Molly Geoghegan

August 26, 2020

Sustainable parenting: Eco-friendly nappies, helpful resources & top tips

Sustainable parenting: Eco-friendly nappies, helpful resources & top tips

Molly Geoghegan

August 26, 2020

It’s no secret that parenting requires a lot of STUFF. 

With any parenting purchase, both safety and efficiency are important for your child’s health and your own sanity. But there are many ways with which products and practices can be made more eco-friendly! 

As always, sustainability can feel daunting until you break it down into easy steps to reduce your waste, lessen your carbon footprint, and pass it off to the next generation. 

Something borrowed

First thing’s first, before buying new for your baby, consider these steps (from SustainablyLazy)

    • Borrow off friends
    • Accept hand me downs
    • Get down the charity shops
    • Get on eBay, Gumtree, or Facebook marketplace
    • Setup toy swaps with your friends
    • Save clothes for future kids
    • Buy second hand school uniform
    • Use your local library as this financially supports authors

Unless it’s a crib or carseat (in which case, safety is the top priority in your purchase), you can save lots of money and reduce your carbon footprint by borrowing or buying second-hand.

Top tip: Check out the ‘Parenting’ category on the Facebook Groups page.  


Nappies are a nasty business for both our nostrils and nature. ‘Not only is there concern about the plastic used in disposable diapers biodegrading in landfills, there is also concern about the safety of throwing away human waste.’ (Vox 2019) So how does an eco-conscious parent deal with poo?

Cloth Vs disposable

The average baby will get through an eye-watering 6,000 nappies by the time they get to potty-training age. (Wrap.org UK) Holy shit. Not only does this massive amount of waste take up to 500 years to degrade, but it produces methane and other toxic gasses in the process. 

These staggering numbers are the reason there has been a resurgence in the popularity of cloth nappies. Investing in cloth nappies might cost more upfront but has been shown to save $900 USD (about €760) each year over the course of your child’s happy nappy years. (PR Newswire 2016)

While cloth nappies reduce plastic waste, they do require more washing. To combat more washing, things like compostable and bamboo liners have become standard in the sustainable nappy space. This means you don’t have to wash as frequently and can simply throw liners into your compost bin. 

Cloth diapers will always use more water than disposables, but they also offer more opportunities to decrease overall environmental impact—by using more efficient washers, and cleaner soaps and power sources.

However, like any decision regarding your family, there is no ‘right’ way to do something. 

If you’re on the fence about making the switch to, Ireland’s lovely parent community is here to connect you with the Cloth Nappy library, which sets you up on temporary loans for free to give it a trial run. Have a chat with fellow parents at the Cloth Nappy Facebook page too! 

Other cloth nappy brands to check out:

DIY baby food

We’ve talked a lot about the impact that buying local, seasonal, and organic has on our carbon footprint. The same goes for what you’re putting into your baby’s belly! 

While the organic baby food market has exploded, we understand it is not always the most financially sound option for parents. 

Instead, Joanne Moore (Vogue UK 2019) offers up her suggestion of cooking ‘stripped-back meals’ with less salt and spice, and throws it in the blender! Carrots, sweet potatoes—veg of most variety will easily blend to suit your babe’s lil tastebuds.

For more tips and ideas on how to purée the Sunday roast into baby form, check out these helpful blogs:

Easy sustainable swaps for your house

#1 Beeswax wrap

#2 Guppy Bag

Soak up all the microplastics from clothes with each wash 

#3 Eco Egg – sits in your washing bin to act as skin-safe and earth-friendly detergent! 

#4 Washable baby wipes

Also good for makeup removal, FYI

#5 Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Clean your house AND keep the earth clean. Win-win.

Sustainability…pass it on

When your everyday life includes sustainability, you’re passing those practices on to your child. As they get older, talk to them about how the compost bin works and why it’s important. Turn off the water faucet as they brush their teeth to save a bit of water. 

The more we talk about our sustainable choices, the more normalized they become—and the next generation will be well-equipped to carry them on! 

See below for a list of activities, educational resources, and books around sustainability: