#083 Sustainability Cloth Nappies
Cloth Nappy Week. Vashti and Jess talk about how to start with cloth nappies. Just start with one cloth nappy saves 900 nappies going into landfill.
Transcription: Sustainability Cloth Nappies
Vashti: She's so cute. Look at that smile.
Andrew: How are you doing, Vashti?
Vashti: I'm good, Andrew, how are you?
Andrew: I'm doing fine. How are you?
Vashti: Good. You just asked me that though?
Andrew: I did.
Vashti: It's been a while.
Andrew: Let's start that again. Hey, Vashti how are you doing?
Vashti: Good, thanks, Andrew. How are you?
Andrew: Fine. Thank you.
Vashti: That's good. It's been a while.
Andrew: Yeah, I guess it has, Yes.
Andrew: Yeah. What have we been doing?
Vashti: Oh gosh, what haven't we been doing? It's been a full on year.
Andrew: It has.
Vashti: Well, it's been nearly 18 months since we actually recorded...
Vashti: ...a podcast besides our...
Andrew: Well, we have recorded them, we just threw them away.
Vashti: It's good to be back into them though so really looking forward to getting...
Andrew: Yeah, I thought it was challenging organizing a podcast before COVID.
Andrew: Now it's 10 times harder.
Vashti: Ah, well you've just got to watch it. It's rampant in Brisbane, honestly. It's just everywhere.
Andrew: Did you bring a guest?
Vashti: I did bring a guest today. I'm really, really excited to introduce this guest, Jess.
Vashti: Hello. How are you?
Jess: I'm good. How are you?
Vashti: I'm good. It's good to see you again. I haven't seen you in a whole four day, five days. For those that don't know, Jess actually works at Nest with me.
Jess: We do.
Vashti: Do you want to introduce yourself, Jess?
Vashti: Let people know a little bit about yourself and where you're from.
Jess: I'm Jess, I'm a mother of a three-year-old and a one-year-old and I've been...
Andrew: Both of them are here with us.
Jess: Both of them are here with us causing chaos. I've been working at Nest for about 18 months now, I think about that. I don't know I had maternity leave in there, so.
Vashti: It'll be over two years.
Vashti: Since your first shift, because you did one shift and then COVID hit.
Jess: Then COVID went crazy...
Jess: ...and so I had a second first shift in June.
Vashti: Yeah, we had to just sort of hold back a little bit because we didn't know what was happening when COVID first started.
Jess: That's it. I had a first, first day in April 2020 and a second first day in June, 2020.
Jess: : So, yeah.
Vashti: And then you said Saturday, a lot of time off...
Jess: Mat leave.
Vashti: ...on mat leave when Ella came along.
Jess: Nine months when miss Ella came along.
Vashti: We missed you. It was so good to have you back.
Jess: Then Ella came in for a couple of months before she stayed at home on a Saturday.
Vashti: She's such a great little model though. She is though.
Jess: She's very cute.
Vashti: She was awesome in the show.
Jess: She acted to be in the show.
Vashti: When she would sit in the carrier, yeah.
Jess: That's it. Yeah. She used to sleep through the shift.
Jess: I used to send Vashti pictures being like this employee, honestly, just sleeps all the time.
Vashti: Oh. I'm really excited to have you here for the podcast. I think it's going to be really fantastic just to have a chat to you and get your take as someone who's still doing cloth nappies.
Vashti: So, yeah.
Andrew: What should we talk about what's our subject today?
Vashti: Well, I thought we might talk about sustainability especially considering it's cloth nappy week and we talk a lot about fast fashion, but...
Andrew: For those people who are listening to this podcast, way after fashion, after that week, what week is that?
Vashti: Cloth nappy week is one week a year where worldwide the industry promotes cloth nappies and how easy they are to use.
Andrew: And the date?
Vashti: It's week, April...
Andrew: Everybody rushes to their phone to look it up.
Vashti: It's like late April, late April. I think it's like the 26th or something like 24th or something.
Jess: We talk about too much stuff in our chat.
Vashti: Yeah, it's the end of April, last week in April.
Vashti: There You go.
Andrew: Last week in April.
Andrew: Every year?
Vashti: Just about, yeah.
