Real Nappy Week 2019

Real Nappy Week 22nd -27th April 2019

It’s April, and all the cloth nappy retailers and manufacturers are going a bit crazy, their to do lists are pages long, they are working loooong hours… Why? Because, it’s nearly Reusable Nappy Week!

Whispers are already starting on the cloth nappy boards – it’s nearly Real Nappy Week, wait for Real Nappy Week, I’m so excited about Real Nappy Week…

But, what is Real Nappy Week?

Real Nappy Week is a week in April, co-ordinated by Go Real, but taken up by cloth nappy associations, retailers and manufacturers, where we shout to the world about how awesome cloth nappies are.

This year Real Nappy Week runs from the 22nd-29th April. Although some retailers are running a week later due to school holidays.

There will be discounts and competitions, but the real crutch of Real Nappy Week 2019 is helping people make the switch to cloth nappies. Go Real will be announcing challenges on their Facebook page that YOU can take part in to get more people using cloth nappies.

Take your pregnant/new mummy friend along to a cloth nappy event – check out your local cloth nappy library  or the Go Real website to find events near you.

Here at Grow Up Green, we will of course be offering special offers. But we also have promotional items for you to spread your cloth nappy love. We are also hosting a Great Cloth Diaper Change event promoting cloth nappies on Saturday 27th April at 10am in our headquarters.

If you want to know more about what we have going on for Real Nappy Week, follow or Facebook page or sign up for our newsletter

See you next week!

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Using cloth nappies on a budget

Someone putting a pound coin into a pink money box pig

There has been a lot of media coverage recently about people who collect cloth nappies, and focussing on one mum who spent £160 on 2 nappies. Whilst it’s great that cloth nappies are making mainstream media, it is worrying that it is putting families with less disposable income off using them in fear of the cost involved.

A couple of weeks ago I did a cost comparison with the cost using cloth nappies versus the cost of disposables ( Are cloth nappies cheaper? ), but how much do you NEED to spend, in order to use cloth nappies.

Tip 1 – Choose 2 part nappies. The expensive part of making cloth nappies is the PUL (the waterproof bit) so if you are changing the whole nappy every time (as you do with All in Ones and Pockets), your nappies are likely to work out more expensive overall. Two-part nappies tend to work out less expensive as you only change the absorbent bit at most nappy changes. To have 20 nappies, you would need 4-5 wraps and 20 inserts, meaning 20 nappies could cost as little as £140 brand new. 2-part nappies are easier to pass down to several other babies too, as if the PUL wears out, you only need to replace the wrap, not the whole nappy.

Examples – Totsbots Peenuts (£18 for wrap and pads, £7.99 for additional pads), Grovia (Wraps £15, inserts £15 for 2), Ecobebe (£11.50 for complete nappy, £5.50 for replacement inserts)

Tip 2 – Buy second hand. There are loads of preloved groups on Facebook for buying second hand nappies, just type preloved nappies into the search bar. Some people sell second hand nappies on Ebay, but this is technically against eBay regulations and you may find that they won’t help if something goes wrong with the purchase. Freecycle or other pass it on sites also often have cloth nappies, if you are not too fussy about what you get. Things to look out for when buying second hand is whether the elastics and PUL are still going strong. Ask for close ups of waterproofing and leg holes and check them over carefully before using.

Tip 3 – Buy bulk packs and kits. If you know which nappies work for you (and we always recommend you try before you buy loads, whether that is via a nappy library or buying a select few of the ones you’ll thing you’ll like), then buying a bulk kit can work out cheaper eg a single Tots Bots Easyfit is £18, but a birth to potty kit costs £265, and includes 2 packs of liners and some washing powder.

Tip 4 – Consider using flat nappies some of the time. People are often put off using flat nappies (terry squares, prefolds) because the thought of folding them is overwhelming. However, I like to tell people I learnt to fold a terry square when I was four years old, so it can’t be hard. There are lots of tutorials on YouTube for the different folds. Flat nappies are really cheap, even new you are only looking at spending £2 a nappy, and as they dry really quickly, you don’t need quite so many of them.

