In a world of fast fashion, it can be easy to forget the impact that cheap clothing is having on our environment and on those people involved in the production. Thinking about where clothing items have come from and the production chain before it reaching your hands can be eye opening.
I know I’m guilty of forgetting this myself, just focusing on the bargain to be had instead of the short life span that these items tend to have before heading to the landfill. But when around 4% of New Zealand’s landfill waste (or around 100 million kilograms each year) is from textiles alone we need to consider our purchases and how these will impact on the world we leave to our children.
Many families choose to use cloth nappies to reduce the amount of rubbish they’re sending to landfill in an effect to protect our environment. By investing in good quality cloth nappies that can be used and passed on to a number of babies, the negative effects of disposables on the environment is even less.
Environmental and social responsibility aren’t mutually exclusive, we need to think about where our nappies have come from as much as we think about what we’ll do with them when we’re finished with them.
Here at Bubblebubs our nappies are ethically made in China. Vicki the owner of Bubblebubs started out sewing the nappies herself at home in Australia but quickly found she was unable to keep up with demand. As she was unable to find a manufacturer in Australia that could produce nappies at the volume needed, and at a cost that wouldn’t make them out of reach for most people to purchase. This led her to finding manufacturers in China that aligned with her values and where she knew that the people making her products would be treated well.
Vicki has made a number of visits to the factories making Bubblebubs products to meet the managers and employees and to check that the conditions they are working in meet the high expectations. The Bubblebubs factories are in ‘country China’ (not quite the same as the country we know!) away from the big cities. This means that employees can stay closer to home to work and not have to move into factory apartments in big cities. Some employees are couples and are able to work over different shifts allowing them to take care of their children.
One story to come from our factories that we love, is when a mum found a coin sewn inside one of her Candies shells. It was a Chinese Yuan that was put inside by one of the employees during manufacturing for good luck at Chinese New Year. How cool is that?!
While Chinese cheapies do mean that more people choose cloth nappies than might have otherwise, it is also important to know that some brands of cloth nappies are just rebranded Chinese nappies that are created by picking and choosing features from a guide and sold at inflated prices. Others are standard Chinese cheapies that are exactly the same design but have different brand labels put on. So be aware of what you’re paying for – the quality of the product and where it’s come from – but also keep in mind that you’re not paying overly inflated prices for something that you could get elsewhere for a much lower price.
When choosing cloth nappies check for the origin of them and how/where they’re made. Read reviews and if you can’t find this information on brand websites, ask questions. While cheap cloth nappies can work, they’re usually not made in an ethical way, so if this is important to you do some research so you’re not caught out purchasing something that is not necessarily what it seems.
Wondering if it’s too late to start using cloth nappies on your little one? In short, it’s never too late! Read on to find out why using cloth nappies is a great decision for your baby and the environment, no matter when you start.