When you buy something using the retail links in our blog posts, we may earn a small commission. This money goes towards fuelling further content. If you want to support us, you can also buy us a coffee ☕
I’m always looking to reduce my plastic footprint and live a more sustainable lifestyle. Smol have us sorted for all of our dishwasher and laundry needs whilst being totally plastic free, and we have also more recently tried out their eco-friendly surface cleaner. Here is our Smol Review!
Why choose Smol
If it’s one thing that comes in plastic packaging that could easily be swapped its dishwasher and laundry tabs and, put simply, Smol have it sorted. A simple subscription platform, with tabs posted through the letter box means you never run out and never see a plastic tub again.
With one child that always gets messy and another who’s 2 months old and loves to throw up, its handy knowing we never run out and use a formula that works every time.
It is one step further on our journey to reduce our eco-impact.
Smol claim to make high performance, sustainable swaps effortless, accessible and affordable. They say they cut carbon by 35% whilst keeping prices fair. Bigbold claims.
So how does it work?
How does Smol work?
I’ll use laundry tabs as an example, but its a similar process for any of their products.
Click this link, tap ‘get started’ and choose the first product to switch, so for this example we picked laundry.
Take a free trial and then tell them:
What type of capsule you need? Bio or non-bio
How many capsules you need in a wash (some cases require two)
How often you run a wash
And they will then send them at the frequency matching your use. Consequently, you never run out.
But what happens if you do run out?
It’s inevitable your dishwasher or laundry use changes from time to time so sometimes you do need more. You can pop back into your account and adjust your usage or click ‘send now’ to be popped in the next post collection.
How environmentally friendly is Smol?
I originally chose Smol as they are 100% plastic free (for dishwasher and laundry). AlI in sent in a clever cardboard child-proof case too.
A child proof case that albeit is clever it’s very hard to master mind you.
However, it turns out they do a lot more. The packaging is fully recyclable and compostable, they use vegetable based inks so there’s no nasties there and their cardboard is from sustainable managed sources (Forest Stewardship Council approved). They are also cruelty free having never tested on animals and save chemicals, water, animal fat and carbon.
How do they stack up in terms of cost?
Probably the most important question aside ‘do they work?’ is will they cost me more? It’s disappointing that most eco-friendly swaps are not that economical.
To compare, let’s look at the maths for the laundry capsules. 24 laundry capsules come in at £5.30 or 22.1p per wash.
Top leading brands, Ariel, Fairy and Persil rank in at 23.5p, 28.2p and 21.7p (according to Tesco.com on 05 Jan 2023 for similar quantities). So against the top brands they do rank well.
For the more money savvy though, own brand and buying in bulk can save money ?. However, that comes with the mountain of capsules for bulk buying, the less acceptable performance for own brand and lack of totally plastic free alternative for any shop bought alternative.
Do they work?
If you need any evidence of how well they work I’ll tell you this. I have kids.
Kids who come back from nursery caked in dinner, love jumping in muddy puddles and generally making a total mess.
Kids who like a fresh bowl with every snack and like all children get pasta sauce caked all over the plate and cutlery resulting in many many dishwasher runs.
If they didn’t work, I’d be looking for an alternative.
The surface cleaner is a new addition which I thought I’d try the trial to give my thoughts.
This comes as a reusable plastic bottle which you can keep and reuse forever (It’s seems well built but I imagine the odd replacement spray nozzle will have to be ordered resulting in a little plastic waste over time).
It has a simple process. Fill to a the bottom of the coloured grip. Pop in the tablet. Wait to dissolve and then top up with water again. Very simple. (This is a big improvement on others such as Splosh (see our Splosh Review here) as they require a vigorous work out style mixing.
It couldn’t be easier. The tablet quickly dissolves and I appreciate avoiding the shaking. It smells pleasant and cleans perfectly, tackling our kitchen with ease.
It’s so good we’ve subscribed ?
Verdict and those all important stars
Smol have an easy to use subscription platform, handy email updates to check your stock and the simple system to push it back, order more and never ran out process.