Tip 5 – see if your nappy library has a relationship with any retailers. We often offer nappy libraries a discount code to allow their customers to buy nappies for a bit less.

What are your tips for doing cloth nappies a bit cheaper?


How to use cloth with newborns

Lots of people when first looking into using cloth nappies don’t realise that “birth to potty” nappies are a bit of a misnomer. Most birth to potty nappies fit from around 8-9lbs (4-4.5kg). This means they don’t fit the average newborn that is in the UK is about 7lbs.

So how do you cloth nappy a newborn?

A newborn needs a lot of nappy changes – approximately every 2 hours for the first few weeks as their digestive system gets used to receiving nourishment from milk and not straight from the placenta. With this in mind you need up to 30 nappies to keep on top of the washing. You have a number of options as to what to use to cloth your baby.

Newborn all in ones or pockets

Newborn all in one

These are nappies where the absorbent bit is either sewn to the waterproof bit, or the absorbent goes in a pocket so it is a complete nappy. They tend to fit from 5lbs to 12lbs. These are easy to use, change much like a disposable and are super cute looking. However, they are quite expensive, at around £10 per nappy and will only fit for a couple of months.

Newborn all in one on baby

Size one fitteds (or 2 part nappies)

Diddy Diaper size 1

These nappies are a nappy shaped absorbent layer, that you then put a waterproof cover. Size one nappies tend to fit from 5lbs to 16lbs, which means they can fit a baby for up to 6 months. They still retail at around the £10 mark, but are more absorbent and reliable than all in ones.

Flat nappies

Muslin in newborn pad fold

Flat nappies such as terry squares, prefolds and muslins are by far the cheapest way of using cloth nappies from birth. Standard sized terry squares (60cm x 60cm) can be a little bulky on a small newborn, but can be folded to fit. Muslins are great as can be folded really small, and then used as burp cloths when they no longer work as nappies. Teamed with a small wrap they make great nappies.

Baby in a muslin

Hiring nappies

Many nappy libraries hire newborn kits to help you use cloth from birth. Our newborn kits contain 10 all in one or pocket nappies, 15 size one fitteds, 6 wraps, 5 newborn prefolds, liners, wipes and wet bag. Contact us for more information

You can find your local library here

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Are cloth nappies cheaper?

I originally wrote a blog post on this a few years ago, but the disposable and the cloth nappy markets have changed so much recently, that it’s worth visiting again.

When I first started running a nappy library and retailing cloth nappies, it was as clear that using cloth nappies would definitely be cheaper. However, disposables have gotten a lot cheaper, especially since Lidl and Aldi have entered the market, meaning it’s not as clear cut as it used to be.

We’ll start with the assumption that the average baby will go through 6,000 disposable nappies a between birth and potty training as that is what research suggests. We will also use the assumption that you only buy 25 cloth nappies.

In Aldi disposable nappies retail at 85p for 24 or £4.39 for 98. Pampers were on at £12 for 52 or £18 for 104 or £8 for 39 for their “Eco” brand. That makes 3.5p per disposable for Aldi newborn 4.4p per bigger size disposable. Pampers are 23p to 17.3p for their normal brand, or 20.5p for their eco brand.

So, the cheapest disposables would cost £240 over 2.5 years, Pampers £1,038 and Eco £1,230.

Cloth nappies

Cheapest option – £100 for a birth to potty terry square kit – 24 terry squares, 6 wraps, bucket, liners.

Midpriced option – Ecobebe from Ecopipo all in two system – 5 complete nappies @ £10.99, 15 Ecobebe inserts @£5, 5 Ecopipo night nappies @£10.49. 3 wraps @ £10.49 = £213.87

Expensive option – 20 Tots Bots Easyfit – £360, 5 bamboozles @ £12 and 3 wraps @£12 = £456.

