Right, so this week has been interesting to say the least! If you have been following me on social media you will by now be all too aware of the new Pampers influencer campaign designed to prove that their nappies are in fact the driest out there. Seems like the normal type of advert for single-use nappies right? Always trying to prove their nappies will keep a baby’s bum the driest. Yep, except that in this instance they decided to take their marketing steps too far by asking parents/influencers/bloggers to take 2 perfectly good nappies and soak them with water to really prove their point. Now, if that had been 1 nappy on a TV ad I doubt any of us would have batted an eyelid. I mean we’ve seen that most days on our screens for over 30 years now haven’t we? However, when they are asking 100’s of people to pour 200 ml of water on each of them to test which is drier on their cheeks all for a huge Instagram campaign, well that’s a different story…
One of the influencer ads setting out the requirements of this campaign:
You see, when you take a step back and look at it in the way that I did, you will realise that these ads have all binned 2 perfectly good nappies each. When I clicked on the Instagram hashtag #cheektest on Tuesday evening there were 148 posts just on this campaign. That is a whopping 296 extra nappies sent to landfill or to incineration (as most of the UK waste is nowadays).
Nappies that weren’t even used!!
And for what? For a HUGE company to make even more money? So that they can continue to promote a one use product in a time when we are fully aware of the damage we have already caused? In a time when scientists are warning us that we have just 12 years to make a change or our children will be facing a very uncertain future. To encourage waste at a time like this is hugely irresponsible.
Not to mention the fact that 1 in 5 families are currently living in poverty in the UK. Families who would probably scream at this campaign for throwing away perfectly good nappies. Nappies that they may desperately need. I’m pretty sure that those 296 nappies would have been far better off going to a food bank than straight into a bin, unused.
As a cloth nappy parent, I am now very much aware of the scary facts that surround the disposable culture and after doing my own research– thanks to the Baba and Boo Website– last year I was shocked enough to make the switch from single-use nappies to reusable ones.
- Single-use nappies are made from plastic and wood pulp. Both of which are created by dirty, resource-intensive manufacturing processes.
- Around seven million trees are cut down in the UK every year just to make the pulp for single-use nappies.
- It takes a cup of crude oil to make just ONE single use nappy.
- A baby will be changed an average of 5,000 to 6,000 times. Which means that if you have two children, you’re likely to need 10,000 to 12,000 nappies.
- The UK throws away around 400,000 tonnes of single-use nappies each year, which are thought to take between 450 and 550 years to degrade.
- Every year, the UK floods – a trend which scientists say is going to get worse. A huge part of the solution is in the way we manage our land – in particular, trees. Trees are essential for water management – they prevent soil erosion (which in turn reduces water pollution); they provide habitats for wildlife; they cut air pollution. And yet every single year, we cut down seven million trees to manufacture nappies that will be used for – at most – a few hours.
- Washing three loads of nappies a week uses about 200 litres of water.
- Manufacturing enough single-use nappies for a week? About 1,550 litres.
- Overall, using single-use nappies means using nearly TEN TIMES more water than reusables.
- We throw away eight million single-use nappies every day in the UK – over 3 billion a year.
- Single-use nappies include ingredients like bleach, dioxins, perfumes, odour blockers, polyurethane, amongst many other things.
- As a single-use nappy rots, it releases more of those dioxins and bleaching chemicals, plus methane, one of the most worrying greenhouse gases.
I mean there are so many more facts and if the environmental ones don’t choke you up perhaps the monetary one will?
- If you buy all the reusable nappies you’ll need up front they will cost you £195.
- If you buy all the disposable nappies you’ll need upfront they will cost you around £1,000.
So, if you too are shocked when you read this you may now understand why I felt I had no choice but to react to Pampers’ #cheektest campaign on social media. I created my counter-campaign #TheCheekOfClothNappies
View this post on Instagram
I see you there with your Pampers on your cheeks (#cheektest btw) with their plastic and chemicals and 500 year lifespan in landfill and I raise you my eco-friendly cloth nappies, with their gentle on skin materials, reusable benefits and cute designs. And no I wasn’t paid to put these on my cheeks I just want to raise awareness to help to save our planet. If you want to join in please do!! Use the hashtag #TheCheekOfClothNappies and lets fill instagram with pretty cloth!!! #MakeClothMainstream #ClothNappies #ClothDiapers #ClothBum #EcoFriendly #Reusable #Reuse #ReusableNappies #makewashingnotlandfill #ReduceWaste #DrowningInPlastic #cleanuptheworld #NoMoreLandfill
What This Was
An idea to make a stand against unnecessary waste. I didn’t even think it through. I saw red, I asked my husband to take a candid shot of me (400 photos later…) and I uploaded it to Instagram. Did I expect anyone to join in? Not really. Did I expect there to be a worldwide stand? Certainly not. Did I expect it to be shared almost 400 times on Facebook? No way!
