Disposable nappies are a convenient choice for many parents because they are tidy, hygienic, low fuss (in terms of cleaning up) and, of course, easy to dispose of without creating more washing.
There has been a great public concern around the environmental impact of using disposable nappies as they have been slow to breakdown in landfill. However disposable nappies account for less than 1% of urban waste in landfill by weight. In addition, a number of the leading manfacturers of disposable nappies have addressed these concerns in recent years by reducing the size of each nappy, and using materials that are more eco-friendly than those used in the past and Huggies work with the Christchurch City Council to create compost out of disposable nappies (see link below).
When considering the ecological impact of disposable nappies it is important to take into consideration that even cloth nappies do have an impact on the environment by way of water and energy consumption and the detergents/sterilising solutions required to clean them.
When making the choice to use disposable nappies it is important to take into account the ongoing cost of buying nappies as the costs add up over the 2-3 years that your child will be in nappies.
There are many different brands of disposable nappies available, some come in slightly different styles for boys and girls with added absorbency at the front for boys and through the middle for girls, and some are unisex. The cost of disposable nappies varies hugely depending on the quality of the nappy and how many you buy at a time (it is cheaper to buy in bulk) but you can expect to pay anywhere between 19c per nappy up to 60c per nappy.
Huggies also run the envirocomp program through Christchurch City Council, composting disposable nappies - check out their website http://www.envirocomp.co.nz/