Jonas Hurst: With three billion nappies thrown away every year, mums and dads are being urged to ditch the disposables and turn to real nappies. Real nappies have come very far in ten years. They're not just an eco, and economic option, but a fashionable lifestyle choice. Liz Sutton from the Women's Environmental Network and Tamara Rayment and her boy Diggy (ph) are all here to encourage us to start using real nappies. Hello you three!
Liz Sutton: Hi!
Tamara Rayment: Hi!
Jonas Hurst: Thank you very much for coming. Actually, you know what, obviously, first of all, is Diggy wearing a real nappy now? Isn't he? Can we pull down his trousers on TV?
Tamara Rayment: Okay, Diggy sorry about this.
Jonas Hurst: But I hope you'll remind of this later on in his life, I'm sure. Let's take a look at this. It is obviously -- he's sitting in that very happy, very comfortable and there it is.
Tamara Rayment: That's his nappy, can you see?
Jonas Hurst: Yeah, we can see. My first question will be, that looks quit big compared to a disposable nappy, are they bigger, generally, do you find? Either of you?
Liz Sutton: They can tend to look a little more bulky.
Jonas Hurst: Does that affect the clothes they wear? Is this sort of matter to people, do you think or not?
Liz Sutton: I think, yeah, some parents say, they have to go for the next size up, just to fit over it. But it does depends -- one of the things, I think, that's important for them to understand is there's so much choice.
Jonas Hurst: I was going say, I was going show you actually. When I and you were coming in, when I thought about real nappies, I thought of this, that is a terry. Yeah, so that's what I thought of, but I actually looking down on this table, there are all sorts of real nappies you can you can get. Terry, as I said, fashionable, are the ones that are nice and comfortable and ones that have different fastening techniques, the range is great. Let's talk about each one of these.
Liz Sutton: Okay, well, yes, as you say, you've got your traditional terry square, you don't have to be worrying about pins with that any more because you've got these little Nappi Nippa things that are put together.
Jonas Hurst: Okay good, no pins. It's good.
Liz Sutton: Yeah. Then you've got -- this style is a pocket style.
Tamara Rayment: That's what he is wearing.
Jonas Hurst: Okay, a pocket style.
Tamara Rayment: And they are a bit bulkier, I think.
Liz Sutton: But what you've got there is you've got your nappy --
Jonas Hurst: And it's obviously of different sizes, different purpose that it lasts a long time.
Liz Sutton: That's right, they expand as the child grows.
Jonas Hurst: You have to keep buying more and more.
Liz Sutton: Quite a few of the different styles come with a disposable liner as well, so that part you just flush away.
Jonas Hurst: Right. So without being too graphic, that's the pooi part, you take the pooi part, throw that away.
Liz Sutton: Throw that away and then --
Jonas Hurst: And you just go wash the other stuff.
Liz Sutton: -- the rest of it just goes in the washing machine at a 60 degree wash and that's all very convenient. But the pocket style has this pocket in the back here, where you can put extra layers for absorbency, for instance, at night a few extra layers in there, you can do that.
Jonas Hurst: Alright. So just before we look at some others, Tamara, so why is it that you decided to use it, was it purely for environmental reasons?
Tamara Rayment: Yeah, mainly.
Jonas Hurst: You just felt strongly about.
Tamara Rayment: Yeah, because of all the waste and piles and piles of nappies all over the house.
Jonas Hurst: Makes me feel very guilty, I have to admit.
Tamara Rayment: And also, because that's a source of ultra-absorbent gel in the disposables. It's all chemicals and it's near to their bottoms and there are so quite sensitive areas and stuff.
Jonas Hurst: And you've got no problems, you have no problems using them?
Tamara Rayment: I don't have any problems, no.
Jonas Hurst: What do you think it is about some parents, they refused to use and don't think about using, why isn't that more people aren't using them do you think?
Tamara Rayment: Off the top of my head, I think, some people are still thinking that it's like terry's nappy and they haven't seen what's out there.
Jonas Hurst: It's a huge effort to wash them each time.
Tamara Rayment: Of course, yeah, and then, of course, it's the effort, because it's often inconvenience in the sides, yeah, aren't we?
Jonas Hurst: I'm sitting here feeling guilty and I'm just trying to think why it is that we haven't thought about using these and we used disposables like millions of other people and I think it probably is. Because having a baby is a stressful time, it's a tough time a lot of times. So you want something like nappies to be as easy as possible and that's why we probably go for the disposables but really -- I mean, the figures, let's talk about the figures, because I said, how many billion it is a year, disposables?
