Parents are being urged to convert from using disposable nappies on their babies to modern washable cloth nappies (real nappies) during Real Nappy Week 21-27 April 2008 to avoid sending waste to landfill and help combat climate change.
The annual campaign is co-ordinated by non-governmental organisation Womens Environmental Network (WEN) and the Real Nappy Campaign that claim the operation will raise awareness of the benefits of modern washable cloth nappies. WEN director Emma Burnell said: Real Nappies are energy saving and they can save mothers around £500 on the cost of keeping a baby if they stop buying disposable nappies. They can also divert waste from landfill.
Local Authorities are keen to reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill, and through our Real Nappies for London scheme, we are working directly with 13 London Councils to promote real nappies and reduce the amount of disposable nappies thrown away."
In 2005 the Environment Agency published a controversial study entitled Lifecycle assessment of disposable and reusable nappies in the UK. It concluded that whether parents used disposable nappies or Real Nappies made little difference to the environment. The EA are currently conducting a new study on the issue to see if any facts have changed since then.
Nearly three billion disposable nappies are thrown away in the UK every year according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme.
WEN project officer Kay Wagland said: Parents can help to counter climate change and protect their babies with easy to use, modern, self-fastening real nappies. The most climate friendly option is washing nappies at home in the recommended way. It could save them money too.
The campaign will run events such as Nappuccino days where parents can come and talk about real nappies over coffee.
In the meanwhile, a south London-based parent has been presented with a Future Friendly Creativity award by Sir Trevor McDonald for her recycling website, www.nappyvalley.co.uk.
Designer of the website Joanna Pearce created Nappy Valley as an online portal for mums to buy and recycle their used baby gear within their local community. Products available include second hand cots, prams and toys. Pearce said: Rather than buying mass produced toy products that are made overseas like power rangers people can buy second hand crates of lego.
Sometimes it can be difficult for mothers to get rid of heavy items like cots with this service it is a lot easier to get rid of the whole product because the buyer can collect it off you.
On using cloth nappies Pearce added that many parents have good intentions of using reusable nappies but it is very difficult to fit in the time to do all the washing.
For more information see www.wen.org.uk/nappies