How one mum saved 4,000 nappies from going to landfill

Mum holding daughter on her lap on a boat

Lauren Cogman from Ipswich has been using reusable nappies on her daughter Autumn since she was a few months old - Credit: Lauren Cogman

When she discovered the disposable nappies she was using on her baby took 500 years to decompose, one Suffolk mum decided to switch to cloth nappies.

Another convert has told how she has saved more than 4,000 nappies from landfill since she changed to reusables.

This week is Reusable Nappy Week, and those who have opted from the more environmentally-friendly option have spoken out to encourage other parents to give them a try. 

Ipswich mum Lauren Cogman said she was "shocked" to discover how long the disposable versions were taking to break down.

Toddler standing in front of a pile of reusable nappies

Naomi Francis has been using cloth nappies on her daughter who was born in the first lockdown. She said using reusable nappies was a "no brainer" - Credit: Naomi Francis

Miss Cogman said: "I turned around to my partner one day and was shocked at the amount of disposable nappies we were just throwing away to landfill. 

"I use the words Terry towels to a lot of people and they are shocked that we use them, they've been around so many years that my grandparents used them.

"Still to this day they are the most effective and cost friendly."

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She added: "I was so passionate about cloth nappies and using them on my daughter, and when we went into lockdown I saw the immense struggle that parents had just trying to buy nappies in the supermarkets."

"I decided I wanted to do more, I wanted to provide help and advice to parents and so I started my business 'Lollie's Cloth Bums'." 

Nappies drying on a washing line

Colourful reusable nappies drying in the sunshine - have you ever considered giving them a try on your baby or toddler? - Credit: GEMMA MARRIAGE

Gemma Marriage, has been using reusable nappies on her son Stanley since he was six weeks old.

Having previously worked as an environmental field officer, monitoring pollution from landfill sites, Mrs Marriage said it had been "heartbreaking" seeing big holes in the countryside filled with household waste,  including disposable nappies. 

This made the mum from Rushmere St Andrew determined to try cloth nappies as a "more environmentally friendly and budget friendly alternative". 

Little boy doing a headstand in a blue nappy

26 month old Stanley modelling one of his cloth nappies - Credit: GEMMA MARRIAGE

Mrs Marriage estimates she has saved around 4,000 nappies from going to landfill. 

She continued: "At first I found the choices and advice daunting.

"I was encouraged by meeting another mum at a parent and baby group who said even using one cloth nappy a day makes a difference.

"So I started using one per day, and fairly quickly progressed to using cloth nappies full time.

"When the Covid pandemic hit there was lots of panic buying including nappies.

"I had friends who were worried about running out but it was something that never bothered us." 

Baby with a cuddly toy in coloured nappy

Remus at three months old in his first ever cloth nappy - Credit: CARLA HYLAND

Carla Hyland, started using cloth nappies on her baby son Remus, after borrowing some from Suffolk Cloth Nappies. 

Miss Hyland said: "Suffolk Cloth Nappies loan out kits of cloth nappies for newborns or children that are a little older so families can try them out before they purchase their own kits.

"We met at Chantry Library for a talk and to see the kit and find out how they work. 

Toddler with blonde hair and white nappy holding on to a cot

Remus, who is now 13 months old, is very happy with his traditional Terry nappies - Credit: CARLA HYLAND

"It was a great feeling to know we were sending no disposable nappies to landfill and great to see his bum looked much healthier in reusables."

Madeline Proctor, from Felixstowe, said: "My daughter has only ever been in three disposable nappies and she got terrible sores and rashes. 

"Since being in cloth nappies she's only ever had nappy rash once and she is eight months old, we don't even use cream."

Mum and baby

Madeline Proctor, from Felixstowe, and her daughter who is now eight months old - Credit: MADELINE PROCTOR

Miss Proctor found using cloth nappies so easy that she now makes them herself: "I wanted a way to have something that worked amazingly for us."

She added: "I already made clothes so I just decided that the cheapest way and the best way to have something that I truly adored was to make my own. 

"I recently started selling them as I love making them." 

You can find out more about Miss Proctor's new business Sunshine and Raebows here. 

Nardyne Gilardoni, from Ipswich, also started using reusable nappies on her son Henry because of his nappy rash. 

She said: "My tips for newbies to reusables would be, do not panic, do research look for groups on Facebook and Instagram and see if you have a local nappy library.

"Do not think it is all or nothing, even one reusable a day helps to make an impact on the use of disposables, there is no right or wrong."

Reusable Nappy week runs from now until Saturday, April 24, it explores the different types of cloth nappies available and promotes their benefits. 

If are interested in trying reusable nappies on your baby or toddler you can get support from Suffolk Cloth Nappies, details of your local branch can be found on their website. 

Earth Day 

Ahead of Earth Day on Thursday, April 22 we are looking to speak to anyone in Suffolk or north Essex that makes or uses period pants or reusable sanitary pads. 

Please get in touch by emailing us.