What is an 'eco' nappy? And how do they compare?
On average, a baby will require 6000 nappy changes before they are potty trained.
3 billion nappies and 11 billion baby wipes are used every year in the UK alone.
We all know that single-use plastic needs to be reduced and traditional disposable nappies and baby wipes are typically made from oil-based plastics such as polypropylene, polyethylene and polyester. These materials are not commonly recycled and cannot be composted. They take hundreds of years to break down when disposed of in landfill.
For every plastic nappy created 150ml of crude oil is required and 15ml of chlorine bleach.
An Eco Disposable looks just like a regular nappy and will perform like a regular nappy - or better! - but it will be made using significantly less plastic and fewer chemicals.
Are all eco nappies the same?
The term "eco-nappy" has been widely applied to any nappy brand using less plastic and less chlorine, but there are significant differences between the various brands.
The better eco-brands:
- use zero % plastic covers, liners and packaging
- they are free of latex, PVC and chlorine
- they use natural water based or plant based dyes
- zero perfume and zero lotion
- the bulk of the nappy and packaging is plant based and compostable
- and they tend to be carbon neutral and have an higher ethical rating.
It's worth reading the info on each brand's website and packaging very carefully as some will use greenwashing marketing speak. Phrases to watch out for include:
- "cotton enhanced" - this may be as little as 30% cotton enhanced. Meaning 70% plastic on your babies' skin.
- "oxo-degradable liners" - these types of "eco" plastics are banned in Europe because they create micro-plastics and require special conditions to degrade. Look for "bio-based" or "compostable" liners.
- Silence - Some eco-brands actually use normal oil based plastic for liners and simply fail to mention it in their marketing! If they are using compostable bio-based liners, they will definitely call it out. If it is unclear, you can safely assume they are using oil based plastic.
- "lower impact" - this is fairly non descript and can mean very little sustainability has been designed into the actual product. It might refer to the company using some green energy during manufacture and very little else.
- "recycled packaging" - the detail may well reveal just 30% recycled content (the absolute minimum required to avoid the plastic packaging tax)
- "recyclable packaging" - but recycle at larger supermarkets only.
Here at Mama Bamboo we genuinely make the tough decisions and work at every stage to opt for the sustainable choice, even when that makes it less profitable and harder for ourselves.
Mama Bamboo has both B-Corp certification and Sustainable X Summit certification - meaning it has passed the highest standards of ethical and sustainable business. We have been rated "Best for the World Environment" by the B-Corp for the last 2 years running; meaning we are the 'best of the best'.
Mama Bamboo is the highest rated ethical nappy brand by The Good Shopping Guide and the highest rated disposable brand by The Ethical Consumer.
Our nappies and pants are made using:
- 100% bamboo viscose
- 100% compostable liners
- 100% ECF chlorine free certified pulp
- 100% compostable packaging
- No lotions, fragrances, latex, PVC, phthalates or parabens.
Our wipes are made using:
- 100% bamboo viscose
- 99.4% purified water
- 100% kerbside recyclable packaging
- No harmful toxins or endocrine disruptors.
All eco-nappies are better than standard plastic ones - both for the environment and your baby - but some are better than others!
Look for the 100% brands like Mama Bamboo.