They are moderately expensive being only comparable to top brands, however are fully support our eco-conscious lifestyle being 100% plastic free, recyclable and compostable. You never run out and they are effective for our messy family.
For me, a huge priority for the future of our children is sustainability. Our planet has shown us that it is struggling and it is our responsibility to listen.
The idea of making changes can often be incredibly overwhelming, expensive and may not even align well with our daily routines and lifestyle.
As such, it is important to consider making small but gradual changes in your daily life and commencing with things that will be accepted and used immediately. In doing so, the changes you make will be more inclined to form long lasting patterns of behavior, increased feelings of success and a greater likelihood to try other eco friendly alternatives in the future!
It’s about setting yourself up for success and even one small change can make a very big difference!
What do I mean by this…?
Well, my first real eco-friendly change commenced over 16 years ago now, when I became a mum for the first time.
I bought my very first set of cloth nappies!
Back then, the nappies were not pretty at all! In fact I was definitely overwhelmed by the idea of using cloth, having lots of washing, touching poop – and terrified as a young 20 year old of those safety pins!
However, I commenced the journey because I wanted a better future for my child. I had seen footage and read information about the impacts of disposable nappies on our environment, particularly increased landfill and the damage to our seas and wildlife. I had also read about the huge financial savings that went with this change. For me, it was definitely worth trying!
These days, the change is even easier with modern cloth. They work just like a disposable (snaps or Velcro) and are fully washable.
They also come in the cutest designs, which is definitely very exciting for a Nightmare Before Christmas fan such as myself!!
I find that on average, I spend about 5 to 10 minutes extra per day managing my cloth nappies compared to those days where I have had to use disposables (for example when I have been on holidays).
They are just so easy and truly do not require huge changes in your daily life or routines to use. I am forever washing with three children, what is another load of washing every couple of days?! Cloth nappies do however make a huge difference to the planet – with even just one change a day!
How can something so small make a difference?
In the first two to three years of your child’s life, it is expected that you will change approximately 5,500 nappies!
In Australia, this means that over 2.1 BILLION disposable nappies will be thrown away every year.
Although the majority does end up in landfill, others will enter our waterways, or discarded on roadsides and parks. The damage can be devastating for the health of our natural ecosystems, particularly for our aquatic animals.
From a financial perspective, using disposable nappies exclusively will cost you approximately $2000! This is money that you will literally be throwing away!
How many cloth nappies are required to service the first few years of your child’s life?
20 – 30 cloth nappies are considered ample to support your child for their first few years of life. This equates to 13 cents a nappy change and a grand total of around $200 for the lifespan of your nappies to maintain them (water and detergent).
Although the initial outlay can be expensive, you will save so much money in the long term and if you care for your nappies according to their recommended guidelines, they may also benefit another family at the end of your journey.
I have actually sold some of my nappies as toilet training has commenced and get around 50% of what I paid back!
Cloth nappies range in price, starting at around $6.99 for a basic shell. These days, you can purchase cloth nappies from a range of places, including Aldi, Kmart, Big W and various other department stores.
I do however, recommend spending a little more in the initial outlay phase and buying a decent brand that has good reviews. There are so many wonderful brands out there that have been tried and tested for quality, durability and affordability. If you are in need of recommendations feel free to check out my Instagram for reviews and ideas – @chickedy_and_chic.
The average price that I have paid for my nappies has been around $25 to $30 each (new). These come with the inserts, care instructions and have been tried and tested by many users so that you can be confident in their quality and value for money.
If you were to buy a full time stash at this price, your outlay is approximately $750. But remember, this will last you for years and no impulse buying crisis will ever interfere with your ability to buy nappies again! Yes… this happened here in Australia!
I also have a huge portion of my stash that is second hand. As a cloth nappy and eco advocate, I love the idea that I am able to reuse and recycle. In fact some of the cutest nappies from my stash are second hand!
When I became a mum for the second time, this is exactly what I did… I found a mum selling her entire stash (75 nappies!!) and bought all of them for $200! They were in excellent condition and have served my two youngest children right through until the end of their nappy journeys.
