It’s back to the future at this year’s Baby Show, with the not-so-quaint idea of reusable, eco-friendly nappies getting a big push.
The show, which is being held this weekend at Auckland’s ASB Showgrounds, is hosting stalls and speakers advocating for eco-friendly parenting.
Cloth nappy companies like Nappy Days are encouraging mums and dads to recycle nappies – just as their parents did.
Kate Meads, also known as The Nappy Lady, will speak at the event, aiming to educate parents and parents-to-be about waste reduction.
Auckland woman Kate Le Heron is an advocate of the eco-friendly nappy option – the 30-year-old switched to reusables two or three months after her daughter Eleanor was born.
As a first-time mum, she decided to give herself a bit of “leeway” into the beginning of motherhood – so started off using disposable diapers.
But she’d get a “pang of guilt” each time she took a load full of nappies out to the trash. This helped motivate her to make the switch.
“It wasn’t too much of a drama, really,” she said.
“I was a little bit nervous about it, but it’s been really easy and they clean up really well,” she said.
The reusables look slightly bulkier, she said, but an upside was that this provided more cushioning, should little Eleanor topple over.
She also enjoyed knowing she was minimising the waste she put into landfill.
Le Heron tried to choose the sustainable, natural route in all of her parenting choices. She opted for Eco Store skin products and prepared Eleanor’s food at home, freezing purees to reduce waste.
“She’s a pretty low-key baby at the moment,” she said
According to a report on the New Zealand Waste Disposal Levy, conducted by research and consulting company Eunomia, nappies and sanitary waste made up about 10 per cent of curbside waste sent to landfill.
Jess and James Fletcher’s reusable nappy company Fudgey Pants will have a stall at this year’s Baby Show, for the first time since launching in 2017.
The pair started developing their business when their son Archibald was a tot; they were keen to use cloth nappies but grew increasingly frustrated with the unreliable products they purchased online.
“We were getting leaks quite often – always having to change clothing and that kind of thing,” she said.
She and James would opt for disposable nappies overnight, to avoid waking up to an unpleasant mess.
“We thought, well we could probably design something that fits better, and works better for us with quality material.”
Working with a manufacturer they came up with a design featuring a waterproof outer shell, atop a micro-suede insert to keep the baby dry.
Inside this shell sat the washable part of the nappy.
Business had started to increase “dramatically” in recent months, as people made more effort to reduce their waste, Fletcher said.
Parents were also coming around to the financial benefits of reusable nappies – Fletcher said up to $4000 per child could be saved by opting out of disposable diapers.