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Real Nappies

Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council is committed to encouraging residents to reduce their waste, to help to protect the environment and to offer information and services that benefit residents. That is why it is promoting real nappies.

Why should I switch?

Better for baby

Modern washable nappies are made from a wide range of soft, quick drying materials like microfiber, super soft bamboo, and conventional terry cotton fabrics.

They also come in a variety of colours and are made to be a far more cosy and natural choice to single-use plastic disposable nappies. Super-absorbent fabrics found in real nappies mean chemicals no longer need to be placed next to a baby’s skin making them a kinder option for your baby.

Great containment

Real nappies offer a practical and dependable replacement for single-use disposables. Parents are frequently surprised to discover that cloth nappies are actually better at keeping solids contained than disposable nappies.

Early potty training 

Experience also shows that babies in reusable nappies tend to potty train months earlier than those in disposables.

Save money

If using real nappies full time, a newborn will need in the region of 20 nappies plus accessories such as nappy liners, waterproof bags, bucket etc.

A full kit, including everything you need, will cost in the region of £300. (Although opting for a cheaper brand or buying pre-loved nappies will cut costs further!) 

Estimated Cost comparisons:

  • Real Nappies £300-£450 approx depending on the brands used. This includes the nappies plus washing costs (electricity, water, washing powder) up to potty training.
  • Disposable nappies £700 -£800 per child.

Also remember that cloth nappies can often be used again on siblings, or can be sold on, leading to greater savings.

Help the environment

Real nappies, as opposed to disposables, give parents more control over their environmental effect because the way you choose to use to wash your real nappies directly affects the amount of carbon dioxide you save. Hence, when used correctly, cloth diapers can be 40% more environmentally friendly than disposable nappies.

Besides that, disposable nappies are created from wood pulp and plastic. Both require extensive production. Every year, about 7 million trees are cut for this reason. A cup of crude oil is used to produce each disposable nappy

Reduce waste

3 billion disposable nappies that are thrown away each and every year in the UK, 90% of these are landfilled. 

Disposable nappies are estimated to take around 500 years to decompose. When you think the average baby goes through between 5000 and 6000 disposable nappies, they will have a large impact on the environment.

Using washable nappies even part time will have a significant effect on the volume of waste you throw away each week – freeing up space in your refuse bin, saving the natural resources used to produce disposable nappies and helping to relieve some of the pressure on landfill sites.

Want to try before you buy? Use your local nappy library.

A great way to find out if real nappies will work for you is to borrow some initially from a lending library. Contact the local nappy library to loan some nappies to try before you buy.

Bethan O’Sullivan is a volunteer who has set up Bethan’s nappy library which covers the Merthyr Tydfil area. Bethan has used real nappies on her own children and can provide advice and guidance to new users and has a range of different nappies to try from so you can choose which is most suitable for your child.

Bethan can be contacted

By telephone on :07756032435,

by email at:



National nappy incentive scheme

The Nappy Gurus Great Big Nappy Census 2022 found that 86% of parents would use an incentive to try reusable nappies, so they now offer a National Nappy Incentive Scheme which is accessible to all. Find further information here: National Nappy Incentive Scheme | The Nappy Gurus

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