Environmentally friendly nappies give parents more choice


WASTE: Babies may be small but they can have a massive impact on the environment. On average, a baby will use at least 3,000 disposable nappies before he or she is toilet-trained.

An estimated 600,000 nappies are used every day in the Republic. Most are tossed into the household rubbish, and nappies are estimated to make up at least 4 per cent of household waste.

Two main types of nappy are available: disposables and cloth washable nappies. While cloth nappies are cheaper, gentler on a baby's skin and don't cause waste problems, they are more labour intensive and a lot less popular than disposables.

Regular disposable nappies contain a mixture of paper pulp, plastics, absorbent gel granules and chemical additives, making them a very difficult type of waste to deal with. Some parts are estimated to take up to 500 years to decompose.

Last month Kilkenny County Council held the State's first "Real Nappy Week" to educate parents on the environmental effects of using disposable nappies for their babies.

It produced a leaflet for parents, health professionals and women's organisations promoting the use of alternative washable, compostable and environmentally-friendly nappy options.

If you decide to use cloth nappies, you'll need at least a couple of dozen good-quality washable nappies. You'll also need nappy liners to keep the moisture away from your baby's skin and, for some types of nappy, a few waterproof covers and pins or other fasteners.

Páiste Sásta Natural Nappy Products sell easy-to-fit cloth nappies by mail order. These shaped nappies are made from organically grown materials.

They are convenient to use and they sit comfortably and securely thanks to adjustable velcro tabs. For more information contact Páiste Sásta Natural Nappy Products on 078-51966.

For those concerned about the environment but need the convenience of disposable nappies, Moltex eco nappies are compostable disposables made with unbleached cellulose, which is better for the environment. The nappies come in the usual range of sizes and are reasonably priced with free delivery. For more information call Ecobaby on 1850 525253 or check out the website at www.ecobaby.ie.