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Comeback of washable nappies

By Simonne Pace, Times of Malta

Article published 6th October 2019:

These days, thanks to modern technology, reusable cloth nappies are worn just like disposables, keep your baby protected and wash and dry really well. Simonne Pace meets Brenda Grech, mother and founder of The Cloth Nappy Company, who says cloth nappies are better for wallet, baby and planet.

The Cloth Nappy Company Sunday Times of Malta article 2019

It is not often that an eco-friendly pro­duct is cheaper and better than the mass-market alternative.

In the case of reusable cloth nappies it is, and the environmental benefits are huge. By adopting cloth nappies, one can help reduce some of the 450 billion disposables going into landfills every year.

Each disposable nappy takes over 500 years to biodegrade. Using cloth nappies will have a massive effect on the reduction of single-use plastic, as well as the volume of waste hitting our landfills yearly.

After using modern cloth nappies for her own baby daughter Esme and experiencing first hand the long list of benefits they offer, Brenda Grech was inspired to launch The Cloth Nappy Company – making reusable cloth nappies available locally.

“The last few months of my life have brought about numerous changes, all for the better,” the company’s founder says. An architect and civil engineer by profession, the young entrepreneur moved to the UK in 2011 to pursue a master’s degree in construction project management. She came back to Malta earlier this year before the birth of her daughter.

The 32-year-old’s adventure started when she first came across reusable cloth nappies through friends in the UK and wanted to give it a go. She has now been using them for six months and has never looked back.

“Coming to Malta, I realised reusable cloth nappies weren’t available here. After receiving such a positive response from people when they saw our daughter wearing them, we decided to set up shop,” says Brenda.

Apart from stocking a large variety of reusable cloth nappies, the company also holds monthly talks and attends a number of events, trying to establish a community to make sure that anyone who wants to use cloth nappies can do so with ease.

But isn’t washing cloth nappies harder work in this modern age?

“The answer is clearly no. If you use disposables, you need to dispose of the dirty nappies by throwing them in a bin. Once that bin is full, you have to take it out for collection and eventual disposal in a landfill. If you use cloth nappies, you place them in a bucket. When that bucket is full, you pop it in the washing machine. It’s not any different to washing clothes. And that’s not too much work, otherwise we would all be wearing disposable clothes!”

The young mother has it all worked out. “On average, a baby goes through eight nappies a day until they are potty trained. This amounts to €1,200 worth of disposable nappies. Cloth nappies cost €635 in total. This includes accessories (€45), nappy liners (€140) and detergent (€90).

“You’ll make a saving of over €500 when using cloth nappies, and that is just on the first child. Of course, you can reuse them for your next child,” she explains.

As any parent does, Brenda wants the very best for her daughter. “Cloth nappies are great for our babies as they do not contain any of the harsh chemicals used in disposables, and the materials used to make cloth nappies, such as bamboo or cotton, are very kind to babies’ sensitive skin. In fact, I have not had to use any nappy cream on my baby as these gentle cloth nappies do not irritate her skin.”

Cloth nappies are not a new concept. Our grandparents have all used the old-style cloth nappies. The Cloth Company brings the modern version with re­newed energy and focus. “As environmental awareness grows, we believe now is the right time to introduce modern cloth nappies in Malta.”

The extensive choice of delightful prints on the cloth nappies also turns this normally mundane aspect of parenting to a much more colourful experience. There’s something for everyone, from dinosaurs to pineapples, ice creams, whales and stripes. Those who prefer more mellow designs can opt for nappies in plain white or pastels. Choosing a handful for your collection will be a challenge.

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