Monday, 6 June 2011

The Importance of Eco-Friendly Nappies and What Frugi Means to Kids, Parents, and the Planet

Once upon a time, Lucy and Kurt Jewson had a little baby boy named Tom. The young parents decided to put their little one in cloth nappies to avoid adding incredible amounts of plastic waste to landfills. Now, that turned out to be easy enough, but when it came to finding clothing to fit over his lovely but big clothy bum, they could not find any. So they decided to fill this gap and founded Cut4Cloth - now known as Frugi. And what did we end up with? The world’s softest, most durable, wearable, clothbumfitting, and fairly traded fun organic clothing for kids and mummies. Thanks to Lucy and Kurt and their determination to help save the planet, we are now very, very happy Mummies – and have very happy little ones. But before we tell you more about Frugi, let’s take a quick look at the start of it all: cloth nappies.

There are undeniable advantages to using cloth nappies, for our children as well as our eco-system, which in turn helps us all, the most important factor being, of course, the strikingly smaller amount of waste that piles up on landfills. Most cloth nappies consist of natural fibers – while some are also made from micro-fibres - and are produced without added (nasty!)chemicals, which helps protect the planet and our children’s delicate skin. Moreover, cloth nappies are incredibly durable and can thus be used by multiple children before showing any serious wear. Contrary to the popular received stereotype, cloth nappies, when used with appropriate nappy covers, often have fewer leaks than disposables and thus save some laundry from piling up, balancing the time and energy it takes to wash the nappies themselves. As if those advantages weren’t enough in themselves, the use of cloth nappies also saves quite a lot of money, compared to the daily use of disposable diapers.
When Charley, one of Frugi’s current crusaders, found out she was pregnant, she was horrified about the amount of nappies she would have to throw away. “It was the thought of continuously adding to the land fill! And cloth nappies are sooo soft, so they must feel nicer on the skin and be less abrasive without all the chemicals! They are made from renewable sources, and I love that my wraps are very bright and colourful, and a yellow bum can brighten up my day!”So you thought cloth nappies were long rectangular pieces of cloth wrapped around baby’s bums, possibly even held in place by two safety pins? Well, think again!

Helen W. with her children Abigail and Oscar in their lovely cloth nappies

Compared to a couple of decades ago, there is now quite a competitive market for cloth nappies: they are offered in different materials and designs for different uses. One of the most recent innovations is the bamboo nappy, made from that wonderfully renewable material, but there are also nappies made from cotton, hemp, and many other materials! In terms of technical design, there are all-in-one nappies that have been described by our crusaders as ideal for being out and about – as well as two-part nappies that are often assigned a certain added reliability. If you’re looking for a way to use cloth but cut a few corners, there are also new kinds of hybrid nappies: a cloth shell with a disposable, biodegradable inlay. This system provides some of the advantages of cloth nappies - no plastic, chemicals, less waste, better for delicate skin - while still providing some of the convenience of a disposable, as you can throw away the messy part with less guilt and less washing. If you want to give cloth nappies a try – and please do! - we would be more than happy to help you find the right kind of cloth nappies for your specific needs and the store that sells them.


However, it is plain to see that disposables are here to stay and, for many, are the only option for nappies they will consider. Much as breast vs. bottles, the matter of cloth vs. disposable nappies is a huge debate. Making the commitment to using cloth is a much a lifestyle choice as is breastfeeding. For some, cloth nappies can seem a bit daunting, but it seems that this weary attitude is based more on false expectations than on actual reality, as, once you’re in a routine, using cloth really is no problem whatsoever. On the contrary, it actually is a good feeling, every time you put a cloth nappy on your child, to know that you are protecting both your child and the planet.
However, if you are not comfortable with the thought of using cloth, if you are convinced it wouldn’t fit your lifestyle, just know that this does not mean you have to go for the chemically bleached, fragranced, plastic disposable. In fact, you can still contribute to protecting the planet without any added effort whatsoever. How? The answer is: eco-disposables! They are a brilliant medium that make a great difference, if you consider that, instead of producing a ton of plastic in waste (seriously, every disposable-wearing baby creates an average of one ton of waste to add to landfills just in nappies alone!), that ton would be made from un-bleached, biodegradable components. Even if your waste is incinerated, it is still important to use eco-disposables as their manufacturing process doesn't involve the terrible chemical gels that are used to produce regular disposables. Even for some of us using cloth nappies, eco-disposables do admittedly add a degree of convenience in exceptional times when one is away from the washing machine for extended periods of time, such as during travels. Many have no choice but to use them in their children’s nurseries. While some of us have mixed feelings about having to use disposables at all, the important thing is: if it has to be a disposable nappy, it should ALWAYS be an eco-friendly one!  Eco-disposables provide the same handling and convenience, but the result is future-changing! Just think about the difference you can make without any effort! Couldn’t be easier to help the planet, now could it? If you need any information on where to find great eco-disposables, we’d be more than happy to point you in the right direction, wherever you may live! The more people buy eco, the more commonly available they will become and, in turn, the more people will buy them. In fact, as Libby Ray, one of our crusaders, is wondering: “Why aren’t all disposables eco-friendly ones? It would be so easy, as they give new parents the convenience they're looking for without the huge environmental impact!”

