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Reusable nappies a stretch too far for parents?

Only 5% of parents use washable baby nappies

Baby in disposable nappy

More than a third of parents use disposable nappies despite being aware that ‘disposables are bad for the environment’.

According to new figures from research company Mintel, just 5% of parents choose washable or reusable nappies for their babies and 4% use ‘eco’ or organic varieties – while the rest buy disposable nappies, a market set to be worth £433m by the end of 2010.

That’s despite a third saying they were aware of the environmental impact of disposable nappies, which need to be thrown away rather than washed and used again.

Weigh up the pros and cons of disposable versus reusable nappies in our free advice guide.

Environmental impact of nappies

A disposable nappy can take over 200 years to decompose in landfill – and Mintel estimates that children get through an average of 3,796 nappies during their first two-and-a-half years.

On the other hand, while reusable nappies are sold as an environmentally-friendly option, the environmental impact of reusable nappies is actually highly dependent on the way they are cleaned and dried.

A 2008 report from the Environment Agency suggested that if you wash all your nappies at 90°C and tumble-dry them, for example, they could actually have a more negative impact on the environment than disposables.

Follow our top greener nappy tips to reduce the impact on the environment of whatever nappy you choose.

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