Talking Rubbish Blog

What has happened in the last 20 years?  From the big, well padded terry towelling bottoms to the discrete and tight little plastic covered numbers , now considered part of being a cute kid. We used to reserve the ‘disposables’ for those difficult to change situations like picnics and camping, but now washing nappies appears to have no place in the a busy parent’s life. I don’t remember needing lots of time to wash nappies. We had washing machines and fresh air.

Most of the cheaper (oxymoron?) disposables nappies are principally plastic and not compostable.

A step better are the compostable disposable nappies. They will breakdown in the waste stream to chemicals that plants can use and not just little pieces of plastic. But we are still making something to use for 4 hours and then throw away! All that water, materials, energy in production, delivery, shopping, disposal etc….

Yes, we can purchase the tailored cotton varieties and well done for those who do. Maybe a useful purchase coming from the baby bonus payment is to set up with 2 dozen of the washable kind. An expensive but worthwhile investment especially with more than one child use. But for those who cannot make the initial big investment in the tailored cotton covered bottom, are there still the great terry toweling or flannelette varieties? These not only do well for several years of bottom coverage but make great cleaning clothes for decades after.

I don’t feel parents are more ‘busy’ than 20 years ago with necessary lifestyle activities to need another disposable convenience.

Have we all been conned or am I missing something here?

25 Jul 2011 12:01 AM  /  Peg Davies  / disposable, lifestyle, nappies, plastic, washing, waste  /  10 comments


Thanks for this post and sharing about Sunbaby!I did not want to use diapers at all but have been financially forced too I used MCN's for about the first 4 months I think but I only had enough to use them for one day, then I'd use diapers the next day while they dried. I had no problem extra washing and thought they were great. And then she grew out of them and I didn't have the money to buy anymore. I've been using biodegradable nappies as much as possible but have had to resort to supermarket brand at times Perhaps I'll be able to put $100 aside and order some Sunbaby ones! Thanks!Neen recently posted..

Cathell Florence

Disposable nappies are always the first choice of every parents. It is not only safe but also comfortable and irritation free for kids.\


Home run! Great slugging with that answer!

Amy Warne

I agree that cloth nappies are the way to go, I went old school and used terry toweling nappies on my son. I still have them for mopping up daily spills. I used cloth about 70% of the time. I was lucky that my sons day care was willing to work with cloth too as many will only use disposables these days. I have to say that it was a labor of love! You do have to get up close and personal with poo, much more so than with disposables and I think it takes a little extra time and effort. To me though it was all worth it to save money but also and more importantly to make a statement. I was proud of being a cloth nappy Mum and wanted people to know that I was not going to accept disposables then nor for the future of our kids. I had the attitude that he is my son and I was responsible for cleaning up his mess - no one else and no other generation. I'm doing a free talk on how/why to use cloth nappies and a hands on workshop sewing cloth menstrual pads (yes, if we wash cloth for our kids, why not for ourselves every month!). See for more details. Eco Nappies and Women’s Products Time and Date 1 – 3pm Saturday 3rd September Venue Community Centre The Grove 1 Leake Street Peppermint Grove See your there!

Loni Peeters

Unfortunately clothing companies are making clothes to fit disposable nappies and often a regular cloth nappy is too bulky for the chic little numbers babies are wearing. That doesn't help the cause. It's not just the disposable nappies; the thousands of disposible wipes a parent uses these days aren't great either. I cut up some old flannelette baby blankets into squares and overlocked the edges. These were perfect for wiping baby bottoms and were just as soft, with the added bonus of not having the chemicals on the commercial ones.

Pauline Kalajzich

It breaks my heart to see the damage all those nappies are doing to the environment. It's cheaper, easier, cleaner, more environmentally friendly and teachers older children values & moral obligation.

Nicole Tyrie

Both of which issues are solved by the use of environmentally friendly flushable liners - you just pop them into the loo and flush the nasties away :)


soon to become a 1st time mum I have been investigating cloth nappies and have been handed a whole bunch of 2nd hand ones from my cousin who had twins a couple years ago lucky me. I do find it a bit daunting investigating all the different types and styles nowadays but there are some places like the where there are stalls that sell the cloth nappies. you can see how they work and what they look like how big they are and what they cost. They also sell the bamboo flushable liners which will be great for flushing away the number twos. I am looking forward to my new baby and cloth nappy adventure.

Nicole Tyrie

When a new mum is expecting, a lot of people giving 'helpful advice' suggest using disposables for convenience. While it may be easier in the short term, it's certainly not pleasant to open up your green bin the day before bin day and get a waft of a weeks worth of nappies! While terry towelling are certainly an option, I think people still want the 'easy' way out - so MCNs (modern cloth nappies) are the way to go. They go on as easily as a disposable, are WAY cuter, and how many people with a baby aren't doing a load of washing daily anyway?! Not to mention they aren't any harder when you're out and about - as SO many places now tell you that you can't dispose of nappies there anyway, so if you're taking a nappy home anyway it may as well be cloth! Definitely more education needed for new mums and mums-to-be though as to what options are available - instead of hospitals/family/strangers just pushing disposables.

James Ciantar

Not only is it a case of 'Not enough time to wash nappies' , it's also, 'too much affluence' and ' too unpleasant to handle to wash'.

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