Babies in reusable nappies
Published date: 24 April 2023

Change starts here: Save money and reduce waste this Reusable Nappy Week

North London parents who want to reduce waste and save money this Reusable Nappy Week can now claim a voucher worth £70.

Real Nappies for London runs a subsidy scheme in partnership with North London Waste Authority (NLWA) and its seven constituent boroughs, enabling parents and foster carers with a baby under 18 months, or those expecting a baby, to redeem the voucher against a pack of reusable nappies or trial washable nappy laundry service. The voucher value has been increased from £54 to £70 as part of a week of action to advocate the positive impact reusable nappies can have on the environment and cost savings.

Reusable Nappy Week, taking place from 24 to 30 April 2023, aims to raise awareness about the benefits of reusable nappies. It includes events, special offers and fun educational activities which will be held across London and online.

Disposable nappies contribute significantly to the waste and climate crisis in the UK, with an estimated 3.6 billion nappies being thrown away in the UK each year, costing local authorities over £140 million per annum for disposal. By choosing to use reusable nappies, parents and carers can reduce their carbon footprint, making a positive impact on the environment.

A new Nappy Life Cycle Analysis published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) confirms that reusable nappies are better for the environment than single-use disposable nappies. The report revealed that across their lifecycle, reusable nappies have a 25% lower carbon footprint than single-use nappies. This figure can be improved even further depending on how parents decide to wash and dry the products.

If every child in nappies in the UK were to use reusable nappies instead of single-use nappies, the carbon saving would be the equivalent of 700 million car miles – that’s 3,000 trips to the moon.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Chair of NLWA, said: “The mix of materials in disposable nappies makes them one of the biggest single contributors to plastic waste. The environmental impact of producing them is nearly nine times higher than it is for reusable nappies, and nearly 10 times greater when it comes to their disposal.

“That’s why we are pleased to fund the reusable nappy subsidy scheme, which enables families to reduce waste and save money. We hope increasing the voucher value from £54 to £70 will encourage even more parents to explore the benefits of reusable nappies – which are washable, can be used on multiple babies, offer a cost saving in the long run and have a 25% lower carbon footprint than single-use nappies.

“We all need to adapt our everyday behaviours to protect the planet. On average a baby will require at least 4,000 nappy changes, so even using sustainable alternatives occasionally can make a big difference.”

The voucher scheme can save households with a baby in nappies up to £324 per year. These savings can be doubled if the nappies are used on subsequent children.

Alice Walker, Project Manager at Real Nappies for London, a waste prevention project administered by Wen (Women’s Environmental Network), said: “This Reusable Nappy Week, we are thrilled to announce the increase in voucher value to £70 in North London participating boroughs. It shows commitment to the promotion of reusable nappies and supports Londoners further during the cost-of-living crisis.

“We’re excited to see the positive impact it will have on reducing single-use plastic waste and helping families to save money.”