Do I go green or save on nappies?

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Naomi Caine

Naomi CaineI spend a fortune on disposable nappies. I have worked out that my nappy bill is about £10 a week, or £520 a year – and that’s a lot of money.

Perhaps I could make some savings on nappies if I choose a different brand?

I buy ‘green’ nappies for my little one from the Nature Babycare range. They are not completely biodegradable, but they are eco-friendly and reassuringly Swedish. Plus, the packaging is stylish and looks good in the downstairs loo.

But all this eco-friendliness doesn’t come cheap. A pack of 28 Nature Babycare nappies in size 5 costs £6.49 in Mothercare, which works out at 23p a nappy. They are more expensive in Boots, at £6.88, or 24.5p each.

Nappy deals

Now, if I were to buy a jumbo pack of 68 Junior Pampers Simply Dry for £10, I would pay only 15p per nappy. Or, I could try Huggies Super Dry and get 63 nappies for £11.98, which is 19p each. And if I was willing to brave the audible gasps of horror from the local mummy mafia, I could plump for Tesco Baby Essentials and pay only 14p a nappy, saving about £4 a week.

Cost of nappiesI have also noticed that my eco-nappies are rarely on offer. Yet if I switched to another brand, I would be a fool to ever pay full price. For example, Tesco is currently doing a deal on Huggies Super Dry so cost-conscious mums can buy two packs for £19, instead of £23.96. The offer brings the price per nappy down to 15p.

In Boots, I could pick up two mega boxes of Pampers for £30, down from the normal retail price of £37.98. The deal means I would pay 17p per nappy. I also regularly receive money-off vouchers for nappies, but never for Nature Babycare nappies.

Nappy availability

Then there’s the problem of availability. My local Tesco sells landfill loads of nappies, except eco-friendly nappies. I can order them at Tesco online, but not in a size 5. The nearest Boots sells Nature Babycare products, though the range is also limited. Mothercare is miles away and I have not once found the bigger sizes on the shelves. Waitrose is often my saviour, in nappies as in all things. My local branch has a good stock of Nature Babycare nappies, usually around the £6.50 mark.

Still, it’s easier to find Nature Babycare nappies than it is to find some of the other green brands. I used to buy Moltex Oko until I could bear the trek to the nearest stockist no more. They are available online, but the cost is high at £9.50 for 34 nappies, which works out at nearly 28p a nappy – and that’s before any delivery charge.

What’s a mum to do? I want to save the planet, I really do. But I also want to save money. I suppose I could buy ‘real’ nappies, but surely the endless washing would bump up my carbon emissions?

Maybe it’s time for the potty.

To see the week’s best deals on nappies, take a look at the Best Buys table from MyFamilyClub; we do the research and tell you where to get hold of your essentials for the cheapest prices each week.

Naomi Caine was editor of The Sunday Times Money section for six years before she moved out of London to bring up a young family. She now juggles two children with a freelance career, and has written for a variety of publications, including MSN, Yahoo, The Times, The Sunday Times, Which? Money, Money Week and The Sunday Herald.