How to Be a Nappy Eco-Warrior (Whether You Use Cloth or Disposables!)

Turning wees and poos into trees

We all want to do our bit for the environment, but as busy parents being an eco-warrior and changing nappies doesn’t always go hand in hand.

Being green can all too easily slip way down our priority list with a baby in hand.

Yet through the sleepless blur of early parenthood, I am sure we would all agree that our children – as precious and unique as they are – are actually pretty hard on the environment.

The amount of nappies and wipes a parent goes through during a newborn’s first months of life is truly staggering whether you use disposables or cloth.

And, unless you’re into really early toilet training, it doesn’t end there. During a child’s first two-and-a-half years, they can go through over 4500 nappies and every year 800 million disposable nappies are dumped in landfill in Australia alone.

Not only is that a lot of dollars spent on a lot of smelly nappies, but it’s also a lot of waste contributing to our planet’s greenhouse gas emissions.

While there is an ongoing debate about the merits of using reusable versus disposable nappies, there is no arguing that every nappy used has a lasting impact on the environment – disposables with their massive use of non-renewable resources and bleaching chemicals; and cloth and reusable nappies with large amounts of pesticides and water used during the growth of conventional cotton.

Even if you use hemp, bamboo or organic cotton nappies, there is the ongoing water, energy and detergent used to keep them clean.

And the energy used to produce, transport and maintain nappies is a not insignificant contribution to your baby’s carbon footprint!

Nappies make up approximaely 5% ofLandfill

And although there has been some development in bio-degradable and composting nappies, the majority of parents, (95% Australians, 90% USA and 90% UK) still use single use disposable nappies. (And by the way, you don’t have to be in Australia to become a nappy eco-warrior – you can even be a diaper eco-warrior!)

That’s a lot of nappies and wees and poos! Our choice of nappy is often dictated by our lifestyle and whilst we may worry about the amount of nappies we are using it is hard to see another option.

Last month, stay at home dad and Canberra father, Rob Clode, launched a social media campaign called Ones, Twos and Trees: Turning Wees and Poos into Trees. His aim is to raise $6300 to start offsetting the environmental impact of the greenhouse gases produced during the production, manufacture and use of nappies.

‘I know that we all want a greener future for our children,’ Robert told me. ‘And through the power of social media, we can all get together as a community and create positive social change. By supporting Ones, Twos and Trees together we can Turn Wees and Poos into Trees!’

To help raise funds to make Ones, Twos and Trees a reality, simply pledge your support and offset your nappy use for less than $30 per child by visiting or crowdfunding site

But will the trees last?

I asked Rob what assurance we have that the trees will never be harvested for wood, and he explained that they will be working under the guidance of the Carbon Farmers Initiative, so the trees they plant will be continually monitored for appropriate growth and carbon sequestration. They will also be required to use approved methodologies.

“Also, for every child’s nappy use offset you will receive a numbered certificate that will allow you to trace where your trees have been planted via our website. We will also provide regular updates on how the trees are growing.”

Many people I’ve spoken to whose children are out of nappies chose to contribute to offset their nappy use in retrospect (that’s what I did too). Of course, you can also contribute more, if you are passionate about getting this project off the ground, and you can also “like” and share this post with your friends. So far Rob has already raised half the amount they need to get started, but with only three weeks to go, they need your help to make this happen.

When you contribute, you will also enter the draw for a chance to win a set of 8 Baby Beehinds Bamboo Fitted nappies and covers. (Click to tweet.)

It’s now a little easier to become that eco-warrior with Ones, Twos and Trees.

*Choice Magazine, April 2007
**Nappies and the Earth The Green Nappy Company,

This post was shared at IBOT, where Jess tells us (dare I say braggs?) about her new Romeo. 🙂
And it was shared at Frugally Sustainable.

  8 comments for “How to Be a Nappy Eco-Warrior (Whether You Use Cloth or Disposables!)

  1. September 10, 2013 at 10:52 am

    What a great initiative. I used cloth nappies for my little one right through. I recycled the water I washed in too and the gardens still look incredible. We need to do something about our landfill and nappies are just the start.

    • Kirsten
      September 10, 2013 at 2:27 pm

      True Eleise, if nappies are 5% of landfill, there’s another 95% too. So much waste!

  2. September 10, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    I used MCN for my youngest – many moons ago now – and terry flats for my older kids (a mix of sposies and flats).

    The amount of money saved is incredible, not to mention the amount of rubbish. When the youngest was a babe we lived out bush, so had to get rid of our own rubbish… when he’d go through stages of needing sposies (food intolerances no MCN could contain) we really noticed how many nappies go into the tip for just one child.

    Such a great initiative.

    MC x

    • Kirsten
      September 11, 2013 at 7:52 am

      Hi Miss Cinders, It is astounding isn’t it? When you think it’s 5% of landfill, and only a relatively small percentage of the population using them at any one time…

  3. September 11, 2013 at 6:06 am

    What a great idea. We did a similar thing here on the farm . We sent out an invitation to everyone we knew letting them know that for every car that’s driven in a family 7 trees should be planted for the year. We provided the trees and the land to plant them on (although they were encouraged to also purchase the trees) and then they spent the day helping us to plant them. We planted over 500 trees that day. We provided lunch and it turned into a great day.

    • Kirsten
      September 11, 2013 at 7:53 am

      What a great idea Kate! I do love the idea of planting trees and native habitat as an offset for carbon, because it does so much more good than that too.

  4. September 12, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I was just thinking the other day how bad nappies are for the environment. I think they must tale forever to break down.
    I was super vigilant with cloth nappies for the first three, but the last one hated them with a passion. Thankfully she toilet trained early

    • September 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      It’s funny how they get their different likes and dislikes isn’t it Jess? The more children you have, the more you realise how much it’s them, not you, that determines things.

      I don’t mean they get to decide on what sort of nappy you use (necessarily), but that you think they are a certain way because of what you did (like maybe, they prefer cloth because you’ve always used it) and then one comes along who’s completely different, and you realise actually, they just are who they are. You have an influence, of course, but that’s it.

      Anyway, yeah, they are not good, you are very right. 5% of all landfill, imagine!

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