Accessories – Grow Up Green accessories kit (bucket, 2 x bucket mesh, wet bag, 20 fleece or 200 disposable liners) = £35

Washing – £1.00 for A or A+ machine and detergent = £125

Comparison of costs

So, from the table you can see, if budget brands suit your baby, then disposable nappies are fractionally cheaper. However, as you can use cloth nappies on more than one child and/or sell them on when you are done, then actually cloth would still work out cheaper. You could further save money by buying second-hand, bulk sets and kits and taking advantage of offers and sales. If you were planning on using Pampers or an eco-brand of disposables, you would definitely be saving money using cloth nappies.

Of course, the cost isn’t everything when it comes to using cloth nappies – there’s the environment and the cuteness to consider too. But knowing you aren’t breaking the bank while switching to cloth is always good to know!

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5 reasons why recycling isn’t the answer…

I bought a take out coffee at the weekend. I was manning a nappy info stall at a local nearly new sale, and had had the foresight to take my reusable coffee cup with me. I popped across the road to the well-known coffee outlet and ordered my coffee and handed over my cup. Unfortunately, my cup didn’t fit underneath their machine, so I watched in astonishment as the barista picked up a disposable cup to dispense my coffee and pour it into my reusable cup. I expressed my displeasure – why could she not have used one of their pot cups and put it in the washer? “Oh!” she said, “it’s OK, we recycle the paper cups!”

This attitude seems all pervasive. It seems that we don’t have to worry about what waste we produce because “oh well, it will be recycled.” People are even looking at ways to recycle disposable nappies as a way to remove the impetus to use cloth.

No. Recycling is at best third on the waste reduction pyramid. It comes after REDUCE and REUSE (but others would argue REPAIR and REPURPOSE need to go in there too). Here’s why:

  1. Recycling still uses huge amounts of energy and water. Admittedly, depending on what you are recycling, between 45% and 75% less energy then creating the product new, but still huge amounts of energy;
  2. Recycling doesn’t produce like for like quality. Whilst aluminium can be melted down and just made into more pop cans, most raw materials are acutally down cycled rather than recycled. Recycled glass tends to be slightly coloured and recycled plastic is at best discoloured and at worst is downcycled into something else such as infill for roads or “eco bricks”
  3. Recycling is cost inefficient and largely subsidised by local government (source Popular Mechanics );
  4. We do not have the capacity to deal with the amount of recycling we generate in this country and much is shipped overseas to countries such as Turkey, Malaysia and Poland which is a climate change problem (source The Guardian )
  5. Much of the waste we think we are recycling, may actually ending up in landfill either here or overseas. Recyclable waste that is dirty (or “contaminated”) cannot be recycled, so is diverted to land fill.

Now, obviously, I’m not telling you not to recycle. But don’t think of it as your first port of call when choosing whether something is good for the environment. Think first REDUCE (do I need it, do I already have something else that will do the job, can I borrow it?) then think REUSE (take a refillable bottle or coffee cup, reuse a carrier, use a cloth nappy, cloth san-pro) then, and only then, think can I recycle it.


Should I take my cloth nappies on holiday?

A question that often comes up at this time of year is “should I take my cloth nappies with me on holiday?” As with many questions in the cloth nappy world, there is no one right answer for everyone, and I have to confess that most of the time when my kids were small, I took disposables as we were camping. However, here are some points to consider:

What accommodation are you staying in? If you are in a self-catering cottage with washing machine and all the mod-cons, then it will be much easier to take cloth nappies than if you are staying in an hotel with no laundry. You need to ask yourself how you plan to wash your nappies. Not having wash facilities is not necessarily a barrier to using nappies, but you will need enough to last the time you are away and the means to transport damp, dirty nappies home with you. If you plan on bringing dirty nappies home, I recommend given them a good rinse out (bidets are good for this!) and dry them, then do a good long wash when you get home.

