Friday, March 09, 2007

Real Nappy Week 11th-18th March 2007

Real Nappy Week kicks off this Sunday and there are a number of events planned in Lewisham. Nappies are a significant chunk in the waste stream, with approximately 8 million nappies thrown away in the UK every day. I think promoting real nappy use is an area that Lewisham has not devoted sufficient resources to in the past, on the basis perhaps that as we have an incinerator we don't have to pay landfill tax for our nappy mountain.

So I was of course delighted when we managed to get our Green budget amendment for funding for the Real Nappies for London incentive scheme passed at full council last week. This funds the cost of joining the
Real Nappies for London scheme, which is launching later this year, and for 200 local families to get £30 vouchers towards the cost of buying real nappies.
Anyway, the events:

Monday 12 March, Lewisham Town Centre - Lewisham Council will be hosting an education trailer along with Bumbletots Ltd to provide free information and advice on using real nappies.

Thursday 15 March, Lewisham Library, ground floor cafe – The Women’s Environmental Network will have a stall set up with nappy samples and will offer tutorials on how to put a real nappy on.

New mums and expecting mums will also be in with a chance of winning a nappy pack and one months free laundry service with three runners up winning a nappy pack.

Mums can enter by either visiting the education trailer on Monday 11 March or by emailing recycle@lewisham.gov.uk with their name, telephone number and expected delivery date/age of their new born. All emails must be entitled with the subject “Real Nappy Week”.

The advantages of using real nappies are:

  • Parents are estimated to save around £500.
  • To kit out a baby in real nappies will cost under £50. The same amount of money would only buy seven weeks of disposables.
  • Disposable nappies are made of super-absorbent chemicals, paper pulp, plastics and adhesives, while real nappies are mostly made of natural fabrics better for a babies skin.

Nappy facts:

  • It is not known how long it takes for the plastics in disposable nappies to decompose but it is estimated to take hundreds of years.
  • Nappy disposal costs hundreds of thousand of pounds per year for each local authority.


2 comments:

Andrew Brown said...

One of the reasons the council didn't push real nappies - at least while I had any say in it - was because the evidence is that they make no environmental difference. The Environment Agency report concluded:

For the three nappy systems studied, there was no significant difference between any of the environmental impacts – that is, overall no system clearly had a better or worse environmental performance, although the life cycle stages that are the main source for these impacts are different for each system.

Sue Luxton said...

I had this sneaking feeling you would respond to this Andrew! We could debate this to the cows come home and not agree, so as you've already had this debate with Dean, I'll refer other readers to
Dean's answer, as I generally agree with what's he's said.