Cloth nappies can be sanitized if you are concerned about buying second hand.
Important Environmental Facts
It takes one cup of crude oil to make just 1 disposable nappy
It takes twice the water to produce one disposable nappy than to wash your cloth nappy 200 times!
Disposable Nappies are not biodegradable, meaning that it can take between 300 and 500 years to breakdown (if at all)
Cloth nappies do not require soaking, bleaches or nasty chemical treatments. My cloth nappies go into a dry pail after use and get washed every 2 days according to the CCN recommendations for safety. How easy is that?!
I use environmentally safe washing detergents and wash on a 40-60 degree Celsius cycle. I wash mine in with my towels to maximize the benefits and save time, energy and water.
Cloth nappies are made from environmentally sustainable materials with some fibres such as bamboo, hemp and wool requiring less water and energy to produce. They also are often free of harmful pesticides and can be ethically sourced with ease. Many do use plastics (to provide a waterproof layer), however it is often created from renewable materials like paper pulp! I am actually less excited by cotton as the cotton industry is one of biggest pollutants!
Health and Safety Facts
Cloth nappies use less harmful chemicals, dyes etc like chlorine, alcohol and sodium laurel sulfates. Many of these chemicals have been banned in women’s products due the dangers to health, yet can still be found in many disposable nappies!
Cloth nappies allow for airflow and the body to breath this means less bacteria, chances for rashes (you must still change your baby regularly) and other more serious long term health risks. There are also a number of studies that have looked at temperature differences that exist between disposable and cloth, again demonstrating a preference to make the change!
Cloth nappies do not need to be changed more frequently than a disposable (every 3 hours is standard). However, there are specific overnight nappies that can allow you to go longer between changing and are highly absorbent. I have two toddlers, one just turned 4 and the other is 2.5 years. Both use cloth at night still and although they are very wet when they wake in the morning, there are no leaks! These nappies often require a wool cover to be placed over the nappy to provide a waterproof barrier.
Caring for your Nappies
Cloth nappies do not require soaking or any chemicals. Just place them into a dry pail!
If you wash every few days, you can pop the nappies and inserts into pre-wash cycles then do a main wash every 2-3 days.
Always follow the guidelines and care instructions that come with your nappies or join a Facebook or Instagram Group that can help you to care for your nappies. This will ensure that your nappies stay clean, smell and bacteria free and that you will be able to use them for years to come!
Never put your nappy in the dryer (inserts you can put in dryer on low heat) and never use barrier nappy creams or fabric softeners as this can drastically reduce the life and effectiveness of your nappy.
The cloth community is in general very supportive. I have made so many amazing friends and connections over my past 16 years as a cloth mum. If you are unsure, need recommendations or are facing any challenges, I can almost guarantee that there is a Facebook or Instagram group to help you through! We are all parents, all know the struggles and challenges of newborns and children and so it is all about empowering each other to succeed.
I have also seen a number of groups on the rise just for dads! I love this idea and think that it is absolutely brilliant. Our world and stereotypical formula of ‘mum at home’ is no longer the only way. We need to empower dads to also feel confident in taking environmentally friendly steps in their parenting and support them. Welcome Dads!!
The feedback that I generally have read from men is that Velcro Modern Cloth is preferred compared to the snaps. Velcro is definitely much easier to use (but remember to fold the Velcro tab before popping it in the wash!).
Daycare and childcare centres will also often be very supportive and accommodating. When my middle child attended Daycare, I would send a pod of approximately 6 nappies and some wet bags. The feedback from our centre was that cloth was equally easy to use compared to disposable!
Designs and Styles
You can buy cloth nappies in virtually every design on the planet!! This is where you hear many parents joking about the cloth nappy addiction…. IT IS REAL!
I have my workhorse nappies, but I also have my collection of pretties! I have My Little Pony, Carebears, Nightmare Before Christmas, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Dinosaurs, Disney and so much more! Your cloth nappy can be transformed into an outfit in its own right! My girls absolutely love selecting their nappies and of course have their favorite designs.
