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Babies, Families

Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies That Actually Work

eco friendly disposable nappies

Looking for eco-friendly disposable nappies? Here are the best eco-friendly nappies we’ve found that actually work.

I’m a huge fan of reusable nappies. When my first daughter was born, I went into using reusable nappies thinking it was all or nothing. I was going to use reusable nappies 100% of the time, and that was that. Perhaps for some parents that approach works and is entirely practical for their life. However, at some point along the line, we discovered that for us we would need to use eco-friendly disposable nappies some of the time.

So as well as extolling the virtues of reusable nappies, I’m really keen to let new parents know not to be disheartened if they have to use disposable nappies some of the time or even all of the time. For us, using a disposable nappy at night time was the difference between sleep and no sleep. And of course, washable nappies do not work for everyone’s lifestyle. For others, the upfront cost of reusables may be prohibitive.

As such, I thought I’d do a round-up of the best eco-friendly disposable nappies available in the UK.

Quick Links to Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies

A baby wearing a disposable nappy

First off, here are the quick links for disposable nappy brands, in case you just want to visit the site of a particular brand. Scroll down past this section if you want more information about what makes a nappy eco-friendly, and each eco-friendly nappy brand listed.

In order to help support the running costs of Moral Fibres, this post contains affiliate links, denoted by *. Moral Fibres may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to readers, on items that have been purchased through those links. In the interests of disclosure, some brands have also paid to be featured in this article. This is denoted by **.

Can disposable nappies be eco-friendly?

Before I start, I do have some things to point out about eco-friendly disposable nappies.  My main gripe is that they all say they are biodegradable.  However, due to the way landfill works, nothing truly biodegrades in landfill.

Oxygen is required for biodegradable matter to break down.  However, most landfill sites are so tightly packed that they do not let much or any air in.  Therefore, any biodegradation that does take place does so very slowly, or it is mummified.

Biodegradable items in landfills also release a considerable amount of the greenhouse gas methane.  All I will say is be skeptical of green claims of biodegradability.

Can you compost biodegradable nappies?

You might be tempted to compost nappies labelled as biodegradable instead.  However, biodegradable is not the same as compostable.

Even if you were tempted to try out composting, I wouldn’t.  According to RecycleNow you cannot compost biodegradable nappies in a compost bin as it poses a health risk.

Some nappy manufacturers say you can compost a biodegradable nappy at home.  This is as long as you don’t compost soiled nappies.  As someone who composts, this sounds like a total nightmare. 

If you are using disposables full-time, or even using them part-time, then you’d need a pretty massive composter.  This would be purely to hold that many nappies over a sustained period, as well as the mixed waste that composters require to work effectively.  Nappies would take a long time to decompose in a standard composter, so you might end up with an overflowing before long.  In short, I wouldn’t.

So what’s the point of paying more for eco-friendly nappies?

I’m not completely down on disposable nappies.

There are many plus points associated with eco-friendly disposable nappies.  The first is that they are typically made with far fewer harsh chemicals compared to other nappies.  The absorbent core of disposable nappies is typically filled with harsh chemicals.  However, the eco-friendlier brands have found less chemical-intensive ways to create absorbency without leaks.  This is good for the environment and for your baby’s skin.

The eco-friendlier brands also tend to be made from more renewable resources.  As standard nappies are mostly made of virgin plastic, this reduction in the use of fossil fuels is great for the planet.  

And, finally, eco-friendly nappies tend to be made more ethically.  Take Pampers, who are made by Proctor & Gamble.  Proctor & Gamble has been linked to human rights abuses in its supply chains. And what’s more, Proctor & Gamble has also been linked to the habitat destruction of threatened species.  

Guide to Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies

Image of a baby wearing only a nappy, with a blue text box that says guide to the best eco-friendly disposable nappies

You can avoid supporting these practices by switching to eco-friendly brands, where possible.  Try my guide to the best nappies that benefit both baby and the planet.