Vashti: This year Australia's focus is just start with one so that's the hashtag that we're using.
Andrew: Just start with one cloth nappy.
Vashti: Yeah. Hopefully
Andrew: One cloth nappy saves you?
Vashti: Over 900 going into landfill every year. If you use one cloth nappy a day, over the life of your baby or your child being in nappies, you can save over 900 nappies ending up in landfill.
Andrew: That's, how many wheelie bins is that?
Andrew: It's quite a few.
Vashti: It's a few.
Andrew: Because the number one thing I hear from people when they switch to cloth nappies, is I'm sick of filling my wheelie bin every week with disposable nappies.
Vashti: Yeah. Most children will go through about half a wheelie bin a week on disposables. I normally recommend when people have multiples that they order their second bin if they're planning disposable nappies in those first six to eight weeks.
Jess: But one of the times we traveled with my Henry, my eldest, we were down in Wollongong with Mitch's family and they had two kids in cloth nappies and we had in disposables and we had Henry in disposables for the trip. And Wollongong's one of those areas where they've got the teeny tiny red bins.
Jess: Honestly like after three days, the bin was absolutely chockers with just three kids.
Andrew: Yeah, I don't understand why the further out of the city you are the less waste you produce
Vashti: Well, I think it's about they've got bigger recycling bins and green bins are part of the deal...
Vashti: ...whereas with these we've got to pay for them so the deal is meant to be that they're meant to get more stuff in these other bins...
Andrew: Right, okay.
Vashti: ...rather than less.
Andrew: Okay. Yeah, but just disposable nappies are not recyclable.
Jess: No, that's it and a lot of parents in the area apparently do get second bins or get a more regular pickup is something they'll do in Wollongong as well.
Vashti: They'll pay for a second pickup a week?
Jess: ...so that you get rid of the smell as well as the space in your bin.
Vashti: Well, it's interesting because like here in Australia, we use enough disposables every year to fill the MCG seven times over.
Vashti: It's just increasing every year. There's more and more babies being born and there's more and more waste being created.
Andrew: Yeah, I noticed we recently had a little sale as we sometimes do and most of the nappies were newborn nappies.
Andrew: I was quite surprised. Usually it's the other way and it's usually the... But, yeah, most of the nappies that were being ordered were newborn nappies and it blew me away going, oh, okay there's a COVID baby rush.
Vashti: Oh, you reckon?
Vashti: There you go. That's interesting.
Andrew: Yeah, blew me away because it's like, oh, I don't know how many orders I packed. Yeah, no, I can't remember how many orders I packed, but because it blends in after a while.
Vashti: It does.
Andrew: But I did notice that I wasn't grabbing huge numbers of Candies. I was grabbing mostly newborn nappies.
Andrew: Bambams and Bopeeps and a heap of Pebbles.
Vashti: That's fantastic.
Andrew: Which is, we don't usually recommend people have a whole stash of pebbles, but people were ordering a lot of pebbles as well.
Vashti: Yeah, look, we see it all the time at nest. People will get a whole stash. Had a customer in, she's visiting from the Netherlands last week and she bought an entire stash of newborn nappies and an entire stash of one size fits most nappies. They were packing them into their suitcase to take home. I think that was fantastic. They loved all the Australian type prints and stuff like that. There was some really Australiana prints that we've got from quite a few of our brands and they, being Australian and living in the Netherlands, they wanted that little piece of home on their baby's bum. I'm really looking...
Jess: It's different from all the other babies.
Vashti: Yeah. Well, I'm really looking forward too. They promised me some photos when their little one arrives in September. Can't wait to see that that'll be great having a little cloth bum peeking out. But it does start to get quite cold in the Netherlands in September. I'm not sure there will be too much cloth bum.
Jess: Send them off with some of those socks that go from their thighs to their ankle.
Vashti: The Rocket Fire socks they're fantastic. I love those on my kids. But no, I thought we'd talk about sustainability.
Andrew: That's right we were talking about the subject. Yes.
Vashti: Yeah, so there's some really great, like the Earth Day website has some amazing facts and figures in regards to fast fashion.
Andrew: What's the Earth Day website
Andrew: That's easy to remember.
Vashti: Very easy to remember.