Cloth nappies can come in different styles and with different types of inserts and elastics. You can buy cloth nappies in Velcro or with snaps (which can be front or side).
I recommend trying a few brands when you buy your initial stash so that you can narrow down what your personal preference is. You can always resell or donate any cloth nappy that doesn’t work well for your family. Personally, I am not a fan of side snapping nappies, but I do prefer snaps, particularly on toddlers who have learnt to remove their clothing with ease! I have also recently learnt that you can also turn them around with the Velcro or snaps at the back to avoid removal and nudie runs!
WAHM vs Commercial Styles; You will often see the term WAHM used in cloth nappy circles. This stands for Work at Home Mum and indicates that this nappy is handmade. I love supporting local families and small businesses and definitely have a large portion of WAHM nappies in my stash! I also love that you can tailor the nappy to what suits you. You can choose the fit and the fit is very trim compared to some of the commercial styles out there!
Abbreviations and Lingo
This part was definitely the trickiest to learn for me! However if you are unsure of what someone is meaning, I suggest asking to clarify. There are also some great pages that have cheat sheets of abbreviations online – Google was my friend for a long time!
Buying Cloth Nappies
There are many stores that stock cloth nappies. Often, these stores will assist you with the fit and style so that you purchase something that is best suited to you as the parent or baby. My preference is to buy your nappies after baby is born.
You can also purchase online.
If you do purchase online and are not able to view the product, make sure that you check the reviews first.
Again, I recommend buying a few different brands and styles to try before you buy a complete stash of nappies. Start with buying 3-4 cloth nappies and try them out before attempting to go full cloth. You want to increase your chances of success, which means being strategic in the style and brand that you select.
You may even want to master the daytime cloth nappy process before going to overnight styles and use, as this can be a little trickier if you are a beginner.
I have bought some brands in the past (mostly because of their amazing fabrics) that have had a huge cult like following, only to find that the fit was way off for my children. I was so pleased that only a few were purchased and that I could resell them with ease!
I am all about reducing, reusing and recycling! I own a large number of cloth nappies in my stash that are second hand, however there are a few things to know if you wish to buy pre-loved.
Ask Questions – what is their washing routine? How many nappies are in their stash (the more nappies, the less use that they will have had in theory)? Did they buy the nappies new or secondhand? How much use has it had, including how many children have used it? Does it have any stains? What are the elastics like? What is the PUL or plastic inside layer like? Ask them to sell photos if buying online. I also recommend paying via Paypal Goods and Services where possible because if there is an issue, you have buyer protection available.
View the nappies if possible. When you look at the nappy there are some important things to check. Unfortunately, there have been some occasions where I have purchased a nappy or a bulk lot of nappies, only to find that they are delaminated or have slack elastics!
Make sure that you check the elastics. Are they slack? Are they absent? There are generally elastics around the legs and in the back pockets (sometime on the tummy). These need to be tight or the nappy has a very high chance of leaking. Tight elastics provide a better seal and trust me it is worth checking!
Turn the nappy inside out (if you can) and look at the PUL (plastic lining). Is it bubbling? Is it lifting? Discolored? Does it make a crunching sound if moved around?
This plastic coating is probably one of the most important elements in your nappy! It is what makes it waterproof. Make sure that it is in good condition and that there is no bubbling, lifting or discoloration.
Check for stains, smells and any damage to the liners/inserts. Sometimes inserts can curl and this is normal, however you do not want holes or stains. Check the snaps and Velcro to make sure that it is all in good working condition.
Again, I recommend starting out with just a few brands to narrow down what you like before completing your full stash.
Making your own Cloth Nappies
Can you sew? Making your own cloth nappies can be so rewarding and a wonderful way to tailor a nappy to what you prefer and the designs that you love.
Handmade nappies often provide a more trim fit that can make clothing sit a lot better – particularly shorts and leggings.
