The Economics of Reusable Nappies!

In the ongoing quest for sustainable living and cost-effective parenting, the debate between reusable and disposable nappies is gaining traction. While both options serve the same purpose, their economic and environmental implications differ significantly. Let’s delve into the fascinating realm of “Nappy Economics” to uncover the financial and ecological impacts of this everyday parenting choice.

Why Choose Reusable Nappies?

By opting for reusable nappies, parents stand to save over a third of their money, totaling around £540 per baby, compared to the £1,400 cost of disposable nappies. Additionally, this switch contributes to significant environmental preservation efforts.  

For nurseries like Tops Day Nurseries, the cost of changing to reusable diapers is similar but on a grand scale. They are taking care of multiple children at the same time for long periods of time making the change a much larger initial investment but also generating a larger impact on the environment. As this change is of such a scale there are additional costs that parents do not have to incur, but also some savings. The purchase of the diapers can be made in bulk to get the cost down and the installation of the small shower heads can be done by the nursery’s maintenance team or a trusted contractor.

Washing Reusable Nappies:

Little Lamb expects their reusable diapers to last 400 washes, 400 changes. Reusable diapers last 400 times longer than disposable ones, and their cost should be distributed over those 400 uses. Since the nursery cares for multiple generations of children, the diapers serve throughout their entire lifespan, adapting to each baby’s growth with different sizes.

With Little Lamb’s complete kit new parents would have 15 fitted cloth nappies, 5 wraps, and all they need to take care of their children. Parents can ensure they have an ample supply of nappies for more than a couple of days, enabling them to run a full load in the washing machine every two to three days as the baby progresses in potty training. Since their child will grow before they can take advantage of the 400 changes in each diaper, they can resell them or use them on their siblings helping them with the cost.

When deciding to launch this sustainability project, Tops Day Nurseries had a unique opportunity. They had a new location for a new nursery that had a garden, a garage and the building for the nursery. The garage’s size and location made it ideal for the chain’s first laundry hub. Before opening, we needed to carry out renovations on the property, presenting us with the chance to operate a more sustainable business. We installed solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system to supply natural power and water for both the nursery and the laundry hub, maximising the use of available natural resources. To convert the garage into a laundry hub, we installed multiple washing machines and drying cabinets, ensuring a thorough cleaning of the diapers and preparing them for reuse.


Staff at Tops Day Nurseries wholeheartedly embraced the shift to reusable diapers, witnessing firsthand the daily waste generation. The children themselves encountered no issues with the change, aside from more frequent changes, occurring every two hours instead of three. Additionally, the transition yielded two unexpected benefits: the increased volume of reusable diapers allowed younger babies to fall on their bottoms without harm.

This heightened volume and reduced comfort also motivated children to become potty trained more eagerly than those using disposable diapers. Consequently, children in reusable diapers at Tops Day Nurseries achieve potty training earlier than the three-year-old average associated with disposable diapers. One inconvenience of this added volume is the size of clothes for the children, if they are wearing tight jeans the reusable diaper might not fit. But children are always growing so additional sizes and more flexible bottoms like leggings are always available

Posted in: General