Do you have room to transport your nappies? This will depend on 2 things – how you are getting there, and which nappies you are using. If you are driving, you have plenty of space to take nappies. If you are flying 20 all in ones will take up a sizeable chunk of your luggage allowance.

Will you have the time to deal with your nappies? Selfishly, the reason I rarely took cloth nappies on holiday with me, was that I didn’t want to spend chunks of my precious holiday in the campsite laundry, or, as I saw on one camping holiday, washing nappies in the sink. I know that this was part laziness on my behalf!

If you’d REALLY like to take something more sustainable than disposables on holiday, but don’t think you can with your existing cloth nappies, here are some low cost options:

Take terry squares or prefolds.  These nappies are super versatile, quick drying and can handle being soaked. They are easier to hand wash than an all in one too.

    ,p>Take a hybrid nappy like a Flip or Grovia with disposable inserts. Because the plastic is in the reusable wrap, the disposable inserts are completely biodegradable

Whatever you decide, to cloth, hybrid or disposable, remember it’s your family, and your choice!


How to raise outdoor kids

There are a lot of benefits to getting children active outdoors. It has long term benefits to their physical health, the mental health, their emotional resiliance, problem solving, better sleep and team-working capabilities. Yet many of us struggle with getting our children to be active outdoors.

As a parent who was raised to be an outdoor kid, and a Brownie Leader, I have quite a lot of experience getting kids to be active outdoors. So here are my top tips:

  1. 1. Go outside. Don’t wait for warm weather, fine weather etc.. just go do something outdoors. It doesn’t have to be a major expedition. Make mud pies in the garden, go explore a local wood, pop to the beach. Dress warmly if the weather isn’t great, as kids don’t like to feel cold, but don’t be afraid of a little bad weather. As I say to my kids (imagine this said in my best Yorkshire accent)  “We’re none of us made of sugar, and none of us will melt!”
  2. 2. Start small. A child who is driven everywhere won’t suddenly be able to go on a five mile hike. Build exercise into your everyday by walking or cycling to school, walking to the shops or the park. Gradually increase the distance within age limits.
  3. 3. Lead by example. Your kids are more likely to be active if they see you being active. Pick an outdoor sport and give it a go (there are lots to try and if you search on line you’ll find a local club offering beginners sessions). Being active outdoors is good for your mental and physical health too, and who doesn’t need an hour or so away from the kids! (My sport of choice is cycling, and I am one of a national network of volunteers that run women’s only bike rides to encourage women into the sport – it’s called Breeze, check out to find a ride near you)
  4. 4. Make it fun. Think of games to play en route, who can get up this bit fastest, who can count the most trees, who can find the most conkers, who can make the biggest splash in a puddle, make silly songs up about where you are, tell stories about how landmarks got their shape;
  5. 5. Don’t be afraid to resort to bribery – we’ll have our picnic when we reach the top, lets go for a bike ride to the ice-cream shop, if you scoot all the way to the park we can have a snack when we get there. Built in rewards make it all seem worthwhile and keeping energy levels up when exercising is important.
  6. 6. Be prepared for a bit of whinging. Outdoor sports teach emotional resilience, but young children don’t have it yet. So you might get a bit of whinging “my legs are tired” “this is boring” “are we nearly at the top yet”. See points four and five for coping techniques.
  7. 7. Enrol them in a club or activity that encourages outdoor play – Forest School, Scouting, Guiding, Woodcraft Folk, the young ramblers, whatever floats your boat, or at least find other outdoorsy families to hang out with. There’s nothing like a bit of peer encouragement to get your child trying something new.

So there you  have my top tips for growing outdoorsy kids. Let me know your favourite outdoors activities you do as a family.


