Nappies 101: the disposable truth

Everything about your baby is adorable almost to the point of being edible! Those feet, those cheeks, and of course that cute little, dimpled bum. The outrageous love you carry in your heart for every part of this little human makes you fiercely devoted to their wellbeing. Which is why you’re here. You want to make sure that every product you use is only going to nourish your baby, not bring even an ounce of harm to their precious skin or system.

When it comes to nappies, you know that choosing the right one is important because it’s the one thing that your baby is on constant contact with. You want to find a brand that not only works well and captures wetness, but that is also 100% safe for your babe to wear every moment of the day. This article is dedicated to giving you the facts about nappies, so that you can choose wisely.

Choosing eco-friendly, chemical-free disposable nappies or cloth nappies are much better for your baby — and the health of our planet. In fact, you’re probably 100% in agreement with that. But it’s always a good idea to refresh our memories as to why they’re better and safer.

Why are eco disposable nappies and cloth nappies better than mainstream nappy brands?


Ugh, right? The most popular mainstream brands out there almost always contain the following ‘dirty three’.

Sodium Polyacrylate is a chemical that increases the absorbency of the nappy, however, it also absorbs vital oils from a baby’s bum causing irritation, and it has been linked to urinary tract infections in girls.

Dioxin has been classified as a carcinogen (eek!) and is what is used to bleach nappy material so that it’s nice and white.

Phthalates are what make plastic more flexible and are used to waterproof the outer layer of nappies, yet they are endocrine disruptors which negatively impact hormone balance.


Yep, you read that right. Nappies are the third largest consumer item to make up non-biodegradable waste. “Each baby wearing disposable nappies contributes 907 kilograms of garbage over the course of two years,” says the Small Footprint Family. Not only that, but it takes hundreds of years for conventional nappies to decompose, leaving them there to litter our beloved earth for far to long. And as they sit there under the sun, their chemicals leach into our soil and eventually our water. If you take a moment to consider the long-term implications, it’s clear that what we toss in the trash now, will be left for future generations to deal with.


While ‘natural’ disposable nappies have received a bad wrap, the latest designs are not only chemical free, but they’re made of clean and effective ingredients that are 100% safe for your little one. And if you’re feeling bold and want to try modern cloth nappies (we recommend trying to use one per day!), you’ll find that they’re less intimidating and much more efficient than you may think. Not only that, but they are adorably designed and even, dare we say, fashionable!


Disposable nappies made of clean, eco-friendly materials are not perfect. There are still elements that are not completely biodegradable. However, their breakdown is more efficient than conventional nappies, there are no harmful chemicals that can either leach into the soil or enter our water supply, and their manufacturers are devoted to the ‘cradle to grave’ impact of each and every nappy ensuring they can truly capture the environmental impact of their products.

Science DirectMother EaseSmall Footprint Family
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Blair Badenhop

Blair is a wellness copywriter and the host of the Brand Yourself podcast. She’s passionate about living a healthy and conscious lifestyle - taking care of her body, mind and heart; practicing kindness and compassion; and being mindful of her impact on people’s lives and the planet.

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