Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Teddy Bears' Picnic and Real Nappies!

Real Nappies Week is next week (21-27 April) and there are a variety of events on in the borough to promote real nappies, including a 'Teddy Bears' Picnic Nappucino' at Ladywell Childrens' Centre:

Teddy Bears Picnic Nappuccino
Tuesday 22 April, 10am-midday, Ladywell Children's Centre, 30 Rushey Mead, London, SE4 1JJ. Come along to find out more about Real Nappies over coffee and cake. All ages welcome. 'Best Real Nappy Dressed Teddybear' prize! If you would like to attend contact Lewisham's Real Nappy Officer Vivienne Thomson .

Real Nappy Stall

Friday 25 April
Womens' Health Centre, Lewisham Hospital
10am onwards

Greenwich Market Real Nappy Event
Saturday 26 April
Greenwich Market, London SE10 9HZ
10am onwards

The Real Nappies for London scheme has run in Lewisham since 2007, when the Mayor accepted the Green Party's proposal to take part in and help fund the scheme. The service was threatened by council cuts this year, but Greens managed to secure further funding for 2008/09, despite the Lib Dems proposal to scrap the scheme (funny that, when the Lib Dems up in Camden were outraged when Barnet Tories tried to do the same, but I digress).

Lewisham offers a £30 voucher to parents towards the costs of buying real nappies, as incentive to encourage their use over disposables and to and reduce the amount of money the Council has to spend collecting and incinerating disposable nappies.

Last time I blogged about Real Nappies, there was a heated debate over on Brockley Central about whether the Council should be signed up to the scheme, but the latest figures have shown that Lewisham is one of London's most enthusiastic boroughs for 'real nappies', with parents' take-up of the vouchers' scheme being the third highest in London.

Yes, the scheme costs money to run, and at the moment it costs more than it saves in waste disposal costs, but longer-term, as more parents take up the voucher offer, this won't necessarily be the case. There is also a wider issue about waste reduction, reducing carbon emissions by transporting less waste around the borough and raising awareness of environmental issues. It also costs more to collect and process recycling than sending all our waste to the incinerator, but I think most people would agree that we shouldn't scrap our recycling service.

It costs the Council £52.31 per household per year to collect domestic waste and municipal waste disposal costs per tonne are £40.60. Disposable nappies comprise 4% of the waste stream in Lewisham, and for a family with a child in disposable nappies, they can comprise as much as 50% of the waste in their wheelie bin. So, giving families a £30 voucher to reduce their waste by half for approx 2 years (more if they go on to have more than one child) can save £52.31 in waste disposal costs. The more people who join the scheme, the more cost-efficient it becomes once administration costs are factored in.

Parents are estimated to save as much as £500 per child by using real nappies. To kit out a baby in real nappies can cost under £50. The same amount of money would only buy seven weeks of disposables. And of course the savings are greater for any subsequent children you may have.

1 comment:

hilly said...

...and you forgot to mention that babies look lovely in their big bum real nappies