Andrew: I'm not even going to put that in the show notes.
Vashti: No. While we don't have a huge amount of information in regards to the waste that's produced by cloth nappies, I think it's really relevant that we do talk about that. I mean, we talk about how much waste is produced by disposables, but there is still an amount of waste produced by cloth nappies as well and that's something that needs to be really, I feel we need to be transparent about like.
Andrew: We do encourage people once they've used their cloth nappies to sell them second hand or at least pass them on.
Vashti: Yeah, definitely.
Andrew: Don't just throw them away.
Andrew: Because most of the brands that are out there, will go a couple of babies.
Vashti: They will. If you feel that your nappy can't go another baby, use the materials the cottons and the bamboos and the hemps out of the absorbency and cut them up and put them in your worm farm or your compost or something like that. That way you are only disposing of the shell, which is the polyester material and the snaps and the Velcro. That's less waste that you're actually putting into your landfill. Or, look at H & M has textile recycling and they can recycle the polyesters. Look at taking your damaged shells, things that the elastics have completely gone on and you can't replace them or the PUL has delaminated or something like that, and recycling it at H & M. There's ways to do this. But definitely I think looking at a more sustainable stash of nappies is a good thing. While I believe everyone should have choice I think a stash of 300 nappies is a little excessive when you only sort of need 24 to 36 for most families.
Andrew: That's the most I've ever heard. The most I've ever heard before this podcast was like 60.
Andrew: 300 is... What does she wash once every six months?
Vashti: I'm sure she's washing more often than that. I don't know if that's...
Andrew: If she's washing every six months, the ones that she was using a couple of months ago would not be worth...
Vashti: Well, you're not going to fit them all in the machine at the same time. Anyway.
Jess: There does seem to be more and more stashes creeping up over a hundred though.
Jess: It was something we were discussing the other day and it made me stop and think, because I do have a larger stash of not over a hundred. But I do have two bums in cloth.
Vashti: But also you've done a lot of testing for us at the shop.
Jess: I have done testing and I do still buy nappies that I love, even though I do have a fairly big stash. But I guess, when I thought about it, it helps me a bit on times when family life gets a bit hard and you end up with baskets of folding waiting to be done.
Jess: It's been quite handy when one of the children has been sick and we're going through more nappies than we usually would.
Andrew: We never used to fold them you just take them out of the basket.
Jess: I can't do that.
Vashti: Yeah, see, I was always one that had to have them ready to go. Like there was none of this picking a shell and an insert and putting them together at change time.
Andrew: We were not perfect parents.
Vashti: I am not a perfect parent.
Andrew: Taking them straight out of the basket.
Jess: But that is just one of my little character quirks where I just can't deal with having to make the nappy up on the run. You have to be able to pull a nappy out of the drawer and put it on the child.
Andrew: You are not one of these people that have to have the snaps on the same rung too, are you?
Jess: Yes. But no, it doesn't have to be even because sometimes that's not the best fit, but let's put it this way, my older bubblebugs tri-folds still go in older shells, the ones with the old silky tag and the new ones go in the new shells.
Vashti: I take it one step further and I actually used to label the inserts that went into the shell, like I'd mark them so that I knew which inserts went into which shells and that way I'd pack them up that way.
Andrew: Did you write a serial number on the shell and a serial number on an insert did you?
Vashti: Sort of. Can I say I had a moment of that then decided that was maybe a step too far.
Vashti: See it's my CDO like.
Andrew: Every now and again, your other half would walk in and you'd be going through the basket, "Where's five, where's five. Can't do it without five."
Vashti: Well, I've even gotten to it, like, I mean, for those actually like for those that don't know what CDO is, it's OCD but in alphabetical order.
Jess: Vashti numbers her socks.
Andrew: You number your socks?
Vashti: Well with the kids' school socks, because I always buy them five new socks every year, just because like it's cheaper to buy them in a five pack. Sometimes they've still got some older socks, like last year's socks that are still working okay or they'll wear one pair of socks more often than are not or than others. If I can pair them correctly, like with each other, then they wear at the same rate.
Andrew: Okay, so what number are you up to?
Vashti: Oh, well, no, every year they just get a one through five.
