Our response to the article ‘Aussie parents are getting wiped out by the great nappy battle’ published in the Sunday Telegraph on Sunday 17th of August: 

While it was interesting to see Elimination Communication being mentioned as an alternative to disposable nappies, it was quite surprising that no mention was made of the increasing number of parents turning to reusable nappies due to cost and environmental concerns with disposable nappies.

According to CHOICE Magazine’s 2012 nappy survey (1), while 95% of parents used disposable nappies all or some of the time, 18% of their respondents used modern cloth nappies at least some of the time, indicating that ‘modern’ styles of reusable nappies have become a viable option for many parents.

The environmental impact of cloth nappies was mentioned briefly, but a useful study that could have been referenced is the research carried out by University of Queensland in 2009 (2) that determined that cloth nappies use less energy and raw materials to produce and use than disposable nappies, and that (in spite of all that washing) water resource depletion was about the same between the two. And, of course, much more solid waste was created by disposable nappies.

The Australian Nappy Association was created to help provide accurate and up to date information about reusable nappies for parents as well as the wider community. It is a pity that, so often, the media representation of cloth nappies involves old fashioned terry squares, pins and plastic pants, when there is an entire amazing Australian industry leading the world in innovation and design of modern reusable nappy styles. Today’s cloth nappies are easy to use and care for, and come with a range of benefits, from sustainability and cost savings, to reduced waste and exposure to chemicals.

These growing Australian businesses may not have the advertising budget of a company like Huggies, but the individuals involved have a passion to provide Australian parents with choice, and the increasing popularity of modern cloth nappies is a testament to their success.

If you’d like more information about the Australian cloth nappy industry, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have knowledgable individuals and business owners who are available for interviews, or to provide a more informal look at modern cloth nappies and why they are becoming so popular.


Kate O’Brien, Rachel Olive, Yu-Chieh Hsu, Luke Morris, Richard Bell and Nick Kendall
Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane 2009