Benalla Mum Rahni Gee is saving local parents money, and the planet, one nappy at a time.
Since becoming a first-time mum to Charlotte in February, Rahni has been spreading the word about re-usable nappies, which can save parents about $4500 per child in nappy costs.
On top of the financial saving, replacing disposable nappies has a positive affect on the environment.
According www.sustainability.vic.gov.au 800 million disposable nappies end up in landfills each year in Australia.
That equates to 145 000 cubic meters of waste, enough to fill the MCG three times.
Rahni said despite the financial and environmental benefits many people were concerned with what she describes as the potential for a ‘‘poo-splosion’’.
‘‘My mum used reusable nappies and just didn’t realise that hardly anyone else uses them until I joined a local mothers group,’’ she said.
‘‘I did some research and found out that 95 per cent of parents in Australia use disposable nappies.
‘‘When I asked some of the other mothers why they don’t they said they thought the cloth was too rough, they cost too much and they are messy.
‘‘So I wanted to change that perception and show them that reusable nappies are not hard to use, you don’t have ‘poo-splosion’ and they don’t have to be expensive.
‘‘I am selling them in Benalla and I’m selling them as cheap as I can, so people can afford to use cloth.’’
With all the recent publicity around reducing ocean plastic, in particular the recent push by to supermarkets to replace singleuse plastic bags, Rahni said she was shocked nappies were never in that conversation.
‘‘I don’t know, I think maybe some people don’t realise they’re made of plastic, so maybe that’s why,’’ she said.
‘‘I think maybe there is just not enough awareness of the problems with disposable nappies. There is a hashtag #makeclothmainstream which is starting to take off.
‘‘But it’s not just the plastic that is an issue. They also include chemicals, such as phthalates. They can negatively impact your child’s hormone balance. They can also include toxins and chemicals like dioxin.
‘‘So its not great to put them on your baby.’’
There are plenty of options out there for reusable nappies, and they have come a long way since the abrasive material held together with safety pins used in previous generation.
‘‘Modern reusable nappies don’t use pins, they use buttons, and one nappy can be adjusted, so you only need to buy one and then you can use them from newborn until they are out of nappies,’’ Rahni said.
‘‘There are also swim nappies available as well and even if parents just start with a reusable swim nappy that’s about 50 nappies per year not going into a landfill.’’
As well as offering affordable reusable nappies for sale Rahni also runs a Facebook page where she publishes helpful clips and is available to answer any questions.
For more information, visit CharlottesWorldMCN on Facebook.