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Things About Disposable Nappies That Every Parent Should Know

Reusable vs disposable

Looking back on my parenting journey this far, I wish that there was more education around choices that I could have made to help leave a healthier environment for my kids and future grand kids.

To be honest with you, when my kids were little, I thought cloth nappies would create too much washing and take up too much time.

How wrong I was!!!

But what would have happened if someone had said to me -

"what about once a day?"

Once a day put your child in undies or a cloth nappy and that could save you 365 nappies per year! That would have totally changed my perspective.

Environmental image of nappies

Image Courtesy of

It scares me that the nappies I put in the wheely bin 16 years ago still exist in the landfill. In fact they will be there for potentially another 480 years.

That is why I want to start the "once a day campaign" so I can be part of the solution instead of contributing to the creation of an ever increasing problem.

I would love it if you would consider joining the once a day campaign where we put our kids in either a cloth nappy or reusable Wee Pants: Absorbent Underwear at least once a day. 

What I love about the once a day concept it is totally achievable for every family. Even if you are a working parent and your kid is in daycare then you can still easily put them in absorbent undies or a cloth nappy in the afternoon or evening when you are home.

It saves you money on buying at least 7 nappies per week. Or 365 nappies per year.

If each parent did this throughout NZ, it would save 1 million nappies going to the land fill each week! So each of our little steps can add up to big impact if we work together.

Here's how to join the movement:

1. Decide - Am I going to put on my child a cloth nappy or absorbent undies once a day?


Sassy Pants nappies are so easy to use find your favourite colour/pattern and grab one to try.

Wee Pants: Absorbent Undies 3 pack are a great way to start and they are on discount so if you have a toddler approaching toilet training they are perfect! Find the designs your child will love HERE

2. Choose a time when you are going to start in either. Wash the nappies or undies first and go for it.

3. Join our private FB group to share ideas, photos and discuss questions. Join us HERE 
4. Share your journey with your playgroup, playcentre, daycare, coffee group and/or Facebook/Insta friends, to help spread the word so we can get as many parents on board with reducing our waste once a day.


It is not just great for the environment - it is great for our kids too. Reusable underwear gives your child the feeling of wet closer to their skin helping them to learn faster.

As a parenting coach, I help hundreds of kids to toilet train every year. What I am finding is:

1. many parents are toilet training their kids later so they are closer to 3 years old.

2. they may start when their kids are 2 years but many will put their kids back in nappies several times before they finally go nappy free full time.

3. the marketing by nappy companies means we are getting the message to use pull ups when you are ready to start going nappy free. However these pull ups take hundreds of years to biodegrade and they give kids mixed messages - sometimes I wear material undies but sometimes I go back to disposables. Not surprisingly many kids start using a pull up like a nappy.

Kate Meads Nappy Lady

I interviewed Kate to find out the latest information around the environmental impacts of using disposable nappies and training pants.

1. How many disposable nappies are sent to the landfill each day in NZ?

There are around 1 million disposable nappies per day that go to landfill in NZ. This figure was from Zero Waste about 10 years ago, so it could possibly be more now.

2. How long does it take for the nappies to break down?

They say it could take from 200 - 500 years for a nappy to break down, which is an incredibly long time given the actual life of a nappy is from 30 seconds and up to 8 hours - then it could potentially be around for another 500 + years.  To be honest though, I don’t know if we actually know the amount of time as they have only been in existence for such a short time.

3. If we are full time disposable nappy users what are your top tips for what we can do to make a difference to this statistic?

Making a difference is super easy.  I encourage all the parents who come through my workshops to have a go at using just one cloth nappy per day.  I think a lot of people see it as an all or nothing thing, and don’t realise that you can use cloth nappies and disposables side by side.

If a child was to have one cloth nappy change a day, many would think what is the point, I am not making a difference as it is only one nappy.  However if you used just one cloth nappy per day, 365 nappies per year or around 12 bags of rubbish would be diverted from landfill for a very small effort.
If every baby in nappies in New Zealand had just one cloth nappy change per day, around 1 million nappies per week would not go to landfill in New Zealand.
Thanks so much to Kate Meads for this info, you can check out further info at:
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