I recommend joining a cloth nappy group for this, for example – ‘How to make your own cloth nappies’ to get advice on things like the best materials for your inserts (hemp, cotton, microfiber, bamboo).
The fabric that is generally used in cloth nappies is PUL. PUL is a polyester fabric, backed with a waterproof laminate coating. It is used a lot to make cloth nappies but can also be used to make bibs, art smocks, bed wetter sheets, training pants, menstrual and breast pads, carseat covers, pram liners, baby change mats and so much more. It can be purchased in the most adorable prints! There are many online stores that stock PUL.
Some of the more popular patterns that can be purchased to make your own cloth nappies include:
As mentioned, my stash is diverse and includes a mixture of brands, styles and new, handmade and secondhand. However, I do have some preferred brands.
These include (in no particular order):
Mimi & Co
Bare and Boho
Close Pop In
My Little Gumnut
Bibs n Buns
From the Rose Garden (FTRG)
Libby Lou Rose (LLR)
Will you make the change?
If you have any questions or need support, my inbox is always open! You are also free to check out my instagram – @chickedy_and_chic for lots of recommendations, eco friendly ideas, parenting and play strategies. I am all about empowering others and am a very positive, welcoming person.
– Costello A et al 1989 The Sanitary Protection Scandal. The Women’s Environment Network
Hi There! My name is Tegan and I am a mum of three girls aged 16, 4 and 2.5 years.
I am also a psychologist and criminologist, who holds a particular interest in early childhood learning and development.
Over the last decade, I have connected and learnt so much as a practitioner and a mum, but enjoy learning each and every day.
I also love to share my knowledge and ideas!
In my career, my specific field of interest has been working with children impacted by trauma and as such, I have worked extensively in the fields of sexual abuse, domestic and family violence, drug and alcohol abuse, foster care and supporting those in or at risk of child safety intervention.
I joined Instagram as a means to beat Covid boredom and was so blessed by the experience. I have networked and connected with so many likeminded professionals and parents – including Daddy and Munchkin. I love this blog so much because it includes everything… parenting, tips and ideas, reviews and more!!
If you would like to connect or are interested in any of my play based ideas, learning strategies or eco based suggestions, please visit
All opinions are my own, and where I profit this is highlighted.
1. Choose plastic free dishwasher and washing tablets
For all your dishwasher and laundry (bio and non-bio) needs there is one supplier who stands out for us, Smol. We have been using them for a few months now and can honestly say there no reason not to switch. They are cheaper than leading alternatives and equally effective, with fully cardboard packaging but still with child safe locks, delivered to your door and with a free trial.
2. Clean and protect your entire house, and reduce your plastic foodprint
There a full review of Koh here. But, put simply, they provide cleaning cloths and solutions with reusable bottles and washable cloths. The solution works on your oven, but is safe on your kids toys. More recently, they have a developed a solution which repels bacteria for 7 days from application – clever stuff and plastic reduced!
I’m not saying this is always easy to find out, but if you look around you can. For example, we have recently got some lovely dried flower displays from our good friend SunSoakedFlorals who uses 100% plastic free packaging.
Similarly, if you need a new board game, big potato board games have removed all plastic from their packaging. If you are interested I can also give you 22% off*. Contact me on Instagram or by email for a code.
*I earn commission on sales at big potato board games, but own enough of them to prove my thoughts are genuine.
4. Use biodegradable nappies when the reusable ones are in the wash
While reusable nappies are brilliant during the day for us, they struggled at night, and there was always the wash days which needed disposables. Biodegradable disposables may expensive, but when using them at the rate we do, when balancing with reusables, its unnoticeable. For biodegrable nappies we use kit and kin. But other good brands exist such as Naty, Beaming Baby and more. We chose kit and kin for their cute designs.
I switched to natural, plastic free deodorant by AKT over six months ago and It’s one of the best things I have done. It smells great, makes me sweat less, contains no carcinogens like antiperspirant and is developed by west end performers (and I love a musical).