Ecoriginals

Australian-based Ecoriginals** have recently started selling their disposable nappies in the UK. This is exciting because this is the first brand I’ve come across that packages their nappies in home compostable packaging. Why it has taken the nappy industry so long to catch up on this, I don’t know, but I’m so glad someone finally has taken this leap.

Catering for sizes from newborn right through to junior nappy pants, these ultra-absorbent nappies will see you right through the baby years.

Ecoriginals say that their nappies are made from 90% plant-based ingredients. This includes materials such as wood pulp, cotton, and corn starch, as well as plant-based glue. Currently, only two of the outer components remain that are not entirely made from plants. The sticky tabs and leg elastic are not. However, both can be cut out and discarded separately after use if needed.

For added impact, Ecoriginals also plants one tree per order, and also funds plastic recycling and solar power schemes in India, to help with the transition to clean power.

If you would like to try Ecoriginals out, you can sign up for a free trial pack of 30 nappies. Just pay £4.99 shipping. Signing up for this also automatically gives you a handy 20% subscription discount for life.

Bambo Nature

Danish made Bambo Nature* nappies top the Ethical Consumer’s league table of disposable nappies.  It’s also the only eco-friendly disposable nappy to be independently accredited by the Nordic Swan eco-label.  Bambo Nature has an absorbent starch core, rather than a chemical-based core, and we had no problems with absorbency.  The brand also avoids perfumes and other harsh chemicals, including chlorine, which is reassuring.

Beaming Baby

Beaming Baby* claims their chlorine-free nappies contain 30% fewer chemicals than standard disposable nappies.  The absorbent layer inside the nappy does contain gel.  However, this is primarily made from very finely shredded paper. Again, I’m happy to report zero leaks!

Moltex Oko

Moltex Oko* says their nappies are made with more than 50% renewable resources.  They’re chlorine-free.  What’s more, they contain no perfumes, as well as minimal amounts of absorbent gels.  I also found the price comparable to standard nappy brands, which is always appreciated!

Naty by Nature

Naty by Nature Nappies* are made in Sweden from 70% natural materials.  These include a combination of natural tree pulp and maize derivatives.  As such, they are 100% chlorine, latex, and plastic-free.

We personally used Naty nappies for both of our kids as our main choice of nappy, mainly because they were the easiest eco-friendly disposable nappies to find – being sold in both Boots and in supermarkets.  If we ran out, we could pick some up at the shop, rather than having to order more in. They also did a stellar job of keeping the contents of the nappy in the nappy. No leaks here!

gNappies

gNappies* are a reusable/disposable hybrid.  This means they feature washable covers with disposable inserts.  As such, they could be an alternative if you didn’t want to go down the all washable or all disposable route.

gNappies say that non-soiled inserts can be placed in a home composter.  Here they say the insert can break down in around 50 to 150 days.  However, it may not be the green solution it seems.

Granted, the inserts are much smaller than conventional nappies.  However, if you’re getting through around 5-7 inserts a day (around 40 a week), then you’re going to run into a problem.  Unless you have a massive compost bin, then your composter may fill fast.  I would say it will fill quickly with nappies than you can make compost.  150 days is a long time when you’re filling the composter every day with more nappies.

What is the best option?

My opinion?  I know washable nappies aren’t for everyone.  If you don’t use washable nappies and can’t afford the extra spend of buying eco-friendly disposable nappies then I wouldn’t worry about using standard nappies.  Budgets don’t often stretch to more expensive nappies.  

As parents, there are a million other things to feel guilty about, without worrying about which nappies you use.  There are plenty of other more beneficial and low-cost ways to help the environment

I would say that if you use washable nappies and are just looking for a nappy just for night-time use then I would try one of the brands listed here.  The same goes if you can afford to use eco nappies full time.

I originally wrote this post back in 2013.  I’ve updated it for 2022.  However, my kids have grown and the nappy days are far behind us.  Therefore I need your help! If there is a brand you love that isn’t listed here do let me know. I want to keep the post updated so that it can remain a useful resource for parents.

ps: I have a handy guide to ethical kid’s clothes right this way.  I also have loads of ethical baby and child tips which I’ve added over the years.  From eco-friendly potty training tips to my eco-friendly baby essentials and the best eco-friendly baby wipes.  Do check them out!