Andrew: Oh, well that's confusing because there's previous seasons one through five that might still be working.
Vashti: Yeah. But they're older. You can tell they're older.
Jess: What if five from last year barely got used so it now looks the same as one to five from this year?
Vashti: Yeah, that's the issue.
Andrew: That's a flawed system.
Vashti: I know.
Andrew: You have to number them one to five and then six to 10.
Vashti: Well, we'll get there.
Jess: Or 2022 01 2023 02.
Andrew: Yes, that's it.
Vashti: That's right I'm going to actually do that next year.
Andrew: Silly question, what do you use to keep the number on? Is it a texter or...
Vashti: Yeah, I just use a Sharpie.
Andrew: A Sharpie?
Vashti: Because I wrote the kids' name on it because especially with Kyle and like, you know, he's still taking his shoes off for sometimes they've got a sandpit in the lower primary and for swimming lessons and stuff so I always put his name on everything. The bigger kids I don't need to put their name on things so much but...
Andrew: There's enough space to write a whole name.
Vashti: Yeah, just across the toe.
Andrew: Okay. I get it actually on the sock.
Andrew: Okay. Right, so you don't just to mess with him don't right, left and right?
Vashti: No. Because like Brace, my eldest, like he would take that literally. He would put the left one on the left foot and the right one on the right foot. If he came out with the right on the left and I said something he'd get really upset and have to go and change them.
Jess: Completely mess with him and just put right on all of them.
Vashti: That would kill him.
Andrew: And then you say to him, what no, what I mean is you put them on the right foot, the correct foot. Not the right foot, the correct foot. Yeah.
Jess: : I take it none of your kids ever went for the different socks look then?
Vashti: No. They do that like especially Kylin and Michaela. Michaela used to do it all the time. She'd wear odd socks all the time. She loved it. I actually, Bio one year they were selling socks. It was a spare plus, like a pair plus a spare.
Vashti: Not odd ones. Yeah.
Jess: It was three different socks. The kids loved that because they had three different socks that they could mix and match.
Andrew: I did that once. I wore my Simpsons sock and my Pickle Rick sock on the same day.
Vashti: Oh gosh. That's just mixing things far too far, Andrew.
Andrew: Then wearing my Ted Lasso t-shirt.
Andrew: Multiple franchises.
Vashti: Right. This program is in no way affiliated with any other franchise. But anyway, going back to sustainability...
Andrew: How we've changed, I usually pull us back on subject.
Vashti: I know. There is some really interesting facts and while most of the facts are based around the US and stuff like that. We don't have a lot of information in regards to cloth nappies specifically. The fashion industry actually produces over a hundred billion garments annually and there's only 7 billion people on the planet.
Andrew: A big percentage of those people wouldn't be able to afford to buy new garments.
Vashti: Exactly. I'm wearing a dress today that I think I bought pre-Kylin so it's well over eight years old. Actually, no, I know that I bought it pre-Kylin. I remember I bought it in 2013, so it's now nine years old and I'm still wearing it. I've got a skirt that I wear quite regularly that I bought postpartum with Brace.
Andrew: Yeah, every time I see that dress, I think of black and white television.
Vashti: Oh, there you go. It's a black and white stripped dress guys. It's just a little t-shirt dress in a stretchy material and it's really comfy and easy and it means I don't have to iron in the morning.
Jess: Iron, what's that?
Andrew: Who irons?
Vashti: I do, apparently. Only when I have to.
Andrew: I bet you we could find some mothers who iron their nappies.
Vashti: I have heard, I had somebody in the shop recently who was ironing her inserts because they were curling.
Andrew: Oh, okay. Well, actually a lot of people do say too that the inserts do become inflexible and...
Vashti: Like quite stiff and hard.
Andrew: Quite stiff. Yeah. And heat fixes that.
Vashti: It does.
Andrew: Five minutes in the dryer or one minute under the iron.
Vashti: Five minutes in the dryer doesn't require as much standing and dealing with...
Andrew: Or, two minutes on a baby's bum. Just stick it on a kid. It'll be fine.
Vashti: It's interesting. It really is. But, yeah, those hundred billion garments for 7 billion people. That's a lot of garments that are produced every year. A lot of those actually end up in landfill. We have that fast fashion mentality where we end up buying something and we wear it once or twice and then get rid of it.
