'It's a significant saving' - Moving to cloth nappies for babies

A new scheme last year saw cloth nappy starter kits available to antenatal patients at Cork University Maternity Hospital
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.38 22 Feb 2024

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'It's a significant saving' -...

'It's a significant saving' - Moving to cloth nappies for babies

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

21.38 22 Feb 2024

Share this article

Moving to cloth nappies can help parents save money and waste.

Disposable nappies are the third largest type of household waste, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

An estimated 600,000 nappies are used every day in Ireland, with 94% of disposable nappies ending up in landfill sites.


One disposable nappy takes up 500 years to biodegrade.

Sunday Times Ireland Climate Editor Jo Linehan told The Pat Kenny Show a new scheme was started by Cork University Maternity Hospital last year.

"This solution was launched by the Maternity Hospital in Cork, local authorities and Friends of the Earth," she said.

"They really looked at if they put in a reusable nappy scheme how would it work? Would people adapt to it?

"The results were absolutely amazing - they launched it last year, all of the free kits that were supplied were taken up right away.

"They're basically talking to people who took them to talk about what worked and what didn't work.

"In terms of the behaviour, those who have taken them have really got onboard which is amazing".

"They get 10 cloth nappies, nappy inserts, they get cloth wipes and then they get a storage bag for the nappies before they go into the washing machine.

"Then when when go into the washing machine they go in at a 60C wash and they can be dried and used again."

Cloth Nappy Starter Kits Cloth Nappy Starter Kits. Image: Cork County Council

Ms Linehan said significant savings can be made overall.

"I know there's the additional washing work and there's also the cost that goes with that electricity," she said.

"But in terms of the long-term - if you've got nappies for a child for a couple of years - it's a significant saving.

"The amount of waste that you save is absolutely amazing.

"If this is something that can be adapted by a portion of society... they can go for it."

2RB2XF3 A breastfeeding mother. A breastfeeding mother.

Ms Linehan said there are plenty of other options open to new parents.

"There's a great initiative as well called the Cloth Nappy Library, which allows people to try out various cloth nappies before they make an investment themselves," she said.

"It really is just a away for people to try without having to invest.

"They'll also give you a lot of information and support.

"It is a massive behavioural change even getting your head around it," she added.

People can also return and resell unwanted items on platforms like Flopsy Shop and Reborn.

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Cloth Nappies Cloth Nappy Library Cork University Maternity Hospital Disposable Nappies Jo Linehan

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