You see, I’ve been on the blogging scene for just over 3 years now but I am a small blogger. I’ve never made the big time, I hadn’t ever really strived to in all honesty and I have certainly never gone viral before. Yes, I have posted my opinions over the years, yes I have had quite a passionate rants but this one seemed to grab people’s attention and I completely know why. They are as scared as I am.
We have these scary facts about the state of our planet being thrown at us daily. You click onto social media and at some point in the day you will be facing headlines like ‘we only have 12 years to make a change’, ‘There are so many micro-plastics in our water that they are now inside all marine life’, ‘If we don’t ensure that our planet doesn’t warm another 1.5° in the next 12 years we will be facing a crisis’.
And of course, a lot of us are still in shock after the TV shows ‘Drowning In Plastic’, ‘Blue Planet and ‘Fashion’s Dirty Secrets’. 2018 was definitely the year for highlighting what we have done, how our disposable culture has wrecked our planet and why change HAS to happen in order to secure a future for us all.
And so, my tongue in cheek post captured the attention of parents from all over the world and they began to post their own photos holding their cloth nappies to their faces using my #. The funny thing is, they also added the Pampers # at the same time! Now, I never asked any of them to do this but as they did and the #cheektest feed very quickly started to fill up with cloth rather than single-use nappies I was being inundated with messages of support. It was very clear to see that this movement meant so much to people and that their passion was as big as mine.
What all of us wanted was for Pampers to realise that what they had asked influencers to do was irresponsible. I wanted them to speak out and say ‘yes, you are right, we were completely wrong with this’. We all wanted this campaign to be pulled and for Pampers to think about their actions in future. This whole counter-campaign is an environmental stand against a huge corporation.
What This Wasn’t
Now, as I said before, I had no idea this counter-campaign would take off like this and the last thing I expected was the backlash that those who had taken part in the Pampers campaign took on. I never ever asked anybody to comment on those ads, I didn’t name any of those influencers and I knew that some weren’t even influencers but just parents who had joined in via other routes, such as through Emma’s Diary. Unfortunately, a lot of people were angry and upset and as Pampers seemed to hide away from it all, the influencers unwittingly found themselves the only face of the company. Now, I am certainly not condoning any of those awful comments and I certainly do not agree with any form of online bullying BUT through all of the arguments, the upset, the debates, we did manage to talk things through and hopefully calm the storm. However, I think we all need to keep in mind the fact that Pampers has not once spoken up. They didn’t come onto Instagram to defend the people they paid to do this campaign, they didn’t offer them advice or support and they so far haven’t even acknowledged that any of this has gone on!
It is such a shame that some people took to their keyboards to leave nasty comments on those ad posts but at the same time, don’t forget that I have also had my own fair share of backlash. I just haven’t aired it as I didn’t want to make that the focus or to cause further issues. Plus I know that as a blogger, I open myself up to criticism on a daily basis, I know that I have to deal with others’ opinions and that it all comes with the territory, whether you think it is fair or not. If you make yourself public you have to more often than not learn to take some things on the chin.
This was not a personal stand against those who use single-use nappies. I mean, I only made the swap last year so I am certainly not one in any position to pass judgement. The only focus for me was to spread the message that Pampers was wrong and that they needed to be more forward-thinking with their campaign and perhaps even with their products. I mean, why could they not start to sell cloth nappies? Think of the impact they could have then!
I don’t want to dwell on the negativity because that will mean that our passion will be drained and our focus will shift. I have made this stand, not for me, but for my children’s future. I cannot sit back and say oh well, it’s their problem because it isn’t! WE created these problems. We came through the 90’s celebrating the disposable wipe, the throwaway cups, the single-use nappy, the liquid soap in its plastic container, the ease of clingfilm, the billions of beauty products all in their one-use plastic bottles…
And look at what it has done to the planet. It makes me so incredibly sad and I have cried over worry for what the future holds. I don’t want a future where the next generation will have to make huge sacrifices in order to just survive. I want my boys to have a happy life, a greener life, a safe life. So, if it means that I have to post a ridiculous photo of me with cloth nappies on my cheeks every now and then, that’s what I will do because if nobody stands up to these huge greedy companies right now, what will the future hold?
If you also want to make a stand, if you feel passionately about unnecessary waste and if you want to make Pampers listen, please do come and join in with my #TheCheekOfClothNappies on Instagram. Let’s continue to be the change!
*You may have noticed that all the way through this I use the term single-use rather than disposable. I did this because they are not disposable. They are used once and thrown away. We will NEVER dispose of them… well perhaps in 500 years if they do actually breakdown? And by using the term single-use it will hopefully make us look at what we are throwing away in a different light?
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