Are you looking to swap to a more eco friendly nappy?
Maybe you’re a first time parent (like me) and are trying to source the best eco nappies? Perhaps even find a biodegradable nappy?
Well, you’re at the right place because I’ve done some genuine research to make it much easier for you to find a nappy that works well but without the environmental impact.
The thought of going through 10 plus disposable, plastic-filled nappies every day is a lot to take on for an environmentally minded person – as well as all the more immediate responsibilities you’ll be taking on with a baby!
WRAP have found that a baby will go through 4,000-6,000 nappies before they are potty trained and that the UK goes through around 3 billion disposable nappies each year – that is an astounding number, and even more than the 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups that are thrown away!
So, let’s take a look at the best eco friendly nappies out there.
Do biodegradable nappies exist?
To be honest, not really.
No current disposable nappy out there is 100% biodegradable.
If something is biodegradable to me, it should disappear back into the environment without having a negative impact.
Because of the way they are made with a mixture of materials, all disposable nappies will be making their way to landfill – or to be burned for energy depending on where you live.
When an item goes to landfill, it’s not going to biodegrade back into the earth. This is because the conditions are uncontrolled. There’s not enough oxygen, moisture and therefore bacteria to decompose any organic matter. This leads to anaerobic digestion, which isn’t good for greenhouse gas emissions.
This is different to other baby products such as baby wipes, which can be biodegradable and eco-friendly. You might like to read this blog on the best eco-friendly baby wipes.
Quick list: Best Eco Friendly Nappies
If you’re in a hurry and are just looking for a list of the best eco nappy brands, well, here you go!
- Bambo Nature
- Eco by Naty
- Beaming Baby
- Cheeky Panda
- Mama Bamboo
- Mum & You
- Little Lamb Cloth Nappies
- Kit & Kin
Sometimes finding the best environmentally friendly nappy isn’t as straight forward as it should be.
Keep reading to find out why nappies are not biodegradable, if they contain plastic and what to look out for to buy an eco nappy.
Clamping down on unregulated terms like biodegradable
However, biodegradable isn’t a regulated term, which means it can be misused and bandied around to mislead consumers. Apparently, this will be clamped down on from 2022 with the ‘Green Claims Code’ by the Competitions and Marketing Authority (CMA).
I don’t think the CMA will be short of work on this front, so while they catch up, many companies will still be using terms, such as ‘biodegradable’, ‘eco’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ and the like. Check out my Eco Glossary for a full list of terms and what they actually mean.
Can you buy eco friendly nappies that are better for the environment?
Although disposable nappies may not be biodegradable, you can buy more eco versions.
The good news is that you can buy eco nappies that are much more environmentally friendly.
They are not perfect by any means as any disposable nappy is going to create waste. The only truly sustainable alternative here would be to use reusable nappies made from natural materials – such as cotton, hemp or bamboo.
Even with the extra washing and drying, reusable natural nappies are said to lower your nappy carbon footprint by 40%.
Do nappies contain plastic?
Nappies probably contain way more plastic than you’d expect. So, those nappies that don’t use plastic are already more environmentally friendly.
Standard nappies have all sorts of plastic in them – polypropylene, polyethylene and polyester to name a few. You can take a look at the different types of plastic and recycling here.
This isn’t to mention the elastic and absorbent polymers. As you know, when these materials hit the landfill site, the only impact they are going to have is negative as they slowly degrade.
Let’s get on to what makes an eco nappy.
What makes a disposable eco nappy more eco friendly?
There are a few things to look out for when purchasing a more eco-friendly disposable nappy.
Some people may not agree, and think that all disposable nappies are bad for the environment. There’s some truth to this, but in reality disposable nappies are going to be used by the majority.
Even so, they can be made in a better way for the environment with less chemicals and more renewable materials. This will certainly reduce your environmental impact when compared to traditional nappies and help you go a little more eco friendly at home.
A more eco-friendly nappy will have:
- More renewable, natural materials – and those sourced responsibly, such as cotton
- Less toxic chemical use
- No plastic or significantly reduced plastic use
- 100% recyclable or biodegradable packaging
- Fragrance free or naturally fragranced
If you keep a look out for these suggestions, as opposed to just seeing the word ‘biodegradable’, it’ll put you on the path of finding genuinely more eco-friendly nappies. The same applies when buying similar products such as eco-friendly baby wipes.
One thing to note is that big brands, such as Pampers and Boots, as well as supermarket own brands, are generally not very eco-friendly at all. Probably best to avoid these if you can.
With a little help on that front, keep reading below for the best eco nappies that you can buy in the UK. Most of the nappies below are available to buy from Amazon-alternative online ethical shops.
8 Best Eco Nappies UK
These nappies below are all disposable eco nappies. To develop this list I conducted my own research as well as looking at that produced by Ethical Consumer magazine, a fantastic research for anyone who wants to be a little more ethical and eco with their purchases.
So, let’s get to the best eco nappies available on the market.
1. Bambo Nature
Bambo Nature are a leading baby care company who care about the environment.