What you need to know to get started with reusable nappies…

Feeling bamboozled by reusable nappies, but don’t know where to start? Here are my top tips on getting started with cloth:

  1. 1. Remember that all nappies need something absorbent, and something waterproof. All the different names and types are just different ways of putting them together. There are pros and cons to all the different types, which we’ll discuss later in the week.
  2. 2. How many you need depends on how often you change and how often you want to wash. The average newborn needs 8 changes a day, a toddler only 4 or 5. It’s a good idea to have 3 days worth of nappies (so 24 if starting from birth). That gives you enough to wash every other day, with a days worth to use while you get the dirty ones washed and dried.
  3. 3. You need somewhere to store your dirty nappies until you wash them. This can be a bucket with a lid, or a wet bag. Wet bags are bags made of waterproof material that can go into the wash with your nappies. You will also need a smaller wetbag to bring dirty nappies home in when you are out and about.
  4. 4. Liners are useful for keeping baby dry, catching poo and preventing your nappies from staining. You have a choice of fleece liners, which are great for keeping baby dry and can be reused indefinitely; and paper liners, which can be bagged and binned like disposable nappies. Fleece liners tend to work better with newborn baby poo, paper liners can be useful during the weaning phase.
  5. 5. Cloth nappies fit differently to disposable. They tend to come in three sizes. Size one fit from about 5lbs (2.4kg) and 18lbs (8kg), size two fits from around 12lbs (5.5kg) to about 35lb (16kg) and Birth to Potty, which in reality fit from around 9lbs(4kg) to 35lbs(16kg). The leg elastic needs to be up in the knicker line like pants, rather than round the thigh.
  6. 6. Washing them is easy. Drop in a bucket/wet bag until ready to wash, no need to soak. Throw in the washing machine and do a rinse cycle (this stops stains from setting), at this point you can put other things in the wash if you wish. Wash at 60 degrees (or the temperature recommended by your manufacturer if lower) with a full dose of your usual washing powder and jobs a good one (if you are worried about the temperature making them less green, read here )
  7. 7. Not all nappies suit all babies, so if you can, get along to your local nappy library and try some out. The people that run them are minds of cloth nappy info, so always worth getting in touch! Find your local library here

So there you go! Hope you have an idea now of how to get started. Have a wander through the blog for other reusable nappy hints and tips, buy your cloth nappies here and get in touch if you are stuck!

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Six ways to reduce your waste…

This is the second in our series on the waste reduction pyramid. Last month we looked at REFUSE, just choosing not to buy, but sometimes we NEED it, so what can we do to reduce our impact on the environment when we do buy?