Here’s another great one I discovered recently. If, like me, you like to upgrade your devices, you also tend to buy a new case to protect it. And what happens with that case when you recycle your device? Here’s where Pelacase come in, they make durable, but compostable phone and airpod cases and watch bands. I’ve used one for two months, and noticed no difference to my usual plastic housing. So next time you upgrade your phone, upgrade your case too.
I never thought I cared that much about cleaning, then I spent months at home during lockdown and kept seeing the same adverts. One cleaning solution for alljobs, which powerfully cleans the oven but is equally safe for kids toys. There was only one way to know if it works. I had to give it a go. This is my Koh review.
I bought one of their packages. This included cleaning solution (delivered in a wine box style container), reusable washable cleaning cloths, a refillable spraying bottle and some tough diamond scrubbers. That’s a significant saving of single use plastic bottles and cloths. Its also eco-certified, vegan and cruelty free.
Koh Review – the tests
I tested the bathroom first. Blimey did it shine like never before, and all without burning my nostrils and throat with bleach (the usual occourence when scrubbing the grout.
Then came the true test, the oven. Following the instructions, you spray and leave the solution on for two minutes, then spray a diamond scrubber and get to work. Our oven needed some TLC, but after one go it improved substantially, and after two looked good as new. No over-priced, hazardous oven cleaning set in sight.
A few months later
A few months down the line, impressed, we tried the mop package. With reusable, washable mop pads this is another game changer. It also comes with a neat little silicone scrubber and hair catcher. The pads attach and detach easily, and machine wash for re-usability.
The solution is scent free. However, that makes it personalisable. Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the bottle, shake, and you’ve got your own personal fragranced cleaner. We’ve currently got some lavender scent and its lovely!
Then the most important one. It’s child safe (although keep the neat solution away from their little hands). What it means, is we can go from the oven to his toys, knowing when dry, they are perfectly safe to play with again. And we can use it with the mop, knowing he can crawl or walk over it straight after!
Price wise it also pays for itself. With what I now have, compared to the oven cleaner, non washable mop pads, mop solution, window cleaner, cloths, bathroom cleaner, bleach…. etc etc I now just have one solution.
Therefore its cheaper, safer, effective and better for the environment!
With a planet drowning in plastic the switch to wooden toys may be one thing to help prevent the crisis. With wooden toys becoming reasonably priced, featuring popular characters, readily available and aesthetically pleasing why wouldn’t you?
We knew we wanted to make Munchkin as single use plastic free as possible from before he was born (though, we admit, it took months to be totally plastic free). So we switched his nappies, wipes, removed nappy bags, bought second hand plastic (or promised to re-gift or hand down) and always aim to buy wooden toys. Read about our plastic swaps and promises in the links below.
Admittedly, with toys, its not always this simple. Toddlers are stimulated by lights and sounds, where wooden toys can be more aimed at role play, or mentally challenging tasks like puzzles, shape or colour sorting. Knowing this, we didn’t avoid plastic to allow Munchkin access to these features, but use Facebook marketplace, or when buying new, are happy knowing we will use this for Baby-G 2.0, or sell on or donate in the future.
However there are many a wooden alternative to plastic toys and their prices are decreasing. Just weeks ago, we found a solid wooden alphabet animal shaped puzzle in Wilkinson’s for £5. The big shows are also going plastic free with ‘Hey Dougee’ and ‘Peppa Pig’ getting eco-friendly with their offerings so there’s something for every child.
My only worry now though, is when you take a glance up the older children’s aisles in our toy shop. It seems the older kids get, the more limited the wooden offerings become. Lets hope this changes before Munchkin grows up.
So why not treat your little one this Christmas, and also help save this wonderful planet for their future?
Since then we’ve made some more plastic free promises.
Using reusable fruit and veg bags
Every supermarket now sells reusuable fruit and veg bags near (you guessed it!), the fruit and veg. This means we can pick loose again without using any plastic.
