Family Matters: Reusable nappies could see you clean up £1,000

Cheryl Grottick and her baby Zachary.
Cheryl Grottick and her baby Zachary.
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Mum Cheryl Grottick is on a bit of a mission at the moment to show parents that changing over to washable nappies is easier than they think.

Cheryl, who is on maternity leave after having third baby Zachary eight weeks ago, started her company Precious Nappies from her home in Baslow, Derbyshire four years ago after looking at reusable nappies for daughter Ella, aged five.

She wanted them for her eldest son Charlie, aged 10, as he had bad nappy rash but said there wasn’t much information at the time, just a few adverts in baby magazines.

After doing a lot of research, the sales and marketing graduate realised that she could actually provide the nappies herself.

Cheryl works full time for Sheffield medical supplies company B Braun as a sales territory manager. “I like to be busy,” she says with a fair amount of understatement.

At the moment Cheryl is increasing the numbers of workshops and demonstrations she does to parents to persuade them to make the change.

She said: “I now go to ante-natal classes at the Jessop Wing in Sheffield once a month and I went to the Lifestyle Centre in Beighton this week.

“I explain that using reusable nappies can make a cost saving of up to £1,000 per baby, including the cost of washing the nappies. They are as convenient as a disposable. The only thing is you’re washing them as opposed to putting them in the wheelie bin.

“A lot of people think it’s a hassle and remember their grandmothers doing a boil wash and ending up with loads of nappies on the washing line.

“Once you get into the hang of it, it’s easy to do.”

Cheryl said that the nappies, which are used with a flushable inner lining to contain the waste, go into a special soaking bucket, to which tea tree oil is added to get rid of the smell.

Then they are put into a net bag to be transferred to the washing machine on a 40-degree wash. Cheryl reckons that she washes Zachary’s nappies every other day.

“And you never run out of them. In terms of time I remember running down to the supermarket to get them. I felt I was constantly buying them.”

Cheryl said that one reason she wanted to change was the sheer amount of disposables going into landfills, pointing out that the amount of plastic used in disposables means that ones buried in landfill 30 years ago won’t have rotted down yet. It’s estimated that eight million a year are thrown away in the UK.

But a lot of parents are won over by the way they look. Cheryl said that people often come to ask about them when she is changing Zachary.

The nappies come in 25 different designs, including animals prints, different colours and a popular owl print.

Cheryl uses suppliers in China and Egypt. She says that she only deals with family firms that have good employment policies.

The next workshop is in the antenatal clinic at the Jessop Wing of the Royal Hallamshire Hospital on May 11 at 12 to 1.30pm.

Cheryl will also visit families in their homes to show them the nappies. She promises no hard sell.

Starter packs that include all the accessories and enough nappies for one day start at £85. Sheffield City Council and Derbyshire County Council offer cashback schemes on nappies only, as an incentive to cut the amount going to landfill. Cheryl deducts this from the invoice.

She also takes part in a Derbyshire Council nappy lending service for people who want to try them out. It costs £5 plus a £50 returnable deposit.

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