Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Prevention of nappy waste is best

Thanks to everyone who came to the real nappy flashmob today. We are parents who have discovered reusable nappies and love them. We are saying to other parents "try zero waste nappies, you may find you love them too".

We held the event because today the first ever Waste Prevention Plan for England was published. There is no mention of nappies in it. It's disappointing but we do understand that talking about nappies can create unhelpful headlines such as Parents forced to wash nappies. We also understand that some people don't want to or are unable to wash nappies and disposables work for them. However, we also know that more people would use reusable nappies if they were easier to buy/get hold of and seemed a bit more 'normal'.

In the Autumn Statement chancellor George Osborne forecast a return to pre-1948 levels of public spending by 2019. It's a good thing the treasury is not responsible for the cost of disposable nappy waste as it wasn't a line on the budget back then. However local authorities ie council tax payers are going to have to pay for it.

With 729 674 births in England and Wales (ONS) in 2012, the cost to the council tax payer of disposing of 3 billion nappies every year (8 million a day) is in the region of £40 million and going up. £70 per tonne of which goes to the government in landfill tax, a fiscal measure designed to reduce waste to landfill, especially that which releases methane - a potent climate change gas. The cost to the council tax payer of those who choose to wash nappies will be zero. Apart from the small percentage that is spent on information, incentives and rewards to encourage the uptake of reusable nappies.

Is it really okay for this Waste Prevention Programme to ignore the parents, nurseries, healthcare workers and local authorities that are reducing disposable nappy waste? And what about some recognition for the businesses that help households use alternatives to disposable nappies?


We're using today to help people find out about real nappies because we love them! Want to find out more?

Look for a local nappy library in your area.

Find out if your London borough offers a real nappy incentive here.

Click here for info about eco-disposables.


Interested to find out about the history of waste prevention in the UK? Look at WEN's paper, published April 2003 Disposable Nappies: a case study in waste prevention.

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