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, without leaks.

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.

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 information on 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.  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 compost bin 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. They also fund 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 buy a trial pack of 30 nappies, plus 3 packets of their plant-based baby wipes for just £9.95. 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.  

What I like is that Bambo Nature has an absorbent starch core, rather than a chemical-based core associated with standard nappies. The brand also avoids perfumes and other harsh chemicals – including chlorine – in their nappies, which is reassuring. I tried this brand on my kids, and we had no leaks, so it’s a big thumbs up from us!

Beaming Baby

Beaming Baby* claims their chlorine-free nappies contain 30% fewer chemicals than standard disposable nappies.  Meanwhile, the absorbent layer inside the nappy does contain gel.  Instead, it is primarily made from very finely shredded paper. Whilst you might think that shredded paper doesn’t sound very effective or absorbent, again, I tried this brand out on my kids, and 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. This was mainly because they were the easiest eco-friendly disposable nappies to find at the time – 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 faster with nappies than you can make compost.  150 days is a long time when you’re filling the composter every day with more nappies.

I am skeptical. However, if you can’t switch to full on reusables, but are looking to slim your bin, then it could be a good option to help reduce the volume of nappy waste going in your bin.

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. Otherwise, focus on what you can do.

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!

Home, Home and Garden

How To Set A Timer On A Boiler – An Illustrated Guide

Have you moved into a new house with a mechanical boiler timer, and don’t know what you’re doing with it? Don’t worry, I have a mechanical timer, so let me show you how to set a timer on a boiler. I’ve got a step-by-step photographic guide to make things as easy as possible.

I’ve written about setting the timer on your boiler in the past in order to save energy.  But the other day it dawned on me: what if you don’t know how to set a timer? Don’t worry. Let me show you how to set a timer on a boiler.

I have a combi boiler and it has one of those mechanical timers on it. Being used to digital timers I’ll admit I was a little flummoxed by it when we first moved into our house. I did a bit of internet searching and found this useful video about how to set a mechanical boiler timer. 

Video Guide on How to Set Your Boiler Timer

The video should appear above. If you can’t see the video in your browser, then here’s a direct link to the video in YouTube.

Although it is made for Worcester boilers, this video is actually really useful for most makes of boilers. It certainly did the trick for our Valiant boiler. This is because almost all mechanical timers work exactly the same, regardless of the make.

Step By Step Boiler Guide With Photos

If you can’t get the video to work, or if you would prefer a step by step guide that walks you through setting a timer at your own pace, then let me run you through exactly how to set a timer on a boiler. You’ll soon have yours working in no time:

1. Set the time on your boiler

First of all, ignore all the little tabs for now. What you need to do first is set the clock to the right time.

You can do this by turning the dial around clockwise until the arrow points to the correct time in the inner portion of the dial. It’s important to bear in mind that boilers work on the 24-hour clock.  So make sure you’ve set it to 24 hour clock time, otherwise, your heating will come out at odd hours of the night! If it’s 1:30 pm (13:30 in 24-hour clock speak) then you want the arrow to be halfway between the 13 and 14.

2. Now set the time when you want your boiler to come on

Once the time is set correctly, you can now set the times that you would like your heating to come on and go off at.

This is where the little tabs come in. These tabs on a mechanical boiler timer can be overwhelming as there are so many. However, I promise you that they are not as confusing as they look.  All that they do is represent 15 minute periods of time. 

To set what time you want your boiler to turn on, simply push those tabs in for the times that you want your heating on. Let me talk you through this, in case this sounds complicated.

After you’ve set the time properly on your boiler, you’ll notice that each tab lines up with each 15-minute segment of the 24-hour clock. So, to tell your boiler that you want your heating to come on between 5:45 am and 7:30 am, you are going to want to push in all of the tabs that represent that period of time.

Once you’ve done this you should have all 7 consecutive tabs pushed down between 5:45 am and 7:30 am. All of the other tabs should be up.

Here’s a picture of my boiler timer so you can see what I mean.

how to set a timer on a boiler

When I took the photo, the time was 1 pm so you can see that the arrow points to 1 pm (13). You can also see that my heating is set to come on twice a day.  Firstly between 5:45 am and 7:30 am (we are early birds!).  And secondly between 6 pm and 8 pm.  If you look closely you’ll notice the tabs are down at these times, and all of the other tabs are up. It can be quite tricky to see so I have annotated the photo to make this a bit clearer.

It’s quite easy to accidentally twist the dial and change the time when you’re adjusting the tabs. Therefore, you may have to readjust the time at this stage! Just something to be aware of.

3. Next Steps

Now you need to tell your boiler that you want it to run to your scheduled programme. To do this, simply turn the switch that you would normally switch the boiler on to point to automatic scheduling. This may take the form of a picture of a clock or of a stopwatch.  It will depend on your boiler – mine’s a stopwatch. Your boiler should now come on and then switch off automatically at the desired times!  And that’s how to set a timer on a boiler!

Energy Efficiency Tips

I always love a two-for-one deal. So as well as telling you how to set the timer on your boiler, do let me share with you my top energy efficiency tip for your boiler.

It typically takes about half an hour for your house to warm up once you’ve switched your boiler on.  It then takes around half an hour for your house to cool down again once it’s switched off. So, with that in mind, if you get up at 7:30 am and leave the house at 8.30 am, it’s most energy-efficient and comfortable for you if you set your boiler timer for your heating to come on at 7 am and off at 8 am.

ps: you can find lots of energy-saving tips here if you’re looking to save money on your heating bills!