It’s been while since the Eco-Lie outbreak began, and it appears that humanity still has no cure in sight. The sights of today’s post are set on Sainsbury’s and their Little Ones Eco Nappy range.
For me, to put the word ‘eco’ on a disposable nappy is wrong. Let’s face it, the only true eco nappy would be one that doesn’t exist at all – but we can all imagine the consequences of that! The fact of the matter is that to stop new parents being swamped in a deluge of nasty stuff, we need nappies.
Having had two children myself, I’m a bit of an authority on nappies, but I’m also no eco-angel: I’ve used the lot: reusable nappies, ‘natural’ disposable nappies, huggies (once) pampers (twice) and even a tea towel fastened with a safety pin (a one-off emergency measure). And yes; I’ve also used my fair share of Sainsbury’s Little Ones nappies (hangs head in shame). The huggies and pampers are horrible, plastic, chemical filled things that I only used because a friend lent me them when I was caught short. I used washable cloth nappies for my first child (lift head in pride), but just didn’t have the time or space to do the same with the second (re-hang head in shame).
I’m not going to get into the ‘which nappy is best’ debate. Suffice it to say that plenty of research has been done and the results show that reusable nappies are, by far, the most planet-friendly and wallet-friendly option. Plus, the more children you have, the better value they become. You can read a different article I wrote on the subject here.
Disposable nappies, though, are a menace to the environment: they use up valuable resources to manufacture, can take up to 200 years to decompose and 90% of them end up in landfill. Does this sound eco to you? Now I’m sure these Little Ones nappies are an improvement on the above, but not so much that they merit being called ‘eco’.
Sainsbury’s say their eco nappies use a minimum of 60% plant-based material, but I’m sorry, they shouldn’t be going anywhere near the word ‘eco’ until that’s up to at least 99.7%. I do know of a brand of nappies that come in compostable packaging, but do these ones? Nope. It’s polyethylene all the way on this eco-friendly product.
Are they alone?
Just so Sainsbury’s don’t feel hard done by, I thought I’d have a look at the other supermarkets and see what name they give their own range of eco nappies. Do they try and fool us too?
Asda: Yep, just as I suspected, they’ve pulled a fast one and called them Adsa Eco Nappies. They’ve had to recall them though due to a complaint about the materials used – very eco, well done Asda.
Tesco: They don’t have their own eco brand of nappies. I did notice, though, that next to the description of its Value disposable nappy, Tesco inform us about the nappy’s carbon footprint. Now I hate to sound snobbish here, but I’m going to anyway: do you really think that the people who buy Tesco Value nappies care about the environment? No, I don’t think so…
Morrisons: Not sure, as they don’t have an online shop (how last decade) and I couldn’t be bothered to go in a store to have a look.
So then, it’s not only Sainsbury’s who try and fob off the environmentally conscious (but very busy) parent, with a disposable eco nappy, Asda do it too.
Staying on the subject of Asda for a minute: one other thing that came up during my eco nappy hunt was the Asda Little Angels Eco Nappy Sacks… What?!!! Eco nappy sacks? You have got to be joking! There’s no need for nappy sacks at all: it’s a complete waste of resources to use an individual plastic bag for each nappy that you end up putting into that giant plastic bag… called a bin. Here’s what Asda say, “We have added a special ingredient which helps this product degrade 30 times faster than a normal nappy sack, protecting the planet for your little angel.” Oh, so that’s just 33 years for these eco nappy bags to degrade then, well that’s fine – what a wonderful eco-friendly product.
In summary then…
I’m aware that Sainsbury’s aren’t the only company to stock eco disposables, but they are the ones who I’m picking on today (Asda just happened to get in the firing line). While I do applaud any attempt to make a product less damaging to the environment, this doesn’t detract from the validity of the statement that eco disposables are an oxymoron. Nothing that’s used in such massive numbers as nappies and is also disposable can be at one with the ecosystem. Again, this is a blatant attempt by the marketing men to sell more products on the back of our guilt over killing the planet.
There’s nothing really wrong with using these nappies, as they are a better option than some. But please, please don’t be fooled into thinking they are good for the environment, they are not. You can find much better alternatives out there.
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