Andrew: Because it goes out of fashion.
Vashti: Well it goes out of fashion or...
Andrew: Trust me guys, it comes back.
Vashti: It does.
Andrew: I'm just waiting for my leather tie to come back.
Vashti: Oh yeah, no, that's not coming back. But that does result in over 40 million tons of textiles ending up in landfill every year. That 40 million tons, while the majority of it is clothing and stuff like that, there would be a portion of it that is cloth nappies as well. I think that comes down to the whole, the FOMO, the fear of missing out when there's new releases and brands are bringing out new releases, very regularly and bulk amounts of prints in that release and promoting them as an extremely limited edition and you've got to get it now or you'll miss out and stuff like that.
I think that whole mentality really, there's nothing wrong with it, but there is something wrong with it as well. I think you need to do what's right for you and your family. If buying a new print is going to make you happy, then definitely go and buy that new print. But also have a look at how sustainable buying 20 new prints every release is going to be and what impact that has on your budget as well. If you can afford it and you want to go through that whole buy all the new prints and then sell them off when you get sick of them, that's great. You can make some money back on them. You can give somebody else the chance to buy some cloth nappies at a cheaper price and...
Andrew: Actually Jenna, who used to work for us, she actually, she had a crap ton of nappies, but she used to use her extras to give to people who didn't use cloth nappies...
Andrew: ...to get them into cloth nappies. That was fantastic.
Vashti: Yeah, and have a look at that there's pay it forward groups around Australia, I know Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane. We set up the Brisbane one recently it's still quite new. It's called Cloth Nappies Pay it Forward Southeast Queensland. That's a really great place. If you want to just pay your nappies forward to somebody and give somebody a chance to...
Andrew: That's on Facebook?
Vashti: It is on Facebook. Yes. Sorry.
Andrew: I'll never see that.
Vashti: Yeah. Cloth Nappies Pay it Forward Southeast Queensland on Facebook. I will get Andrew, I'll send Andrew a link and get him to put it in the show notes.
Andrew: Sure, he'll do that. He's on it.
Vashti: Yeah. But I know there is a Melbourne Cloth Nappies Pay it Forward. There's one that's being started in Perth just recently as well. There's also your buy nothing groups and your zero waste groups on Facebook where plenty of people give away their cloth nappy stashes when they're finished with them. Find friends and family if somebody in your friend's circle or your family group is pregnant or looking at having a baby sometime soon or has just had a baby, ask them if they're interested in using cloth nappies.
If they want to try out some nappies and even if you don't want to give them an entire stash, give them a couple of nappies just to get started rather than having those nappies sitting there and then in 10 years time or, okay, so we're only coming up to six years for me, and I've just found a box of nappies. Kylin's been out of nappies for like nearly six years and I've just found a box that I've got to do something with. But it means that if you do have something that's stashed away, you can...
Andrew: How many nappies is in that box?
Vashti: There's a few. Look I own a cloth nappy shop, okay. I did have a larger stash so I'm one of those ones that had a larger stash.
Andrew: Technically you own more nappies than the people who have 300.
Vashti: Yeah, I do.
Andrew: Because you've got a shop full of nappies.
Vashti: Yeah, I do. I don't want to count my nappies.
Andrew: But you order more than that of us every month. We know how many you got.
Vashti: Do you have to count your nappies once a year, twice a year? I don't want to that doesn't mean I don't do it. I don't actually, like I'll sit there and count everything individually, but I don't actually count up how many nappies. I probably should. Yeah, I should just count the nappies and see how many we've got.
Jess: You just need to tweak the spreadsheet so that it tallies. Yeah. I think that the buy swap cell is also something to remember when you come to those kind of FOMO brands. Whilst it might be gone off the website, generally it's never gone anyway.
Jess: You're going to be able to pick it up in six months, 12 months, 24 months when someone's decided they've got too many in their stash and that that's not one of their favorites anymore, that they have finished with cloth nappies and they're moving them on. They're all still coming around. You're never going to miss it forever.
Vashti: Then I've seen it happen in the past where somebody's really loved the print on screen.
