Reusable Nappy Week 2023

By Lizzy, Chester Sling Library

Did you know that every year 3 billion disposable nappies are thrown away in the UK? That’s an awful lot of single-use plastic ending up in landfill after just a few hours use. Reusable nappies (also known as cloth nappies or real nappies) are a fantastic alternative and modern types are easy to use, simple to wash and come in lots of very cute designs!

Using reusable nappies doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing – many families use a mixture of reusable and disposable nappies.For example you might use disposable nappies at night-time, or on days out, or when you go on holiday. You might have just a couple of reusable nappies that you use only at home. Every time you use a reusable nappy that keeps a disposable nappy out of landfill, which is a really positive contribution to our environment!

Modern reusable nappies and how to care for them

It can be a bit mind-boggling when you first look at all the types of reusable nappies! Flats, pre-flats, terries, all-in-ones, two-parters, pocket nappies…the list goes on. But don’t let that put you off – modern types are simple to use as they are already shaped and fasten with poppers or velcro. The size can be adjusted as your baby grows so one nappy can fit for years.

Washing is simple too – once used, nappies can be stored in a lidded pail or wet bag until wash day (maybe every 2-3 days). Nappies should be washed on a vigorous cycle with plenty of water to get them clean, but there is no need for extra soaking. Some kinds can be dried in a tumble drier, but line drying in the sun is the best as the UV rays naturally bleach any stains.

No more poonamis (and other benefits of reusable nappies)!

One of my favourite benefits of reusable nappies is no more poonamis! You know that newborn poo which shoots straight out the back of a disposable nappy and covers your baby? Not in reusable nappies: the elasticated waist and leg openings keep that poo well inside!

Some other benefits include:

  • Saving money: in the long run reusable nappies will save you £1000 over 2.5 years vs disposable nappies. Even more can be saved if you use the same nappies for multiple children or buy preloved.
  • Reducing your carbon footprint: the carbon footprint of nappy usage can be reduced by 40% if reusable nappies are used instead of single-use nappies.
  • Reducing single-use plastic and waste going to landfill
  • No plastic or chemicals against your baby’s skin, which is more comfortable and can reduce nappy rash.

Reusable wipes

These are small squares of cloth that can be wetted and used to wipe baby’s bottom instead of disposable baby wipes. They are also fantastic for wiping hands and faces.

At Chester Sling Library we sell handmade reusable wipes from MooMo Baby in a variety of cute designs, or many of the nappy manufacturers also make wipes.

It might feel less of a lead to start using reusable wipes, rather than going full-out and ditching disposables completely. It’s also a low-cost introduction to the world of reusable nappies that allows you to make a difference without a big outlay.

My own reusable nappy journey

I’m a mum to two children, who both wore reusable nappies as infants. When I was pregnant with our first child (now aged 7) I already knew I wanted to use reusable nappies and we purchased a set ready for when our baby was born. Like most “birth-to-potty” nappies they didn’t fit great from newborn so we used disposables until she grew into them. Soon, after some expert advice from the brilliant Hayley at Wrexham Nappy Library to stop night-time leaks, she was in reusable nappies full time. Plus we used reusable baby wipes.

That might sound like a lot of washing, but honestly alongside all the extra laundry a baby creates it didn’t really feel like it made much difference. I quite enjoyed hanging them on the washing line to dry outside and stuffing the nappies in the evening ready for the next day!

When our son was born a few years later we used reusable nappies right from the start. I bought some second hand newborn size nappies from a friend which fitted him straight away, and then he moved into the ones his sister had used, plus a few extras I had bought along the way (mainly for cute patterns…I did say reusable nappies are cute!).

Alongside using reusable nappies we practised elimination communication (EC or baby pottying), especially for poos. Because scraping weaning poo off a nappy wasn’t for me! I know some people rinse or scrape poos off the nappy into the toilet, which works for them.

It’s been a while since I had to wash a nappy load and to be honest I don’t miss it, but I have no regrets about using reusable nappies. I loved knowing that I was reducing our plastic waste, the cute designs and never having to remember to buy nappies or wipes. I was really glad many of our nappies were used by two children, and some of our cloth wipes are now nearly 8 years old and still going strong!

Where to find out more

If you are interested in finding out more about reusable nappies or trying them for yourself, there is information at

Retailers can be really helpful too and will often help you to find the right type of nappy to suit you, and even recommend nappies to fit slim/tall/chunky-thighed babies! I have found Babipur really helpful, and also Lizzie’s Real Nappies.

Facebook groups can be a great source of information and a place for buying and selling reusable nappies.

So whether you would like to use reusable nappies a little or a lot you can make a contribution to reducing plastic waste, reducing your carbon footprint and using fewer of the world’s precious resources.

Happy Reusable Nappy Week 2023! Lizzy

Eco Communities

You can find more about Lizzy and Chester Sling Library on her Website – CLICK

We also know Lizzie from Lizzie’s Real Nappies really well – find our more – CLICK

Helen Tandy, Director Eco Communities

Published by plasticfreenorthener

I’m a partner and Ethical Financial Adviser, I’m Director of Eco Community UK Community Interest Company which I set up to help individuals and businesses be more sustainable.

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