  1. 1. Buy loose. It’s a no-brainer, but 16 apples selected loose and put in a bag need less packaging than 2 pre-packed bags of apples. Bonus points if you take your own reusable produce bags, or if it’s something like a single pepper or bulb of garlic, just leave it loose in your basket. Supermarkets often have fruit, veg and break rolls. You might be lucky and find your local market has a scoop and weigh where you can get anything from rice to washing powder loose. Some pet shops sell pet treats loose. It also means you can buy just what you need and that will reduce your food waste. Buy packaging free alternatives. Hand soap in a pump dispenser can be swapped for bar soap in paper or no packaging, you can also buy shampoo and conditioner in bar form. Even things that come in some packaging, can often be bought in less packaging (any need for a glass bottle, inside a cardboard box, inside plastic wrapping, or can you buy just the plastic bottle for example). Every little helps, and you’ll soon see a difference in the amount of non-recyclable plastic you are sending to landfill.
  1. 2. Buy in bulk. Obviously only do this for things you use a lot of and/or doesn’t go off. It takes only a small amount more packaging to package 24 toilet rolls as 4, and 5kg sacks of rice or pasta don’t use much more plastic than 500g ones. I buy my washing powder direct from the manufacturer (I use Simply washing as it gets things clean, has strong eco credentials, and doesn’t aggravate my son’s eczema), buying it in the supermarket it comes in small plastic tubs, buying direct means it comes in loose in a cardboard box.
  1. 3. Refill.Certain of the more eco-friendly cleaning and toiletry brands are moving back to refillable bottles (anyone remember when Body Shop did this? I miss it!). Ecover and Faith in Nature have refilling stations in certain outlets (these can be found on their website), Splosh deliver refills for their household cleaning products to your door, and refills for Method products can often be found in supermarkets.
  1. 4. Cut paper waste. Get rid of unwanted mail and junk through the letterbox. I have to say that a significant amount of the waste my house produces comes through the slot in the front of the door. Registering with the Mailing Preference Service prevents organisations sending you speculative direct mail. It won’t stop organisations you have a relationship with from sending you stuff, but you shouldn’t get anything from companies you don’t have a relationship with and you can take action if you do. Affix a sign to your door requesting no free papers or circulars to stop takeaway menus, estate agents flyers etc coming through your door. Investigate whether companies you do have a relationship have a system for reducing paper mail sent to you (opting out of marketing by mail, switching to paperless statements etc).
  1. 5. Buy quality or for longevity. I have a 1980s Kenwood chef. It was my aunts, she used it a lot. I use it a lot too. They are built to last, but not only that, just about every moving part is replaceable. My kids scoot to school on JD Bug scooters. My kids scoot about 400miles a year (yep, you read that right, they scoot an average of 2 miles a day, 5 days a week, 40 weeks of the year, and that’s not including any ancillary journeys in the school holidays). We have in the past replaced wheels, hand grips, quick release pins and more, we didn’t need to replace the whole scooter because a small moveable part needed replacing. There are brands that have a reputation for being built to last, ask around and avoid brands/products designed to need replacing in short periods of time.
  1. 6. Use what you already have. There is a temptation when starting on the waste reduction journey to think we need to buy things to be able to become zero waste, but often we don’t. Don’t buy reusable bags until you’ve used up all the life in the millions of carrier bags, old school bags, produce bags etc that you have knocking round the house for example. At the end of the day, waste reduction is about simple thrift and using what you have. This is the best way of reducing your waste.

So there we have, 6 quick tips to start reducing your waste. Next month we will look at reusable products.

But share with me. What are your quick tips for reducing your waste?

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Do you really need to buy THAT?!

Waste reduction ladder grow up greenYou know the feeling, you walk into the store and the brightly coloured, well lit display shouts “Buy ME!” You pop it in your basket, pay for it and take it home, filled with a sense of almost euphoria. Even more pervasive are the little ads on your computer, you browse that pretty dress, then every time you log on to check your email or browse Facebook, there it is, looking at you, whispering “go on buy me, you know you want me”  Marketing is everywhere and our whole economy is based on the buy more, buy more mentality.

There’s just one problem. Our earth’s resources are limited, and everything we buy has to be disposed of eventually, whether because we have fallen out of love with it, or because it has worn out.

This is why the first level in the waste reduction triangle is REFUSE.

It is also the hardest of the steps to zero waste for me. I’m a retailer, I love things. My personal achilles heels are stationary and clothes. I end up with so much. The other day I found a jumper at the back of my cupboard. I’d forgotten I even had it, yet I loved it when I bought it. It is enjoying a new lease of life as I am wearing it again, but I was horrified that I had so many clothes, I could forget I owned some. (A piece of research by M&S and Oxfam in 2016 showed that people only wear an average of 44% of clothes in their wardrobes regularly, so I’m not alone).

It’s also hard because there will be times we actually NEED new things (children grow out of things, things wear out and get broken).

So what’s the solution?

For me I started with a no spend month. It was back in September, prompted by a large purchase that came sooner than I had budgeted for (taking advantage of a second-hand bargain that came up!). It was amazing. I could ignore adverts, walk past shiny displays, let the whole marketing industry flow past me.  I was not too hardcore in my no-spending, if you want a really inspirational read check out this lady – she gave up spending for a whole year!

A month, however, gives you chance to ask “do I really need it?” “Can I borrow it from somewhere?” (there is a growing network of libraries of “things”, I run a sling library for example) Just accepting less into our houses will reduce our waste automatically.

Next time I will be looking at the next rung of the waste reduction ladder – reduce – but in the meantime, let me know how you are getting on with REFUSE!