Children, Families

How to Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Have you just forked out a small fortune on school shoes? Me too. The good thing is I have a few tricks up my sleeve to take care of your kid’s school shoes, so they last longer.

It’s back-to-school season. You’ve got the school uniform, the school supplies, and then you’ve spent an eye-watering amount of money on school shoes. Whilst kids are not known for their respect for footwear, the good news is that with a little bit of love and care, you can make your kid’s school shoes last as long as they fit in them.

How To Take Care of School Shoes So They Last Longer

Picture of school shoes on desk with stationery, and a blue text box that says how to take care of school shoes so they last longer.

Here are six tips I use to prolong the life of my kids’ shoes:

Label Them

Kids are notorious for losing stuff. When it comes to PE time, it’s easy for shoes to get lost or mixed up with others. Add a name label to the inside of each shoe, or simply write their name using a permanent marker on the inside. When this starts to fade, make sure to re-write their name. This is the first step in this guide because you can’t care for your school shoes and make them last longer if they are lost!

Use A Waterproof Spray To Make Them Last Longer

Waterproofing your school shoes is essential to help keep the elements out, and to keep them looking their best for longer. Water causes leather to shrink and it may dry the leather out over time, so it really pays to waterproof them.

Before you reach for any old waterproofing spray, bear in mind that some waterproof shoe sprays are better than others. Look for a PFC-free and fluorine-free waterproof shoe spray.

PFC stands for per- and poly-fluorinated chemicals, that are used to weatherproof clothing and shoes. This sounds innocuous, however, these chemicals accumulate in the environment. In fact, for some PFCs there is evidence that they cause harm to both the hormonal and reproductive systems in both humans and animals, as well as being carcinogenic. They’re often referred to as forever chemicals, because of how persistent they are in the environment. Greenpeace has written more on the issues of PFCs if you wish to find out more.

I’ve been using this PFC-free spray from Wildling Shoes. In the interests of full disclosure, this was gifted to me as part of a previous campaign I worked with them on but was under no obligation to include them in this post. I reapply this spray on a regular basis for best results: it’s not something you can spray on once.

If They Do Get Wet, Dry Them Properly

Kids’ shoes get wet, these things happen. When their shoes do get wet, don’t dry them on a radiator or other heat source, or in a tumble dryer. Instead, the best way to care for your kid’s school shoes is to crumple up sheets of newspaper into balls, and pop them into the shoes. Then allow the shoes to dry naturally. The newspaper will absorb the water, and won’t cause the leather to crack or dry out.

Care for Your School Shoes with Polish

School shoes get scuffed. It’s a fact of life. The easiest way to care for them is to buy a scuff cover. These products quickly and easily cover scuff marks, and help restores colour and shine, to help keep your shoes looking smarter for longer. I don’t have any specific recommendations yet – I’m trying out a few different ones. However, I will update in due course which ones I feel work the best. If you have any recommendations then I’m all ears!

Tackle Nasty Niffs Naturally

If your kid’s shoes start to develop an unpleasant odour, then fear not. You can tackle these bad smells naturally with bicarbonate of soda. Simply sprinkle in a little bit of bicarbonate of soda (enough to cover the insole). The next morning, empty out the bicarbonate of soda. The odour should be gone.

Keep Them Clean

To care for your kid’s school shoes, don’t let dirt and mud settle on them. Giving them a good wipe, with a soft damp cloth, at least once a week (or more) helps the dirt from becoming ingrained. Occasionally you may want to bust out the leather cleaner. I’m working on a homemade leather cleaner as we speak. In the meantime, shop-bought leather cleaners can easily be picked up. I like to use a soft brush and cloth, in conjunction with the wax to really get them clean and keep them conditioned.

Any further tips on taking care of kid’s school shoes? Do pop them in the comments below!