The wish to reduce the environmental impact of modern parenthood was the spark that started Frugi and has remained at the core of Frugi’s mission: to provide all-natural, non-toxic, fairly-traded children’s clothing to fit over any kind of nappy. Some of our favorite items made by Frugi over the years are the vests, leggings, cords (with turn-ups), and the already legendary snuggle fleeces. They are hard-wearing, trendy, and comfortable to wear, so cosy, and flexible for play-time, brilliantly washable, and the colours are - and stay - lovely. Their fit has been generous: especially the bottoms fit for what feels like forever, and some of the clothing that is cut for cloth-nappies can even make a comeback after the child is out of nappies. But Frugi doesn’t just make children’s clothing: Their breastfeeding range is amazing!

Will in his beloved snuggle fleece

While some of us crusaders knew Frugi in their early Cut4Cloth days, others have only known their matured Frugi line. Motivations may differ, but, once discovered, Frugi gets mummies hooked for so many reasons. Frugi crusader Helen, who stumbled across Frugi years ago, first thought: “Finally a company that appreciates the needs of cloth users - and that looks bloomin' nice too! Our children can wear organic clothes and be comfortable and fashionable at the same time. Frugi clothes last, we've done several children with some vests and the abuse they can take is brilliant, wash after wash and no pilling or going out of shape :-)”
Similarly, internet searching for 'trousers to fit cloth nappies' led Charley to Frugi and the rest is history. She was and still is “so pleased, as I now have a lovely selection of good quality clothes that look great and have a moral tag to them too. I have to say initially, I did think they were a bit expensive, and I focused on the trousers to start with and trial. My opinion has totally changed and we now have all sorts of Frugi wear. You get what you pay for, and I would rather buy fewer of these clothes than more of the cheaper ones that do not last and do not feel the same against the skin.” 

Crusader Libby was so relieved when a friend had pointed her toward Frugi because she had been looking for clothes to fit over a cloth nappy. “And not only would they go over a big cloth bum but they are gorgeous, organic and fairly traded at the same time - quadruple bonus!”
All of us are now in the same boat: Once you’ve received a Frugi pack, you never go back! It feels good to know you are doing something wonderful for your own child as well as the planet, and you can be 100% sure that no child labor was involved in the production of the clothing. The fair working standards are – to many of us – the most important part of the mission. “If more companies did this, then child labour would be a thing of the past! I hope one day all children get to be children for as long as possible - I know we have a long way to go, but Frugi is a good start.”
Libby adds that she can't even describe how much Frugi has helped her eco-conscious lifestyle. “I wanted to use cloth nappies because I couldn't stand the idea of all those disposables on a landfill. When I discovered Frugi and their gorgeous organic and fairly traded clothes it opened my eyes and my mind as to how much I could actually be doing! I now avoid buying food, hygiene products, and clothing that isn't fairly traded and organic if I can manage it.”

These are a few things you can to do help the planet and yourself: Buy local organic, and fair trade foods, hygiene products, and clothing where available, use eco-cleaning products, and try to find toys that are made from wood and non-toxic paints, ideally manufactured in your own country, and that are sturdy enough to be reused by several children and possibly passed on to other families.
We hope you will consider some of our suggestions as they were intended to show you how easy it really is to protect your children’s planet. Cloth nappies are a wonderful, modern, practical product, so try to free yourself from any misconceptions you may have and give them a try. If, however, you can’t see yourself using cloth nappies, please do give eco-disposables a shot! Your children will thank you!

And, if you have not yet experienced the amazing Frugi Organic Cotton Clothes, please do read more about Planet Frugi and their mission and see their gorgeous and fairly trade clothing at

WE LOVE FRUGI because it’s beautiful, organic, eco-conscious, well-designed, durable and versatile clothing, that looks amazing and lasts forever - and will fit over a clothy bum! It is so wonderful that there is a company now that combines what we love, for the sake of our children, with what our children love, which is colorful clothing with fun designs. We don’t have to choose anymore – when you buy Frugi, you get it all!


Frugi Crusaders Charley S., Helen W., Libby R. and Sandra J.

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