The Nappy Lady Ltd

Revised Cloth Nappy Lifecycle Report 2008

In 2004 a lifecycle analysis was published into cloth nappies that said cloth nappies are no better for the environment than disposables. The research was very flawed in a number of aspects and based cloth usage on outdated methods of laundering, including ironing nappies and boil washing. The cloth nappy community was in outcry over the poor research so a new report was commissioned based on modern cloth nappies and laundry methods.

In 2008 the Environment Agency published a revised life cycle analysis study into the environmental impacts of using shaped cloth nappies and disposable nappies. The report shows that, in contrast to the use of disposable nappies, it is consumers' behaviour after purchase that determines most of the impacts from reusable nappies. Washing in fuller loads, line drying and reusing on a second child will reduce the carbon footprint of cloth by 40% compared to disposables. This is equivalent to 200kg of carbon dioxide equal to driving a car 1000km.

Cloth nappy users can reduce their environmental impacts by:

  • Line drying outside whenever possible
  • Tumble drying as little as possible
  • When replacing appliances, choosing more energy efficient appliances (A+ rated machines are preferred)
  • Not washing above 60 degrees
  • Reusing nappies on other children

When you buy your nappies from the Nappy Lady, we can help you with how to correctly care for your nappies. Please watch the video below to see how to care for your cloth nappies - including storing, washing and drying.

If you'd like to read both life cycle reports in full they can be found online here:
2004 Report
2008 Report