Vashti: Then they get it and they decide it's really not for them. The color mix just doesn't work.
Jess: Not quite right.
Vashti: It's not quite right. They offer it straight back up again as soon as the release is finished.
Vashti: There is that chance, like nothing is ever gone forever. If you can't get it in a nappy, grab it in a wet bag.
Vashti: Then you still get the print and you can...
Jess: You'll use it for many more years.
Andrew: Well, yeah, wet bags are in use way past your cloth nappy bags.
Vashti: I mean, I've got eight wet bags in my backpack today.
Andrew: And you don't have any babies in nappies anymore.
Vashti: I have no babies in nappies. All three of my kids carry wet bags in their school bags.
Andrew: My kids ask for wet bags.
Vashti: Yeah. Well the kids know that I've got an extra large wet bag sitting in the linen cupboard that is just all our wet bags. They'll go hunting for it. If they can't find a particular one they like, they'll ask me and they're like, "Where's that mammoth print mom?"
Andrew: Oh, that's a blast from the past isn't it.
Jess: It's our favorite in our house.
Vashti: "Where's the blue wave wet bags." They know, and we have wet bags when we've got the Ooshies from Woolworths and the Cole's Little Shops and things like that we have mini wet bags that all the pieces go into and that's where they get stored. If an Ooshie turns up around the house, it's like, go and find the Harry Otter wet bag and put the Ooshie away. Puzzles are another great thing.
Jess: Jigsaws in mini wet bags, yeah.
Vashti: Don't fall into the whole FOMO thing. That's my view anyway. Sure, if you love a print, grab it, but just because you can't get it on release night, doesn't mean you're not going to get it, yeah.
Andrew: Is there any brand that sells out the same night though?
Vashti: Yeah, plenty of brands will sell out as soon as they release.
Jess: A lot of the work at home makers because often only a few of each print.
Jess: Truly limited one to three type things...
Jess: ...and they, they'll sell out an entire release in two minutes.
Andrew: We've been around long enough we know how many to get to make sure we don't run out that quick.
Vashti: But remember back when Vicky was selling them herself.
Andrew: Oh yeah.
Vashti: She would sow all week to put them up on a Sunday night and an entire week's worth of work was gone in five minutes.
Vashti: I remember trying to get them on release night and struggling.
Andrew: Selling not even in five minutes.
Andrew: It was like people writing scripts to poll our website every 30 seconds to see when there's nappies on there.
Vashti: Mind you, that was 15 years ago so there wasn't as much available in the industry at that stage. There wasn't as many brands. That's the other thing is that we have an explosion of brands, especially here in Australia. There is so many amazing quality brands available, that just because you don't get a print from one brand, doesn't mean another brand's not going to have a print that you love just as much.
Andrew: There's only so many animals out there.
Vashti: That's true.
Andrew: If you're looking for a platypus, somebody else is going to have a platypus, just wait a couple weeks.
Vashti: If you can't find a ready made one, contact a work at home maker.
Vashti: There are plenty of work at home makers that will either source the fabric if they don't have it or they'll do it embroidery for you.
Andrew: Is it possible for them, if they come across a fabric that like to buy the fabric and send it to the maker?
Vashti: I would definitely recommend contacting the maker first to make sure that it is the appropriate fabric.
Vashti: You can't just go to spotlight and buy some cotton off the shelf and get a nappy made out of it unless it's a fitted nappy.
Vashti: Fitted nappies need covers over the top of them, which kind of defeats the purpose of having that gorgeous print.
Andrew: True. Has anybody made a see-through cover yet?
Vashti: No. How would you do see-through PUL?
Andrew: I don't know.
Vashti: You need to look into that.
Vashti: Because I have some and...
Jess: Return to the old school plastic Pilchards. My brother used to have clear see-through ones when he used to [inaudible] all over the cloth flat.
Andrew: No, I can't do that because then people would expect us to start making Bambams with patterns on.
Vashti: There is that.
Andrew: It's easier to put the pattern on the cover.
Jess: Much easier.
Vashti: Yeah, that, I think sort of talks to that whole FOMO and reducing the size of your stash, but still being aware that if it makes you happy, then go for it. But you don't need to buy 20 nappies every release from every brand that you love. It does, it puts that strain on the environment. If you're cloth nappying for environmental reasons, that really doesn't meet your criteria for cloth nappying.
