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ClothNappies

By Angela Ashby

"Having had 5 children and felt increasingly guilty about the waste involved in using disposable nappies I decided that with number 6 I would give the alternative a go. I had tried terry nappies with my eldest (now 14 ) but they were hard to fasten and fell off and the plastic pants had nasty elastic that marked his legs.

One of the older children bought home a magazine from school with an intriguing advert claiming that the council would pay you to put your child in cloth nappies to reduce the amount going into landfill in Suffolk. I rang the number and got in touch with Rachel, a lollipop nappy agent, who introduced me to the different types of nappies. I ordered some cotton nappies which you fold and put in a velcro fastened waterproof cover with optional flushable liners.

Having taken the plunge and bought a nappy bucket we switched to the new nappies when Simon was about a month old. Because I already had 5 children the washing machine is on most days and all I changed was to sort out the whites and colours (I used to wash them all together) and wash the whites and nappies at 60 degrees alternating with a 40 degree wash for the coloureds.

Suffolk county council did in fact put their money where their mouth was and coughed up £30 after I sent them a form and receipt which made the start up cost to me about £25. The council money could also be used to pay a nappy laundry service which my neighbour Nicky decided to try where a van collects all the used nappies on a Thursday and leaves her with a stack of fresh ones.

13 months on and Simon has gone up a few sizes but he is still in the cotton nappies; we have, I think, saved money - disposables are more expensive in the long run, and I like to think that at the end of the day at least I have done something to stand up for my environmental principles. I only use disposables on holiday - well would you pack a nappy bucket?!

All in all I wish I'd changed to cloth years ago."

Editor's note: I used old-style terries with my older boys and saved a fortune. If the new, shaped cloth nappies had been easily available when I had my younger three, they'd have had them too & we'd be richer now...

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