The Energy Cost of Cloth Nappies

Ever met someone who just couldn’t believe that cloth nappies were less energy intensive than disposable nappies?

I’m not sure where this mentality comes from because to me, less chemicals, less plastics and less waste seems like a pretty cut-and-closed win for cloth nappies over disposables!

But these people and their ideas exist. Perhaps you, dear reader, are one who is not yet convinced that cloth nappies could actually be gentler on our earth than disposables (in which case, good on you for researching and finding out the truth!)

No-one can argue that cloth nappies don’t win the war on landfill waste hands down over disposable nappies.

However, what about the fact that cloth nappies need to be washed? We need water and electricity to do that and each of those elements requires energy and has an impact on our environment. How much does that energy cost an average household, and does it outweigh the costs of disposables?

Firstly, let’s look at the energy requirements of the washing machine. On average, each cycle with warm/hot water will cost you between 0.20-0.25c. Not a huge amount, huh? So over a whole year you’re looking at between $73-$91 to wash your nappies. Assuming your child is in nappies until 3 years of age, let’s make this a nice round number of $250 for all the washing of your cloth nappies (actual numbers are $219-$273).

$250 over three years of washing isn’t a huge amount, right? You’d easily spend more on eating out or takeaway food in one year.

So what about drying? Well, every single one of us has access to the best, zero-impact drying system in the world: the sun. Not only is it efficient, it also kills bugs and sanitises your nappies as well! And it’s FREE!

Okay, I admit that when winter hits, the sun isn’t the smartest way to dry your nappies. Those of us in colder climates may struggle to avoid the dryer. Still, if you use your dryer 52 times in a year it will only add $60 to your yearly energy bill. Using a clothes airer near your heater is definitely your best choice in winter!

So, disposable nappies are going to cost you over $3000 for each child you have and they go straight to landfill to be buried and stay there for hundreds of years.

A set of cloth nappies will cost you around $800 for everything you need, plus $250 for washing plus $180 over three years if you choose to use a dryer around 50 times a year.

$800 + $250 + $180 = $1230.

Cloth is still saving you $1770 over disposables.

What kind of holiday would you like? Would you like to pay some extra off your mortgage? How about a little investment now to grow into more for the future?

The energy costs of cloth nappies certainly are not huge and the savings you create by using cloth are well worth the little effort every day.

I know I’d rather save almost $2000 and tread a little lighter on the earth. What do you think?