What to do with your cloth nappies when you no longer need them

Help! My child has started toilet training - what should I do with my cloth nappies?

For cloth loving mums, it can be quite a mix of emotions when it our bub begins to show signs of toilet training and our time using cloth comes to an end.

Whilst we may be celebrating this new development stage for our child and an end to the poo scrubbing and regular washing, we might also feel a sense of loss that it's all over.

So what to do with our stash of pretties, that we so lovingly picked out for our little one? Those special unicorns that we were so lucky to snap up on release night or painstakingly trawled through BSS groups trying to find.

Let's take a look at four different ideas on what you can do with your cloth nappies after you've finished using them.

1. Save them for your next child

With an excellent wash routine and with proper storage, your cloth nappies can be used for subsequent children. This is why buying high quality nappies is so important, because they will withstand many years of use.

This is also when the real savings come into play when using cloth nappies. Not only does your financial investment now stretch out across multiple children, but by reusing your stash you are preventing further pollution and wastage in the manufacturing of new nappies.

2. Give them a new home

If you aren't planning on having any more children and your nappies are still in good knick, then you can either give them away or swap/sell them.

Facebook is filled with Buy/Swap/Sell MCN groups or you can try selling them on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or eBay.

If you have a highly desirable print that is in excellent condition, then it's possible to get your money back selling them secondhand (sometimes, for real unicorns you might even turn a profit!)

Otherwise, very generally speaking you could sell them for $10 - $20 each depending on the brand, print and condition.

You may even like to consider donating your stash to a family in need. You can use these same forums to giveaway nappies or you might like to approach an organisation such as the St Kilda Mums or similar to see if they would accept your donation.

3. Recycle/Repurpose them

Sometimes we can't bear to part with our beautiful nappies and you may even feel quite sad about not using them anymore. Rather than mourning the end of this chapter, give your pretties new life by turning them into new items.

Even with minimal sewing skills, and materials that you have lying around the house, you can repurpose the nappy materials by turning them into a variety of useful items.

You could turn your nappies into breast pads, bibs, cloth pads, doll nappies, food covers/saver, teeny wetbags and more!

Want to grab yourself some FREE patterns to make your own breast pads, bibs or doll nappy? Grab your free patterns and sewing instructions here!

4. Responsibly dispose of them

Textiles that are made from natural materials can be returned to the earth to create resources. This includes natural fibre inserts that are made from cotton, bamboo and hemp.

Natural, biodegradable fabrics include:

  • Cotton
  • Silk
  • Wool
  • Cashmere
  • Hemp
  • Bamboo
  • Linen

Non-biodegradable fabrics, basically anything that is manufactured and synthetic can't be composted.

This includes:

  • Polyester (Including PUL)
  • Spandex
  • Nylon
  • Rayon

These textiles eventually break down, but it can take up to 200 years. Instead of adding your PUL to landfill, why not use one of our free patterns to repurpose the material into something new!

 

The general rule of thumb: if it is natural it can compost.

 

How to compost textiles

Shred em': Start off by getting the size down, you can cut things into little squares or just rip them into strands. They'll break down quicker, and you can scatter the pieces evenly.

Remove anything that won't biodegrade: This includes any plastic snaps and tags, metals such as buttons and zippers, and you can keep them for repairs.

Use a hot compost for faster results: Ok, hot compost involves a little more love and attention. Consider hot composting the 'levelling up', but if you're keen on textile composting it is worth it. Hot composting can break down matter within 18 days.

Add worm friends to your compost: Worms are your best friends when it comes to composting. They produce some of the best fertiliser on the planet and are super efficient at processing organic waste.

 

Sources: Gardening Australia, 1 Million Women, Sustainability Victoria

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