make it more sustainable? Start with timely toilet training of children

The actual price of a (disposable) nappy is quite a bit higher than the retail price: If you look at the impact that a disposable nappy has to produce and process, such a nappy costs 15 øre more per The so-called ‘true price’, real price. Do you really want to make an impact? Put timely toilet training (at 2 to 2.5 years) at the top of the agenda. Also in childcare.

That call is made by the Future Diaper Project, which offers a ‘real price (true price) calculation’ into disposable diapers and washable diapers in collaboration with True Price and the municipality of Amsterdam.

The True Price study shows that the hidden costs for a disposable diaper are 6 cents and for a washable diaper 4.6 cents. If you add the costs for waste treatment, the real price is approximately 15 øre extra per disposable nappy.

Timely toilet training

According to the Future Diaper Project, if we want a more sustainable diaper supply chain, we need to start toilet training on time. When children, for example, become toilet trained at 2 to 2.5 years old instead of 3.5 years old, you already save about 20 percent in relation to diaper use, costs and impact on the environment. Choosing washable diapers is also a more sustainable option: ‘A family that uses washable diapers has a more than 30 percent lower TruePrice and even more than 60 percent if you look at the total cost of environmental impacts and waste charges. It is also better to use washable diapers part time than just using disposable diapers. One to two days a week, this scenario also saves 20 to 25 percent of the amount of plastic disposable diaper waste. In particular, the low consumption of raw materials compared to disposable diapers and thus avoiding the mountain of waste is decisive for the sustainable decision’, states the Future Diaper Project.

Good to know

A few side notes:

  • If the washable diaper is used for another child, and if the electricity for washing is purchased sustainably, a washable diaper is an even more sustainable choice.
  • The use of so-called new born washable diapers (a separate small size washable diaper for the first 2 to 3 months) is not more sustainable than disposable diapers in the same period: the production of (cotton) washable diapers for a short period has a more negative impact than the use of disposable diapers.
  • The effect of drying the washable diapers was also taken into account in the study: the choice of drying method (tumble dryer or line drying) has a great influence on the environmental results. Drying with tumble dryers increases the environmental impact to a level comparable to disposable nappies. The choice of sustainable energy also plays a role here.

Organic diapers

The study also shows that the differences between organic diapers (which consist of 40 percent bio-based plastic) and the conventional 80 percent oil-based disposable diapers are small: the bio-based diapers only have such a production and processing capacity of 5 percent. less impact on the environment, because the conversion of plant materials (such as corn and sugar beet) into (bio)plastics also has a big impact.

Rather potty trained most durable

So while there are more sustainable options when it comes to diaper use, getting kids out of diapers earlier is still the most effective way to reduce the impact on the environment (and your wallet, including childcare). Nathan Volkers of the Future Diaper Project says: ‘For nurseries and daycare providers, this report highlights the importance of early toilet training as one of the high-impact sustainability strategies. Nurseries and daycare centers can save themselves (20-25% on their diaper use) as a result, but they are also of great importance to the families: behind every daycare place there are 2-2.5 families. And although daycare centers hesitate to play an active role in toilet training in daycare centers, they can actively communicate about it and encourage parents to get started in good time. It is a very concrete and effective interpretation of sustainability.’

Presentation results

Specifically for childcare professionals, the results of this TruePrice survey will be presented online on Thursday, November 24, 2022 from 14.00 to 14.45. Can’t participate? The presentation will be recorded so you can watch it afterwards. Click here for more information and registration >>

Washable diapers dirty and clumsy? It’s not that bad. In the daycare centers Villa Valentijn Middelburg and Villa Valentijn Den Haag, the children don’t know any better: 95 percent wear a washable bamboo nappy at daycare. ‘It was a bit of a change for both the educational staff and the parents, but it was worth it,’ say daily manager Annemieke Blansjaar and Michelle Bostelaar, manager of the location in Middelburg. Read more

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