Andrew: You've forgotten why you got into it.
Vashti: Yeah, exactly. That also doesn't talk to the fact that the materials that are used. A lot of cloth nappies are starting to move away from cottons or looking at using organic cottons and stuff. A lot of cloth nappy companies are using the majority hemp or bamboo. Bamboo is quite a fragile fiber. It does need to be blended with something else to give it that durability and stuff like that. But the reason for that is, cloth is, I mean, cotton is actually one of the dirtiest crops in the world. The amount of pesticides that are needed for most cotton crops is phenomenal. Those pesticides put a lot of strain on the environment. Cotton also takes up a huge amount of water. Environmentally, it's not a really friendly fabric.
Ella is joining in the conversation here. She's gorgeous. You've got that to think about. You then also have the issue is if you're looking at your synthetic fibers, like your microfibers and your micro fleeces and stuff like that as the bulk of your absorbency, they're a polyester, which are an oil based fabric, which once again, is putting that impact on the environment. Your synthetic fibers aren't recyclable.
Jess: Or compostable or anything like that. It really comes down to reusing it as a household cloth or something like that until it literally falls apart.
Vashti: Yeah, so, well actually, no, they are recyclable. They can make them into other things, but they're not compostable. That's what I was trying to say and you got it. You were smack on Jess. You have that issue as well. Looking at your more sustainable fibers and looking at things that have a more ecological footprint, I think is a really good thing if environmentally, cloth is what you're doing. I think the other thing that we need to realize, the fast fashion industry, it actually encourages slave labor, basically.
There's research out there to suggest that the majority of these places who make fast fashion, rely on child labor, they pay below a standard wage, a livable wage. Research the cloth nappy company that you're looking at using. Make sure that they have a transparent supply chain, make sure they do know where their products are being produced, that they are paying livable wages to the people who make their products. Because it's not sustainable to keep paying people money that isn't enough to keep their family alive.
You wouldn't expect it for your own family, why should you expect it for somebody else's family? While it could be hard because of budgets and stuff like that, if your family income is quite low, it can be quite stressful to sit there and go, well, I can't really afford $600 for 24 quality cloth nappies when I can buy 24 Alvas for $200. I'm fully cognizant of that, but that's where I say, well, have a look at your second hand market. Buy one nappy a week while you're pregnant, or one nappy a pay while you're pregnant. It's much easier to fork out $35 at a time.
Go to your retailers and ask for a laybuy and stuff like that. Because putting in that extra money to buy a quality product, and it's the same with your fashion, if you buy a quality product, it's going to last a lot longer, which means you'll get more use out of it for multiple children. I always liken it to buying a $30 or $40. t-shirt from one of the big name brands versus buying a $2 t-Shirt from one of your big box stores.
You can, that t-shirt, if you use it intensely every second day for two years, it's not going to look the best at the end of the two years, and you're not going to want to pass that t-shirt onto somebody else. Whereas if you buy a $30, $40, t-shirt as I say, I've got a skirt that I wear a couple of times a week, sometimes, that is over 16 years old. It's still in great condition. It still looks brand new. It was an expensive skirt. It was like $50, $60 back then. Which it's not something that I can afford on a regular basis, but I will, if I'm buying clothes, I will look at the higher end, the quality, and I will spend that extra money on that quality rather than buying the $2 stuff.
Jess: It's that old buy well, by once.
Vashti: Yeah, exactly.
Jess: Where in the long run, it is actually cheaper...
Vashti: It is.
Jess: ...for you to have bought that skirt than to have bought something cheaper back then, but to have had to have replaced it every two years since then.
Vashti: Exactly. I think, I try and do that with the kids as well. I know it's hard with the kids' clothing because I sit there and go, oh, God, they're going to, especially when they're growing quickly...
Jess: They grow out of it.
Vashti: They're going to grow out of it in six months. Why am I going to spend $20 on a t-shirt for them when I can buy one for $2? But if I spend $20, I've got clothes that all three of my children wore and then I pass...
Jess: Then you pass them on.
Vashti: ...them on to friends.
