My Green Nappy Discovering Modern Cloth Nappies and Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies

October 21, 2009

How to Reduce Your Disposable Nappy Waste – Empty them!

Filed under: Mama * Earth * Kids — charndra @ 1:36 pm

Did you know one disposable a day can have your garden looking like ours?

Did you know you can empty your wet disposable nappies straight into the garden?

Those little beads are GREAT for water retention. Yes, those little crystals that leak out of broken parts of disposable nappies and suck up huge volumes of wee are the same gel crystals that you can buy to add to your soil to make it more drought tolerant.

We’ve been doing this, and our garden was HUGE, right in the middle of water restrictions. The crystals absorbed the water when it rained and then released it, so the plants had less shock. The urea, ammonia, minerals from the urine act as a gentle fertiliser:
Freaking Out Much? I’m doing this with MY baby’s nappy – not yours – it’s no different than thinking about changing someone else’s baby’s pooey nappy – yech! But emptying your own baby’s nappy is as nothing…

You wash your hands afterwards – of course. You dig it in a bit, chuck mulch or paper straw on top. Done! To step on it is squigey and gross, though, LOL.

As we also do Baby Pottying and use modern cloth, we have fewer disposables (and I use eco brands) – so I empty them once a week into the garden. I rip them open, shake the contents out, chuck the remains in the bin, and feel good that the pulp and gels and water-waste is going to good use in the garden!

I’ve discovered that ‘watering’ the nappy first (as half of it is usually still bone dry) means that it falls out easily as it has soaked up all the water. I have even poured the ‘worm tea’, with is the drainings from the worm farm, into a bucket, filled it and poured THAT on the nappy before emptying it for a super boost to the garden! And nary a smell, not ever. For hygiene any ‘messy nappies’ are NOT put in the garden, but wet ones – they are no different to using animal manure on the garden.

See the difference in waste generated when you empty a disposable nappy and use the biodegradable parts to improve your garden:


  1. That is one of the best ideas I have heard in regards to disposable nappies! I love it, and I would never have thought of it myself. We are full-time cloth users, but it is inevitable that we do require some disposables, especially when travelling or sick. This idea will certainly make me feel better about using even that limited amount of disposables. Do you use this on your vegies and fruit trees, as well as ornamentals?

    Comment by Sara Reid — March 12, 2010 @ 3:13 pm

  2. Wow, what a great idea! I don’t have a garden, but I can use it for my balcony plants, which I always forget to water.

    Comment by Tat — April 3, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

  3. Do you recommend only doing this with eco-disposable nappies or is it safe to do with all brands?

    Comment by Evie — April 7, 2010 @ 9:19 am

  4. Hi Evie,
    We empty our regular disposables too. It feels particularly good to do that! Some folks just rip them open and sprinkle them under their bushes. We have a new garden bed we are building up for Spring, I am emptying the disposable nappies we use into there – it’ll be amazing for keeping a steady water supply for the plants later on.

    Comment by Charndra — April 7, 2010 @ 10:20 am

  5. Thanks for that link, Evie, I think I’ll be doing a bit more research, though I do know of a number of folks who do use the stuff on their gardens, and mixing it with manure was a good idea too. I expect if we think about THAT too much we’d also freak out, LOL.

    I had a read and yikes! Although, it was still a lot of ‘possibly’ and I’m not that sure that our babies are riddled with disease and worms… Plus, when we know what is used in ice-cream, you never want to eat it ever again!

    It was really useful to know about the origin of the gels, in terms of being petro-chemical based, and you know, when we have trialled it in potted plants we have had some plants die off in the very hot weather – I wondered if perhaps the gel was sucking all the moisture out in that particular circumstance and the poor plant perished!

    Comment by Charndra — April 8, 2010 @ 7:11 am

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