Liz Sutton: Three billion a year, eight million a day.
Jonas Hurst: Eight million a day, is this true that not a single one has ever decomposed, is that actually biodegraded, is that right?
Liz Sutton: Yes, we don't actually know --
Jonas Hurst: That's just horrible, isn't it?
Liz Sutton: -- how long they might take to biodegrade, but it could well be hundreds of years, because they are -- disposable nappies are mixtures of paper-pulp plastics and the absorbent gels that Tamara has mentioned. If you think you're wrapping them up in a little plastic nappy sack, you're probably then putting that into a bin bag, all of that is going into the landfill site -- all the rest of the rubbish, it's not ideal conditions for it to biodegrade.
Jonas Hurst: What I've been asking, before you came here, I asked a few friends, few mothers about this, they had a question that they thought that real nappies can cause more nappy rash, is that like because it's not as absorbent? Is that true or not true?
Liz Sutton: No, there's absolutely no evidence of that, in fact, nappy rash is more --
Jonas Hurst: Maybe they were just fine to sort of make themselves a little bit better.
Liz Sutton: Yeah, nappy rash is more to do with how frequently you're changing your baby, in general, there is no difference between disposables and real nappies.
Jonas Hurst: Okay what about potty training, I mean Diggy is probably is not there yet. But I've also heard that, when you're wearing a disposable, this is actually a good thing for real nappies, when you're wearing a disposable, that serves -- often the child doesn't know, it's done a wee, whereas in a real nappy, they're more likely to know. So it's probably easier for them to know when they need to go to the loo.
Liz Sutton: I mean, yes, we've heard that too. I mean, there isn't any kind of scientific research that the fact that are the way, but certainly a lot of mums have said to us that actually the baby is more aware and so the potty training process.
Jonas Hurst: Yeah, and your belief is obviously that we need to start being a bit more sensible about the environment. If someone watching this is thinking, gosh, yeah, I really need to sort that out and they want to look in through the nappies, where do we start, where do we start, and how did you get into it Tamara?
Tamara Rayment: Well, I already knew about Women's Environmental Network and I know that they give out lots of information about nappies, but you can ring the UK Nappy Line, which I also I did, and they have local advisors and they will come around to your house maybe or you could go on to their house and they will talk you through all these different nappies and show you how to use them and show exactly all the different types.
Jonas Hurst: Really? It is one of the problems that when a baby is born in hospital, they use disposables.
Tamara Rayment: Yeah, they give you this, I mean, in the hospitals.
Jonas Hurst: So you're already starting on the wrong foot, though.
Tamara Rayment: Yeah, the hospitals could save so much money on the amount of waste and stuff from --
Jonas Hurst: Do you know about the counsels, because I've heard that the counsels are trying to promote that so much, they're actually coming and picking up, the dirty real nappies, taking them home, washing them and then returning to you. Is that right, that sounds like a brilliant service?
Tamara Rayment: They do that, yeah.
Liz Sutton: Yes, there are a number of laundry companies operating up and down the country. There are also some local authorities that are actually providing incentive schemes, either cash to help with the upfront cost of buying the nappies trial pack, so you can take them home and try them out first before you commit and help with the laundry costs for parents.
Jonas Hurst: Okay, listen, we're running out of time, and we obviously have to do all of these, there's a great selection there, can I just very quickly ask you, because it is important cost, briefly, how does it work out cost wise?
Liz Sutton: Real nappies actually can save you about 500 pounds over the nappy-wearing life of your baby in comparison to disposables. If you're going for the terry's option, you actually get your baby out for under 50 pounds on the highest rate. That would buy you about seven weeks worth of disposables. The range, the prices vary obviously but even so, you can still say --
Jonas Hurst: And you can get them at the supermarkets and places like that.
Liz Sutton: You can get them at supermarkets, you can get them through mail order.
Tamara Rayment: Online.
Jonas Hurst: Tamara, you go online, do you?
Tamara Rayment: I do go.
Jonas Hurst: Okay. Now we really have run out of time, so just go to give the number, if someone wants more information.
Liz Sutton: Real Nappy helpline is 0845-850-0606.
Jonas Hurst: And again, quickly.
Liz Sutton: 0845-850-0606, all people can go on to the WEN website www.wen.org.uk.
Jonas Hurst: Thank you, there you go, we probably have the details on our website too, but for now, all three, thank you very much for coming in, not for making me feel guilty, but thank you for coming in. That's all we have time for today. Thanks to all my guests and we'll see you next time on Baby Talk.