Vashti: They were still in great condition when I passed them on.
Vashti: Even if they had a couple of stains or something like they weren't stretched, they weren't faded. The stitching and the the hems hadn't come down or anything like that. While it might not have been a going out t-shirt in the end, it was still okay for daycare and that sort of stuff.
Jess: Even then quite often a few stains is just a matter of someone having the time to give it a bit of a rub with some...
Jess: ... Oxy paste and soak it, which you don't always have. Sometimes with kids, it's easier to just be like, well, that doesn't fit anymore I'm done.
Jess: But someone else who wants it potentially has that time.
Jess: We got a big hand me down bag of clothes for Henry. The friend that gave it to me is like, "Oh, they're probably all daycare stuff." But I had a bit of time and in the Stucker with some Oxy and they...
Vashti: They came out, correct?
Jess: I think one or two things still had stains and you go, yep, it's still play clothes. That's fine. Everything else came out perfect, like...
Jess: ...brand new.
Vashti: ...and that's that whole as you said, "Buy well, buy once." I think that's really relevant with cloth nappies as well. If you can stretch it, or if you can look at re-altering your family budget to actually buy the quality nappies, buy the $35, $40 nappies, then you've got a much better chance of them lasting for a lot longer. They're putting less stress on the environment and they're not becoming part of that 40 million tons of waste that is sent to landfill or textile waste that's sent to landfill every single year.
Jess: Yeah.Or, if you've got the time while you're pregnant, jump on all those pay it forward groups because...
Jess: ...whilst there might be nothing on your local group at the moment, if you've got a couple of months while you're pregnant, you might find that something pops up and you could end up with an entire stash of good quality nappies for free, if that's what you need.
Andrew: One of the reasons we offer after pay is for that as well like.
Vashti: Yeah. Well, PayPal now does a buy and for as well, so you buy now pay later.
Andrew: We second guessed that for a long time, because of, but we thought, no, instead of buying disposable nappies every week, they can just make a little payment towards their cloth nappies.
Vashti: Yeah, and I think it's really great. And a lot of companies still offer traditional laybuy so you don't need to worry about that whole, the fees of the buy now pay it later platforms either.
Andrew: Then you won't miss out on that print you want.
Andrew: You can laybuy it.
Vashti: Exactly. If you put it on a laybuy, early on in your pregnancy, then you've got that time to pay it off.
Andrew: Yeah, because you've got, what's the lead time for that about nine months or something isn't it?
Vashti: Well, normally you've got about seven and a half months. Most people find out at around the six week mark.
Andrew: Okay, except for the people who are trying and test every week.
Andrew: I remember those people. Yeah.
Jess: There are people that buy stashes before they actually get pregnant as well. They start...
Vashti: We've got one at the moment like one of our customers, she's just sent me through a message just in the last few days. She's pregnant. Now, she's been buying nappies from me gradually just one or two every couple of months because they've been trying and she wanted to cloth nappy. I think she's, the first nappy she bought from me was probably 18 months ago. She's finally pregnant and I'm so over the moon for her. Because she's got this beautiful stash of nappies that she's going to be able to use right rrom day dot. I cannot wait to see some photos. So that's another September baby. We've got lots of spring babies coming up.
Jess: September is a very popular birth month.
Vashti: It is.
Andrew: Yes, because of those cold months.
Vashti: Yeah, no, they are Christmas babies.
Andrew: Oh, Christmas.
Vashti: Christmas, New Year party.
Andrew: Oh, it's too hot for that.
Vashti: Yeah. No Christmas New Year parties, there's lots of drinking going on.
Andrew: Oh, of course. Yeah. I want drink babies.
Vashti: Yeah. Then November for the Valentine's Day babies.
Andrew: Ah, yeah. That's what Gabriel was.
Vashti: Yeah, they are two of the most popular months.
Andrew: It's what Gabriel was. Gabriel was a...
Vashti: He was a Valentine's baby.
Andrew: Valentine's, yeah.
Vashti: There you go.
Andrew: I think that's good.
Andrew: Thanks, Vashti.
Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.
Andrew: Thanks, Jess.
Jess: Thank you.
Andrew: Bye everybody.
Jess: See you.