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. 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.
• The UK disposes of around 3 billion disposable nappies
each year, representing an estimated 2% to 3% of all
• 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
• 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.
We are delighted to have been Shortlisted for the 2021 Independent Publishers Guild (IPG) Sustainability Award. Of the nomination, the IPG said:
Hawthorn Press launched a new Quickthorn imprint dedicated to books about sustainability and creativity in 2020, including titles on reducing waste and sustainable crafts. It has worked hard to cut its own environmental impacts, in packaging in particular, and worked with local charities and organisations on community projects. “It’s backing up the sustainability messages of its books with meaningful actions of its own,” judges said.
We had a lovely review for Small Steps to Less Waste from Saffia Farr, Editor of Juno magazine. Thanks Saffia.
Small Steps to Less Waste: Stories to Inspire Change by Claudi Williams, Quickthorn
This book is inspirational. It’s a collection of stories and reflections from people who have adapted their lifestyles or set up groups in response to the climate crisis. Claudi Williams’ family set out to live without plastic for a year, and she describes what they learnt and how we can gradually change our habits. Paul Hofman writes about repairing things and repair cafes. Anita van Rossum describes moving to Stroud to support the work of Polly Higgins, “the Earth lawyer”.
What I enjoyed about this book is the range of contributors and how they are all doing such different things. It’s not prescriptive – you must do this – but it inspires you to reflect on your own life and how you might try and reduce your impact. It’s also full of beautiful images and lots of useful facts, and links for more information. It’s a fantastic resource in so many ways: there are patterns to make cloth sanitary pads and cloth bags for vegetable shopping, recipes for plastic-free cleaning products and cosmetics, and instructions on how to patch or repurpose clothes. The climate crisis is overwhelming and it can feel desperate, but books like this can encourage us to keep going and to give us hope that, if we all work together and share our stories, we can make a difference. Saffia Farr, Juno magazine
We were delighted to launch the new title Small Steps to Less Waste with author Claudi Williams and some of the book contributors discussing how we can all make small but important changes that reduce our impact on the environment.
If you missed the online launch, you can watch it again here.
Claudi and Judit had some great tips for those of us just starting out on reducing our waste. The easiest one is to get rid of the plastic sponges from your sink and use compostable or reusable alternatives. We’re quite taken by the loofah we’re trying out and we’re making our own toothpaste too, which is easier and tastier than you might think.
Join Claudi Williams and other contributors to the book for a conversation about how we can support each other to live lives that are better for the planet, including reducing our use of single use plastics and making and repairing instead of buying new. Read more about the contributors and their stories of change.
The event will start at 6 p.m. GMT (London) on Tuesday 30th March 2021. If you live outside the UK you can use this time converter to find out what time the event starts where you live.
The event is free to attend but registration is essential. Register here. Once you’ve registered we will send you a confirmation email with joining details.
Special Offer To celebrate the launch, Small Steps to Less Waste is available to buy for £15 (RRP £20) using the code SSLW until the end of April.
About the Book
Small Steps to Less Waste is published by Quickthorn, an imprint of Hawthorn Press focusing on practical books about making and sustainability. The book is endorsed by environmental champion, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Rob Hopkins, Founder of the Transition movement, and Hugo Tagholm, Chief Executive of Surfers Against Sewage who wrote the Foreword.
“The simple, practical solutions and skills shared here are transferrable and can be replicated in any town and any country anywhere. Individual, everyday actions can become collective action and make a real difference in the world. Keep up the good fight. Every action you take is important.” Hugo Tagholm, Surfers Against Sewage
All royalties from the book go to Action on Plastic. Started by a community group as part of Transition Stroud, Stroud District Action on Plastic launched its website to educate and inform people about alternatives to plastic and to promote more mindful consumption across Gloucestershire.
Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #stepstoless
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