MUMMedia | Parenting & Popular Culture

The Cost Of Convenience – Is It Really Worth It?

disposable nappies vs modern cloth nappies

The amount of disposable nappies used from birth to toilet training.

As a society we have become obsessed with convenience. After all we’re busy, stressed and time poor and ‘need’ to embrace modern alternatives right? As mother’s, convenience has to be a priority for our sanity, doesn’t it?

Disposable nappies and wipes were once marketed as being a modern alternative for mum’s who were happy to trade in the drudgery of washing cloth for the pure convenience of  throwing them in the bin. Advertisements failed to reveal that this convenience was expensive, potentially harmful to babies health and had ghastly effects on the environment. Mum’s became blissfully unaware that this convenience came at a price. Many happily relinquished personal responsibility for these effects and turned a blind eye. This is easy to do when a lifestyle or product choice becomes popular. If ‘everyone’ is doing it then it can’t be that bad, right?

The danger of going with the flow is that the mainstream of industry and popular culture can take us all sorts of directions that we don’t want to go

Sometimes going with the flow contradicts our value systems. It’s only when we stop to think, to question and to research that we realize how much our culture influences how we think and feel.

The cost to our environment

landfill nappies

“In Australia, 800 million single-use nappies from domestic waste systems are delivered to landfill sites for disposal annually” – Australian nappy network

Not ONE disposable nappy ever made has biodegraded. They are sitting with festering poo, bacteria and toxic chemicals in landfill which eventually can leach into our water systems causing even more damage to our health and well being.

We have a long way to go as a society before we are convinced of our need to choose eco-friendly over convenience. We need a complete mindset change that “we” are not the centre of the universe and therefore our personal convenience should not be  priority.

It’s also worth considering what we are living behind for future generations to deal with.

The cost to our health


Chemicals in disposable nappies – read more

Disposable nappies and wipes are convenient but they must be used with extreme caution. Companies are aware that in small amounts these chemicals alone are unlikely to cause harm which means they can continue to use them without fear of liability. The danger is not in using one disposable nappy, it’s in the accumulative effect of these chemicals in our kids’ bodies over a prolonged period of time. It is worth considering alternatives.

Some studies are even looking at links between declining fertility in males and the rise of testicular cancer and the use of disposable nappies.

The cost to our finances

Did you know putting a baby in disposable nappies from birth to toilet training is around $3500 including wipes? This means I potentially could have spent $14,000 on nappies for my 4 kids (within 6 years!). I can think of lots of things I’d rather spend that amount on!

Convenience comes at price, literally. We pay more for convenience. Anything that is disposable be it nappies or paper plates and serviettes costs more than re-usable options.

Companies have done a fantastic job in marketing convenience without consequence and we have all bought into it

It’s normal and socially acceptable to choose convenient options without considering the consequences.  We are beginning to forget that there are much better alternatives out there. We are even beginning to forget that there ARE alternatives. I admit it didn’t occur to me that once upon a time parents used to toilet train their children without the use of disposable training pants!

If we are trying to live simply and frugally then ditching anything disposable is a great start toward saving money!

Convenience comes at a cost.  Is it worth it?

Consider the alternatives – Disposable nappies vs modern cloth

Tara Force

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Comments ( 5 )

Have Something To Say ?

  1. Rachelle October 5, 2011 Reply

    What a great article – very well written, an enjoyable read.
    Isn’t it funny how those of us who choose reusable over convenienceare seen as the alternative. People constantly expect me to justify why I have made the choices that I have. Shouldn’t it be those who use disposable items that should have to justify their choice?
    What a mixed up society we live in.

  2. Liaa October 5, 2011 Reply

    So true. I confess to using a mix of disposables and modern cloth nappies but I am trying to move toward full time as my stash increases. I can see that subsequent babies will be much more cloth bummed than not. Overall I have been hugely surprised at how easy and barely time consuming cloth nappies are. To the skeptics I say just buy one modern cloth nappyand try it… You will be supporting local business (often! Look around the web for a while!) and if you hate it then you can sell it on eBay or similar second hand.

  3. admin October 6, 2011 Reply

    Rachelle, It is really funny we can be considered alternative…I like to think we’re the normal ones! ;)

    Liaa, Don’t feel bad about using disposables when you need to! It’s more understanding what the implications are of our product choices and then using the knowledge to make an informed choice. I don’t think many mum’s really stop to think before they use disposables and that’s really what I’m trying to get at…just creating awareness not make anyone feel guilty! And I totally agree, MCN’s were so much easier than I thought!

  4. Jenny October 7, 2011 Reply

    Great article! It really puts it into perspective. I make a conscious effort to consider the environment in my choices so cloth nappies was always a must but there are other areas I can improve on for sure. I like the point about how advertising sells us convenience without consequences as ALL of our choices have consequences and more parents need to be educated instead of blindly trusting greedy corporations for good advice.

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