For years, the only studies done comparing the environmental impact of cloth to disposables have been commissioned by disposable diapering companies. The few studies that weren't paid for by the disposable diaper companies were done with diaper-service diapers (many bleach-filled washings and replacing the prefolds after only 6 months of use). Finally, an independent European study has been published using modern cloth diapers.
Reusable nappies better for the environment - it’s official!
The latest report by the Environment Agency confirms that reusable nappies, if used and laundered according to manufacturer’s guidelines, can reduce the global warming impact of using reusable nappies over disposables by an incredible 40%.*
Reusable nappies, if used in an environmentally responsible way, create significantly less environmental impact than disposable nappies.
The new report is an update of the Environment Agency’s initial report on the life cycle assessment study for disposable and reusable nappies, which was released in May 2005. The much criticised 2005 report seemed to conclude that there was no significant difference between the environmental impacts of disposable and reusable nappies.
Guy Schanschieff, MD of Bambino Mio, Europe’s leading reusable nappy brand and Chair of the UK Nappy Alliance said: “I am delighted that this update has been published to correct the misunderstanding created by the initial report. It confirms that responsible use of reusable nappies would reduce the modern parent’s environmental impact. Many people questioned the 2005 report and this led to the government commissioning this latest update. Reusable nappies are not only better for the environment, as confirmed by this report, but can save parents considerable amounts of money, which is particularly resonant in the present economic climate.”
Defra’s findings have apparently been contradicted in the Sunday Times, who have latched on to the report’s findings regarding laundry habits. They state that if parents used tumble dryers and washed the nappies at 90oC the carbon impact could ‘spiral to 993kg of CO2.’ However, most parents wash at more sensible temperatures!
* An updated Lifecycle Assessment Study for Disposable and Reusable Nappies, published 17/10/08.
Copies of the latest report are available from www.defra.gov.uk