I have been using Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN) for about 15 months now and am very pleased with my switch. I really hadn’t thought at all about using cloth nappies for my first two children. I didn’t even really know about them or know anyone who used them. My first introduction to MCNs was when I was in hospital with my third born sweet pea, Hosanna. I was flicking through a baby catalogue when I spotted some funky looking modern cloth nappies. They were just like disposables with funky fabric, and snaps instead of pins. I was quite intrigued by the idea of MCNs and so my google research began.
I soon learnt how many different types and brands of MCNs there were. I also learnt how much money you can save in using MCNs as opposed to disposables. You can spend anywhere from $2000 – $5000 (approximates) per child on disposables compared to less than $1000 for cloth nappies(not accounting for the costs to be saved in reusing them with a second child). Of course, how much you spend on nappies depends on what brands you buy. Whilst researching MCNs, I also discovered some eye opening information about the environmental impact of disposable nappies.
The cost benefits of cloth nappies certainly seemed very beneficial to me and my household budget. As I am a stay at home mum and we’re a family getting by on one income, we need to make every dollar count. For us, the savings of cloth nappies and the fact that they are better for the environment won us over.
In regards to the environmental impact, I read that there are apparently 800 million disposable nappies in Australian landfill per year and scientists estimate that a single nappy takes about 400 years to break down. There’s also the carbon footprint to account for in the production of disposible nappies as well.
I found a great current article discusing the environmental impact of MCNs vs disposable nappies at Edge Environment. The article clearly gives MCNs the thumbs up. Another point to add is that if you decided to go with bamboo cloth nappies over cotton cloth nappies you would additionally lessen the carbon footprint of the nappy. This is because the production of bamboo requires 1/3 less water than cotton and does not need pesticides or herbicides. In addition, it’s a great material for cloth nappies as its really soft and highly absorbent.
Here are some other ways to lessen the impact of cloth nappies on our environment and the household budget:
- wash in cold water
- use environmentally friendly detergents or make your own (I’m using soap nuts)
- have a decent stash of MCNs and wash only when you have a full load
- make the most of the clothes line and use the sun’s sanitizing rays
- if buying a new washing machine, buy the best energy efficient machine
- re route washing machine water run off into your garden or install a greywater recycling system
- don’t use fabric softener – big no no (can do a vinegar wash in the rinse instead)
- use a small amount of detergent