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New mums everywhere are having sleepless nights over which type of nappies to use.
Many green-minded parents went back to basics years ago by using re-usable, old-fashioned towelling nappies. But according to a recent report by the Environment Agency, using cloth nappies has no significant advantage where reducing the environmental impact of disposable nappies is concerned.
True, reusable nappies reduce the amount of landfill - with disposables causing around 400,000 tonnes of waste a year in this country alone - but when you weigh up the amount of energy and water needed to wash and dry them, their green credentials vanish into thin air. The whole debacle has left egg on the faces of ministers at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who threw an alleged £2.3million at the government's Real Nappy Campaign - a campaign that, since the publication of the Environment Agency's report, has been quietly dropped.
Surely the ideal solution would be an environmentally-friendlier disposable nappy - but is there such a thing? Well it would seem that it is possible to have a disposable and green nappy.
Seventh Generation's Chlorine-Free Nappies have been redesigned to be thinner, which means less waste and less use of resources - but not at the expense of performance. The absorbent, non-toxic polymer (a chemically-inert gel called sodium polyacrylate) used in the nappies help keep babies dry in between changes and right through the night, and reduces the risk of nappy rash too.
As the name suggests, the nappies are also chlorine free. Many other disposable brands are made from wood pulp that has been bleached using chlorine. However, chlorine is a chemical that creates substances called dioxins, which many scientists believe are extremely harmful to the environment, animals and humans.
For instance, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry in the US (www.atsdr.cdc.gov), chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs) may increase the risk of cancer, diabetes, liver and heart diseases, skin problems and delayed nervous system development in children *.
So by choosing chlorine-free nappies, parents are helping to reduce the amount of dioxins that pollute the air, water and soil - which could make the world a safer, healthier place for their children.
Other great features of Seventh Generation Chlorine-Free Nappies include super-stretchy and re-sealable closure tabs and super-stretchy leg gathers, making them super-comfy and easy to use. And since they don't contain any latex or fragrance, they're hypoallergenic too. This is beginning to sound like an advert, isn't it so I'll quit while I'm ahead!
Read the report, have a look around and then look at Green Face to make your own mind up!
Seventh Generation's Chlorine-Free Nappies are available in the UK from online ethical retailer Green Face
There are many other chemical-free baby products available at www.greenface.co.uk, the website of the Suffolk-based eco and natural product company. Green Face lowers the impact of importing brands including Seventh Generation by offsetting the carbon used by planting trees in Mynedd-Y-Garnedd, Snowdonia via the Carbon Neutral Company.
* The full report can be seen if you click HERE
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