Plastic free ‘shower gel’ and shampoo products from Kitenest
I intended on purchasing some of these and then kindly received some as a Christmas present (yay!). Their activated charcoal soap is a perfect replacement for shower gel leaving your skin smooth and smelling like the spa. I’ve also got a lemon shampoo bar but i’ve yet to try it out. Ill let you know when I have. Kitenest also do bamboo care products, reusable face wipes, plastic free dry shampoo and more. Kitenest.co.uk
Replacing antibacterial wipes
Although this was forced to fall back to wipes due to the COVID madness, we had removed the use of antibacterial wipes for using an antibacterial spray and a cloth. This keeps the efficacy of the solution but low plastic use.
Biodegradable baby wipes
Since having a little munchkin, we have been keen to reduce the potentially huge plastic impact of such a tiny human. Wipes were next on the list, and thanks to cheap home-band wipes on the high street at Boots this was easy as pie.
Recycling bread bags
Another bug bear of mine, I love bread and a lot of bread comes in bags. Luckily these are collected at supermarkets in the bag recycling bins. Along with bread bags are many other plastics including cereal liners, frozen food bags and bubble wrap. Read more here.
Recycling baby food pouches (Ella’s kitchen only)
We’ve recently also switched baby foods to allow for more recycling. Terracycle and Ella’s kitchen created Ellacycle. This programme takes Ella’s baby food pouches and snack wrappers. Read about Ellacycle here. Now thats one less thing to worry about when changing nappies, running after a toddler who’s a very fast crawler and hoping you can still get whole milk during self-isolation…
As i said in my first plastic post. It’s not about changing everything, and it’s not about doing it overnight. It’s about changing bit by bit overtime. It all adds up and makes a difference.
We were progressing well with reducing single use plastics. But then, with the birth of our little Munchkin, came the nappies. Not a small amount, but a huge pile of nappies every week filling the bin destined for landfill ?.
It was a step backwards in our single use plastic reduction plans. We made a decision to trial reusable nappies, but then saw the price. It’s definitely one of those things you invest the money in and then reap the financial rewards later, but as a new parent who’s just bought all of the essentials, the price was off-putting.
Luckily when the Munchkin was 5 and a half months, a friend from work who knew I wanted to try reusable nappies and had some spare. And so the trial began…
We bought the Bambino Mio miosolo birth to potty pack which included 15 nappies (you can find Bambino Miosolo here). You also get a bin and a couple of laundry bags, some biodegradable liners and biodegradable wipes (woo! ?), an additive to your wash for stain removal and some boosters (for extended night use (or so they say).
The nappies come adjustable with poppers to change the size. This takes them from newborn to potty training. You then just pop in a liner (this catches the chunkier mess) and then put them on your bubba just like a normal nappy.
Well so they say…
We found we called it a trial period for a reason. There certainly is a period of settling in. A highlight of this being a wee leak all over Nanny’s leg in week 3.
One Month Later…
One month in, we’ve mastered the technique. For us, after much trial and error, we found it was to strip wash the nappies first and do them a incy wincy bit tighter.
With 15 nappies in this set, that’s a lot of regular washing. Washing regularly is better for this environment though and this is the environment we are trying to improve for our little ones who will grow up with whatever we leave them!
After the settling in month, Mummy and Daddy are used to the endless washing and the effect can be seen. We have reduced use of plastic nappies down to one for night time so it’s now saving some pounds (useful on shared parental leave), the black bin is back down to the bare minimum and the guilt has reduced.
In mid 2020 we combined reusables with biodegradable single use nappies from Kit and Kin. Finally we have accomplished single use plastic free nappy use around the clock.
If your thinking of trying reusables I recommend giving them a pop. If your Munchkin is like ours, it could be a tough trial period but once you’ve figured it out it you’re saving money and saving the planet.
One Year On…
Well, one and a bit years on. At two years two months we started to get rashy and only with the reuseable nappies. So after changing detergent, strip washing, higher temperature washing, trying different treatments to his skin we had to wave the white flag. This doesn’t mean we have gone back to plastic nappies though don’t worry. We are now biodegradable with Kin and Kin.
If, like me, you want to reduce the amount of plastics that end up in landfill you’ll be interested in Terracycle.
