared to reusable nappies. Throwaway nappies use roughly 3.5 times more energy manufacture, eight times more non-renewable materials and 90 times more renewable resources.
Disposable nappies are basically made up of 3 parts. The inside cellulose-based layer, absorbent gel-based layer and the oil based water resistant layer. Many manufacturers have clearly stated that the material for the inside layer are sourced from tree farms and not from deforestation of woodlands.
Since a typical baby uses on average 5000 nappies, the disposable nappy industry ends up using a quarter of a million trees every year.
Reusable nappies on the other hand, use up a lot of resources once in use. In fact, reusable nappies use up twice as much energy and 4 times as much water as disposable ones. Remember, you still need resources like water, electricity and detergents to keep them clean.
There have been a lot of debate about the chemicals used in the disposable nappies but there is insufficient data to back up the negative claims of opponents of disposable nappies.
Throwaway nappies contain up to 200 chemicals but it no studies have been carried out to see how much of these chemicals are absorbed through the skin and what are the effects on babies. Some disposable nappies have been found to contain harmful chemicals such as Dioxins, Tributyl-tin (TBT) and Sodium polyacrylate, a Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP). However, it must be said that these chemicals are also used in other everyday products such a detergents as well.
The most common problem associated with nappy use is nappy rash. This problem is present when using both disposable and reusable nappies. Studies have shown that changing nappies at regular interval is the best way to prevent nappy rash.
Here are the figures on how much disposable nappies are contributing to the never-ending landfill issue. 3,000,000,000 of this lovely convenient products are dumped, no pun intended, into our landfills. That amounts to a million tonnes of waste which takes approximately 500 years to decompose.
A small amount is incinerated but that process releases cancer causing dioxins into the air together with a host of other harmful chemicals.