Recently I asked some BubbleMums what change cloth nappies made in their lives. If there has been a ripple effect of reusable nappies making them considering other reusable options or making them aware of their general waste. Here are the responses I got. They're both interesting and inspiring!
Samantha - "I am finding myself being much more aware of packaging this Christmas. I’m not prepared enough this year but I am considering making fabric bags to reuse as wrapping paper every year. I know the Santa sacks keep getting more amazing every year but I still want my little one to experience the joy of opening presents one by one (plus she’ll only get five or so presents anyway). I’m much more tolerant when my drink doesn’t come with a straw, I try to buy food in bulk and I use food containers 99% more than I did 2 years ago. My biggest risk was investing in cloth pads for myself.... something I wouldn't have ever considered previously. I am so glad I made the leap because instead of dreading using uncomfortable disposable pads and praying that my body was kind with a short cycle each month, cloth pads have made it a non-event."
Melanie - "We are trying for small improvements month by month but it's not always the easiest option with a bubby in the house! Our council provides us with a composting service for all food waste, we take reusable bags to the greengrocer now too and 90% of bub’s solids are steamed and blended fresh fruit and veg - saves on packaging and money just like cloth."
Sara - "Things we now do (not sure if using cloth nappies was the catalyst though):
- Own one car and hubby and I use bikes if the car is unavailable
- Take our own cutlery when out and about
- We ask for no straws and take keep cups with us (even at McDonalds when traveling we ask for no straws)
- Recycle soft plastics
- Stopped using cling wrap and use containers
- Try to limit plastic toys and try to get second-hand if possible (Duplo is an easy one!)
- Try to buy cleaning products in as big of container as possible to save packaging
- I use a menstrual cup now
- Try to buy from eco store eg PlanToys are great and environmentally conscious
- Constantly on the look out for ways to limit plastic like ear buds, looking into packaging etc.
- No wrapping for Christmas as we use Santa sacks or if need to wrap reuse what we can or use recycled and recyclable brown paper that the kids paint on
Megan - "I don’t like buying plastic toys we buy a lot of wooden toys and books instead of the cheap nasty “disposable” toys and I use containers for foods instead of cling wrap etc now whereas before I didn’t really care or think about it."
Hayley - "I have become a bit more tox-aware, and have switched to some low-tox/less harmful chemical alternatives with cleaning products and products or methods I use on the family eg low poo hair washing, have chosen certain brands of skin care etc. Using reusable cloths and cleaning pads with steam cleaner etc. using reusable bags and wipes all around the house. Trying to avoid buying foods in plastic wrapping and we send “naked lunches” to kindy so no rubbish in the lunch box. We also have a soda stream and hubby does home brew so we reuse those bottles."
Emily - "We're slightly more environmentally friendly now because of MCN. First, it was nappies, then cloth wipes, then wet bags, then cloth pads and now cloth breast pads - I feel that if you're washing nappies it's just as easy to wash all those other items."
Samantha Spano - "Starting cloth nappies with my first has also seen us make changes in anyway we can. I try to choose reusable wherever possible. Since going cloth wipes as well with her have also transitioned to family cloth (though still need to buy toilet paper for the husband as he refuses), we’ve had no cling wrap in the house for over 7 years or plastic straws. We have a worm farm too and try to buy whatever we can in bulk to minimise packaging."
Evie - "I've always been pushy about recycling in my house but MCN made me realise how many reusable alternatives there are to disposable items. Most noteably in our household is reusable wipes and breast pads, I would not have realised these were available had I not been interested in cloth nappies."
Jessie - "We were always eco aware I guess in pretty standard ways - I always used cloth pads and diva cups, always used beeswax wrap and glass instead of plastic. But I have definitely become more aware of working rights and buying ethically, as well as buying quality that lasts. And more aware that just being something can be recycled doesn't mean it's the right answer for my family due to the resources needed to recycle. I think having a kid makes me more aware of the world because I want her to grow up in a good world, I want her to make a difference in her life, and I am aware of the environmental cost of having a child."
Some have found it the other way around. They were on a journey to being more eco-conciousness and cloth nappies were just a part of that...
Hannah - "I became much more environmentally conscious when my second child was about one-year-old and now I have my 3rd child three years later. I didn’t even consider cloth nappies with the first two and didn’t even think to change my second into cloth when I started my waste reduction, but I removed as many toxic chemicals as possible and recycled where possible. We all have our own reusable cups and I carry straws for when we’re out and about. I’m a lazy environmentally conscious person, so I won’t make my own shampoos or anything like that. It’s got to help save me time too and that’s probably what put me off cloth nappies as I thought it would be so much work, but I’m very thankful I’ve made the switch."
Kelly - "We chose to do cloth because we were already on a ‘war on waste’ journey. But it has made me conscious of how far we still have to go. We are doing fabric wrapped presents under the tree again this year, but I wanted Ada to have the experience of ripping paper up so I’ve been saving packaging and the wrappers from our Who Gives A Craptoilet paper. I put a layer of those under the fabric on her presents."
Jessica - "I think it complimented what I was already doing - I don’t buy premade food, don’t use plastic bags, have a veg garden, use natural cleaning alternatives, compost, worm farm... cloth was the next step. My new goals are to buy unpackaged but I’m just not sure how I’m going to manage with a toddler and newborn in tow and to start recycling again (we don’t have facilities available to us so has to be a conscious decision)." **Buy in bulk can be really challenging with children. A great resource if buying un-packaged isn't an option for you is Source Bulk Foods. They ship to you and their packaging is compostable!**
Nicole - "Much like other people we were already on our reduce waste journey and cloth was always part of it but actually having bubba has made me think even more about what state we are leaving the planet in. I've got braver in talking/asking other people and retailers for support for example our local fishmonger is fine for me to bring my own containers rather than fish going into plastic bags and our local vege shop are happy to take back egg cartons etc. I just had to be brave enough to ask."
I hope this helps inspire you to make changes in your life. I think the key is to make slow changes, be conscious but not put too much pressure on yourself to do ALL the things. It's a bit like being on a super strict diet, it's too hard so you rebound. Just take it one step at a time and you'll be surprised by the difference you can make. No one is perfect and your happiness is important, remember that!