Tackling the nappy mountain

“If you use one reusable nappy once a day you could save up to 365 disposable nappies going into land fill every year.”

Carly Catalano

In this extract from Small Steps to Less Waste: stories to inspire change, Carly Catalano discusses the many benefits of switching to reusable nappies.

Carly Catalano and her daughter Flo

An estimated three billion disposable nappies are used every year in the UK. That is a crazy amount, especially when most disposable nappies don’t get recycled and end up in landfill or get burnt. Throwaway nappies not only contain plastic but are packaged in it as well. According to Friends of the Earth, they can take up to 500 years to break down, and even when they do they will produce methane which contributes to global warming.

In the long run reusable nappies will save you money. It is said that by the time children are potty trained they will have used up to 6,000 disposable nappies, which will go directly into landfill. To save on water, I do also suggest that when you clean your reusable nappies you wait until you have a full load of washing.

There is some good news though: disposable nappies create so much household waste that the UK Government has now started taking action on this. There are plans to set up a Government-led campaign to promote reusable nappies and help families cut down on single-use plastic, which is a huge step. The Nappies (Environmental Standards) Bill 2017–19, will encourage all local authorities to implement the scheme that will help people to start using reusable nappies.

Reusable nappies, and homemade cloths used instead of wet wipes

I feel extremely lucky that Gloucester has a scheme already in place to help parents purchase reusable nappies. I took advantage of this and bought from the company Tot Bots. Stroud Maternity Hospital also provides you with a reusable nappy when you have a baby there.

Nappy rash
• The UK disposes of around 3 billion disposable nappies
each year, representing an estimated 2% to 3% of all
household waste.
• By the time one baby is potty trained the baby could use
4,000 to 6,000 disposable nappies. In comparison, a
baby only needs around 20 to 30 modern reuseable
nappies and these can also be used by any siblings that
come along.
• Although reuseable nappies cost a few pounds each
initially and need to be laundered, they can save parents
around £200 to £500 over 2.5 years for their first baby
and even more if reused for subsequent children.
Source: wrap.org.uk

Join us for a launch event of Small Steps to Less Waste as part of Stroud Book Festival, Sat 6 Nov 2021 3pm @AtelierStroud