Terracycle is a company with three streams of recycling. There’s only one relevant to me, which this post is about, which is the free recycling.
The free recycling programmes are funded by conscientious companies and are then supplemented by a network of local people and companies. For example, I found a collector on a walk with the Munchkin the other day. They had an extra bin in their garden ready to collect for multiple schemes.
The schemes/collections take all the recycables you cant put in your local waste recycling bin. For example:
Crisp, nut and popcorn packaging
Chocolate wrappers, multipack packaging
Washing tab packets
Toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes
Face wipe, soap dispenser nozzles, make up and cream tubs
Pet food pouches
Tassimo pods, pod packaging, coffee refill pouches
Find a programme that recycles what your waste. For example, if you want to recycle crisp packets youd find multiple schemes:
Scroll down and check the ‘Accepted waste’ section to check that that scheme collects the waste you generate. For example ‘The KP Snacks® Nuts, Popcorn, Crisps and Pretzels Packet Recycling Programme’ takes all brands of crisp, popcorn, nut and pretzel packs.
Check the best practices section below to know how they want the recyclables then scroll back up and check the locations by clicking here:
Find a collector, collect and deliver. Its as simple as that. Find a collector that is collecting for all the scheme of waste you generate and boom!, its just one extra trip each time you want to empty your collections.
Here is my ultra glamorous collection area at my home. When these boxes are full ill pop down to the road, empty and begin collecting again.
There are collection points everywhere. Here is the map for England for the KP nuts scheme:
There’s more goodness…?
Yep. Not only will you be saving the planet but Terracycle also give Terracycle points to collectors which can be redeemed for ‘ charitable gifts, TerraCycle products, or a donation to a school or non-profit of your choice’.
Its a win win win scheme. Less waste, less plastic going to landfill, more money going to charities and schools and consequently more happy people.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock it’s likely been unavoidable to know about the plastic problem on this planet.
To tackle our plastic footprint, reducing single use plastics are the swaps we started with and there have been some easy switches I’ve made. (Though there are plenty more to make too).
It didn’t happen overnight. It has been a slow process of reducing bits one by one for us.
We started in the kitchen. Cling film was a big bug bear of mine so that went first. Swiftly followed were food and freezer bags and both of these were easily swapped for reusable tubs.
We then looked to the next big pile up of plastic: shopping bags. We began recycle our shopping bags and replace them with more permanent tote style bags. Most supermarkets have collection bins and Ocado even pay you to take them (with an order). For fruit and veg we started to take it loose too. There are plenty of alternate plastic-free fruit and veg bags out there if you really need to use something.
I then made an extra effort to recycle more and correctly. It’s amazing when you look at it what you can and can’t. Checking with your local authority is the place for this one.
Terracycle recycling began this year. A colleague at work set up collection for our company.
The Terrecycle scheme takes near to everything you can’t traditionally recycle. For example: crisps packets (grr), toothpaste tubes, toothbrushes, chocolate wrappers, sweet wrappers…….the list goes on. And on and on and on. You just need to find a collector which you can do on the website, deliver to them and they send then on to Terracycle. (See my Terracycle post here).
From those reductions I’d only be less than quarter-filling my bin destined for landfill, rather than the previous three quarters.
But then the Munchkin arrived and so did disposable nappies. You only had to look in the bin every fortnight to see the effect with the bin back up to half full.
We had to try something different! We changed to Mio miosolo nappies when Munchkin was around 5 and a half months and then just use disposables for the nights as this is where reusables seem to struggle. It’s another load of washing so a little extra effort but that is a small sacrifice for the 25 nappies not ending up in landfill each week. Especially given those 25 extra nappies would outlive our little Munchkin by 100 years or more.
Future swaps I’m looking at are trying reusable baby wipes and biodegradable nappies for the nights (which are swapped and you can read about here). Though hopefully when Munchkin sleeps through the night the washable nappies may last.
It’s not about changing everything, and it’s not about doing it overnight. It’s about changing bit by bit overtime. It all adds up and makes a difference.