Their nappies are free from petrochemicals, triclosan, artificial perfumes and lotions, making them much better for your baby’s skin. They also bleach the nappies with oxygen rather than harsh chemicals.
Bambo Nature are one of the few nappy brands to be officially certified by the EU Ecolabel and Nordic Swan Ecolabel, as well as using Forest Stewardship Council certified materials.
2. Eco by Naty
Eco By Naty are a leading company creating eco-friendly products for babies and women.
Their eco nappies contain no fossil fuel based plastic, instead they opt for renewable plant-based materials. Add this to a core mostly made from FSC certified wood pulp and no toxic chemicals, and we’re on our way to an eco-friendly nappy.
Eco By Naty also made it on to my eco baby wipes list.
3. Beaming Baby
Founded in Devon in 2000, Beaming Baby was set up to provide more natural baby products to parents in the UK.
Beaming Baby sell both reusable and eco disposable nappies. Their disposable versions are mainly made with natural, chemical free materials and are said to biodegrade in around 4 years. The core of nappies contains a mixture of shredded paper and biodegradable cornstarch-based gel balls.
4. Cheeky Panda
Cheeky Panda are well-known for their eco-friendly toilet paper and wipes, but they now also produce eco nappies for your baby.
Their planet friendly nappies are lined with 100% renewable bamboo and contain a dash of aloe vera to moisturise sensitive skin. If you’re interested in this material, take a look here to see if bamboo really is eco-friendly or not.
You can buy nappies in bulk on Cheeky Panda to save you money over the long term.
5. Mama Bamboo
Mama Bamboo are a Certified B Corporation started up by friends Jennie and Laura, and headquartered in Hertfordshire.
As the name suggests, sustainable bamboo is the main material used in Mama Bamboo’s nappies and other baby products. Their eco nappies are made from bamboo fibres and filled with chlorine-free wood pulp fibres. They’re also FSC certified.
They’ve also made sure that the packaging they use is 100% recyclable and compostable. This is because they use compostable corn starch film, the same material used in compostable carrier bags.
They offset their transport emissions through a partnership with the Bamboo Village Afforestation Programme.
6. Mum & You
Mum & You focus on marrying sustainability and convenience for new mums (and dads may I add!) who want to maintain eco-friendly habits without breaking the bank.
The core of their eco nappies are biodegradable and made from chlorine-free wood pulp from PEFC sustainable forestry sources. The outer of the nappy isn’t biodegradable though. Sticking to environmentally friendly habits, Mum & You don’t use glue, harsh chemicals or perfume in their nappies.
Mum & You package their nappies using renewable sugarcane, which is great.
They are a cruelty free company and are Leaping Bunny approved.
7. Little Lamb Cloth Nappies
With a long history in the textiles industry, Little Lamb was first set up by the Pfaff family and now run by Vicky and Shell.
Little Lamb create cloth nappies using sustainable bamboo fibre, which are manufactured in a family-run factory in Turkey that they have been using for 20 years. They offer bamboo nappies as well as reusable cotton and pocket nappies.
8. Kit & Kin
Kit & Kin are a sustainable baby brand, selling a range of products including eco nappies and natural skin care items.
Their nappies contain no chlorine, toxic chemicals or perfume. They also use FSC certified materials for the pulp core and panels, with packaging made from oxo-biodegradable material. This means it degrades in a couple of years rather than hundreds of years.
For every pack of nappies sold, Kit & Kin make a donation to the World Land Trust.
Are bamboo nappies biodegradable?
You may have noticed that a lot of the nappies above contain bamboo, or are primarily made from bamboo.
You may also remember that I mentioned near the beginning that no disposable nappies are truly biodegradable.
So, are bamboo nappies biodegradable?
No, most bamboo nappies are not biodegradable.
Even the more eco friendly nappies made from 60-80% bamboo are still not biodegradable. They will contain bits and pieces of plastic to make them fully functional. Frustrating isn’t it?
To be biodegradable they’d need to be made from 100% natural bamboo. Or you’d have to be able to separate out all the biodegradable bamboo. I don’t know any parent who’d have the time or inclination to do this!
The best you can hope for on disposable nappies is that the packaging is biodegradable.
For now, the only type of biodegradable nappy is those reusable ones made from 100% natural materials.
Wrap up on the best eco friendly nappies
And there you have 8 brands that supply more eco-friendly nappies.
With so much waste being produced through disposable nappies, switching to a more sustainable version can help to lower the environmental cost of both the materials that go into the nappy and aftermath once it gets used.
With more nappies being thrown away each year in the UK than disposable coffee cups, any reduction to the sheer volume will be a green benefit.
If you like that read, carry on with these blogs below…
I’m the Creator and Editor of Tiny Eco Home Life. I write and publish information about more sustainable, environmentally friendly living in and around the home. Alongside this website, I love spending time in the natural world, living a simple life and spending time with my young family (Murphy the dog!) I round up my thoughts and recent blogs on the Eco Life Newsletter.