Are washable nappies better for the environment?

Yes. Eight million disposables nappies are thrown out every day. This accounts for four percent of all household rubbish.

For every £1 spent on disposables, it costs the taxpayer 10p to dispose them.

Recycling figures for household waste have improved, but England still lags well behind countries such as Germany that have all but eliminated waste streams to landfill.

Modern re-usable nappies are easy to find and by using them you are helping to reduce the volume of waste - see our Lifestyle section.

Savings from using re-useable nappies on a first child can be as much as £600, with a set of re-useable nappies with simple Velcro fastenings.

For more information, contact the Real Nappy Information Service, the Women's Environmental Network (who run the Real Nappy Week) or see our Nappy facts advice.

Friends of the Earth's advice is to use washable nappies - but to follow the Environment Agency's washing top tips:

  • only flush liners containing bowel movements
  • use low-temperature detergents
  • buy more nappies initially and wash full loads
  • don't use fabric softener
  • look at the label and try washing at a lower temperature
  • air dry rather than tumble dry where possible
  • purchase electricity on a green tariff

You may choose to use disposables at first - while you are getting to grips with looking after your baby, or for when you are away from home.

Using unbleached nappies for times like these reduces the environmental impact of their production.

Washable nappies are more environmentally friendly than disposables because they produce less waste and there is more scope to reduce their environmental impact.