Make it more sustainable? Start toilet training at the right time

The actual price of disposable nappies is much higher than the retail price: if you look at the impact of producing disposable and treat nappies, the cost of these nappies increases by 15 cents each. The so-called “real price”, the real price. Do you really want to make an impact? Put timely toilet training (2 to 2.5 years) high on the agenda. Also in child care.

This call was made by Project Diapers of the Future, which offers “ real price (real price) Account ‘in disposable nappies and washable nappies in collaboration with True Price and the Municipality of Amsterdam.

The True Price study shows that hidden costs for disposable nappies are 6 cents and for washable nappies 4.6 cents. If you add the waste handling costs, the real price is about an extra 15 cents per disposable diaper.

Toilet training at the right time

According to the Diapers of the Future project, if we want a more sustainable diaper supply chain, we must start with timely toilet training. For example, when kids are toilet trained at ages 2 to 2.5 instead of 3.5, you actually save about 20 percent in terms of diaper use, costs, and environmental impact. Choosing washable nappies is also a more sustainable option: “A family using washable nappies has a price that is 30 percent lower than TruePrice and even more than 60 percent if you look at the combined costs of environmental impacts and waste fees. And part-time washable nappies are better than just disposable nappies. On one to two days per week, this scenario also saves 20 to 25 percent of the amount of disposable plastic diaper waste. In particular, the low use of raw materials compared to disposable diapers and thus avoiding a mountain of waste is crucial to a sustainable decision, states the Diapers of the Future Project.

good to know

Some notes aside:

  • If washable nappies are used for a second child and if electricity for washing is purchased sustainably, a washable nappy is a more sustainable option.
  • The use of so-called washable nappies for a newborn (separate washable nappies for the first 2-3 months) is no more sustainable than disposable nappies in the same period: the production of washable (cotton) nappies for a short time has a more negative effect than the use of nappies that are used for one time.
  • The effect of drying washable nappies was also taken into account in the study: the choice of drying method (dry or line drying) has a significant impact on environmental outcomes. Tumble drying increases the environmental impact to a level similar to disposable nappies. Choosing sustainable energy also plays a role here.

eco diapers

The study also shows that the differences between eco-nappies (which are made up of 40 percent bioplastics) and traditional disposable diapers that are 80 percent oil-based are small: bio-based nappies only have such production and processing capacity. The cent has less impact on the environment, because converting plant materials (such as corn and sugar beets) into (bio) plastic also has a significant impact.

Instead of the most permanent potty training

So, while there are more sustainable options when it comes to diaper use, getting babies out of diapers early is still the most effective way to reduce the impact on the environment (and your wallet, including childcare). “For day nurseries and baby sitters, this report emphasizes the importance of timely toilet training as one of the high-impact sustainability strategies,” says Nathan Folkers of the Future Diapers Project. Nurseries and baby sitters can save themselves (20-25% of their diaper use) as a result, but they also have a huge impact on families: behind every childcare setting is a family of 2-2.5. And although daycares are reluctant to take an active role in toilet training at the nursery, they can actively communicate about it and encourage parents to start it in a timely manner. It is a very concrete and moving interpretation of sustainability.

Display results

Especially for child care professionals, the results of the TruePrice study will be presented online on Thursday, November 24, 2022 from 2 PM to 2:45 PM. Can’t attend? The presentation will be recorded so that you can watch it afterwards. Click here for more information and registration >>

Dirty and outdated washable diapers? This is not so bad. In the daycares Villa Valentijn Middelburg and Villa Valentijn Den Haag, children don’t know any better: 95 percent wear washable bamboo nappies in the nursery. “It was a bit of a switch for both the education staff and parents, but it was worth it,” says General Manager Annemke Balansgar and Michael Postalar, Director at the Middleburg site. Read more

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