Bambino Mio - leading a reusable nappy revolution from the bottom up

Bambino Mio - leading a reusable nappy revolution from the bottom up
Credit: Bambino Mio

Bambino Mio makes reusable nappies, along with swim wear and accessories. Founded in 1997, and based in Brixworth, Bambino Mio has become the UK’s most popular reusable nappy brand with their products sold in more than 50 countries worldwide. Their website proclaims the incredible fact that to date, use of their reusable nappies has stopped over 26bn single-use nappies from being thrown away – and that number has increased since I started writing this article.  

Bambino Mio is spearheading a Reusable Revolution to move away from disposable nappies because ‘our future is not disposable’. Many parents agree with them. There is growing concern about the impact of plastic waste with 86% of parents saying the government needs to do more to reduce nappy waste. Locally, Bambino Mio is involved in discussions with West Northamptonshire Council and their partners to increase parents’ awareness of alternatives to disposable nappies.

First, some disposable nappy data:- Not only do disposable nappies form a large proportion of non-recyclable landfill waste, they also contain many harmful chemicals that are subsequently dispersed into the environment. Because they contain plastic, they can take hundreds of years to degrade. Since their invention in the 1940s, every single disposable nappy ever produced still exists. If it wasn’t incinerated, it is rotting away in landfill somewhere. 90 billion disposables are thrown away globally every year (3.6 billion in the UK) and disposable nappies are currently in the top 25 products found in the ocean.

Next, the alternative:- Reusable nappies produce 99% less waste and use 98% less raw materials in production, and don’t contain the toxic chemicals found in disposable nappies. People are open to the idea of using them, but reusable nappies are still not mainstream. What are the blockers? Lack of awareness - they are still seen as an unusual choice. People think that because poo is let’s face it smelly and gross, there is too much effort to clean and reuse the nappies. There is also an assumption that they are expensive when compared to the incredibly cheap disposable nappy brands on sale in supermarkets.

Bambino Mio refutes these assumptions and takes its role as a ‘changemaker’ very seriously. They organise events, protest and petitions, they lobby government for changes in the law and work hard to raise awareness of the alternative to single-use disposables. Their customers are amongst their greatest supporters. Ellis is one of many - a  Bambassador™ - which means she does what she can to raise awareness, share her knowledge and experience and help make reusable nappies more common. When she became a mother, she was horrified at the amount of wasteful ‘stuff’ involved in being a parent. She also hated thinking that the nappies that she wore as a baby were still sitting in landfill sites today. She was determined to use reusable nappies – she saw it as a small way to make a huge impact. There are more practical reasons: saving money - if used full-time, families can expect to save up to £700 in their child’s nappy-wearing years – and even more if they’re reused with another baby. Even with her efforts on social media and amongst the reusable nappy community, Ellis admits that she knows very few other others who use reusable nappies full time.

The Bambassador™ revolution was in full view at the end of June, when babies and toddlers marched on Parliament to protest against the environmental devastation caused by single-use nappies languishing for years in landfill, and to demand urgent action from the government to protect their futures. They wore baby grows and t-shirts with protest slogans such as ‘My nappy’s rubbish’, ‘Our future’s not disposable’ and ‘It’s my planet and I’ll cry if I want to’.

Bambino Mio has also started a petition calling on the government to urgently address the nappy waste crisis, so please take a moment to fill it in and help further the revolution.

For people interested in finding out more, ClothNappiesUK and NappyGurus are a few of the many sites which offer a welcoming community and support.