ARTICLE by Charlotte Gelstharp

Government's New Environmental Bill Will Address Nappy Waste

 |  Reading time: 4 minutes
B_for_Blog | Natural Baby Shower

We recently received some exciting news in our mission to get more families to use reusable nappies and discover the personal and environmental benefits of doing so. The British Government has confirmed that powers outlined in the new Environment Bill, currently making its way through parliament, will legislate on nappy waste.

This Environment Bill will address the issue of pollution caused by single use nappies and will aim to help families make informed choices about which nappies they use.

Government confirms legislation will deal with nappy waste

Speaking before the parliamentary debate, David Linden, SNP MP for Glasgow East commented: “My amendment sends a signal for meaningful environmental change. Single-use nappies represent nearly 3% of all UK household waste each year and it’s shameful that single-use nappy manufacturers are inflating their own eco-credentials while filling our landfills with billions of nappies each year. I’m urging the UK government to support my amendment as an important and tangible step in taking action to tackle nappy waste.”

David Linden continued saying, “Parents around the world will use nappies every day. It is therefore incredibly important that such an essential item for families is not continuing to adversely damage the environment. With millions of disposable nappies now in landfill, we have the opportunity to make a change. The babies in nappies today will inherit the world that we leave for them. And we owe it to that future generation to do all we can to protect their planet and pass on a better legacy.”

During the debate (Tuesday 26th January), four speakers focussed specifically on nappies which is unprecedented, but supports Mr Lindens argument that disposable nappies should become a primary focus when tackling single-use plastic waste.

The amendment to the Environment Bill will:

  • Stop single-use nappy manufacturers making false environmental claims,
  • Promote the use of reusable nappies,
  • Require the government to report on steps taken to reduce single-use nappy waste.

Government's New Environmental Bill Will Address Nappy Waste

The problem with single use nappies

Although they haven’t received the same publicity as plastic bags and straws, single-use nappies cause an equally devastating and far-reaching impact on the environment. A staggering 3 billion single-use nappies are thrown away annually in the UK, making up around 3% of our throw-away waste.

Sadly, the burden on the waste system is increased by people who put nappies in recycling, prompted by claims made by single-use nappy manufacturers about their products being eco-friendly, biodegradable or recyclable when they are not. In fact, many of these claims are misleading because they don’t refer to all the materials in the nappy.

The benefits of reusable nappies

Encouraging families to use, or at least try, reusable nappies has been at the core of Natural Baby Shower since the very beginning. Over recent times, society is becoming a lot more aware of the damage our throwaway culture is causing to the planet. Parents want to do their bit to make the planet a little greener for their children to grow up in and are starting to look for alternative eco parenting solutions such as reusable nappies. This is music to our ears, and Government backing such as the new Environmental Bill being processed is a huge step in the right direction.

But what are the benefits of reusable nappies?

Easy on your wallet

Use cloth nappies and save yourself some money! By switching to reusable nappies we estimate that you can save up to £750. Babies can be expensive, so it's worth your investment in the long run. Using cloth nappies will average out at about 0.03p per change compared to 8.7p per disposable. 

Easy for you

Cloth nappies have zoomed into the 21st century with a super soft fluffy landing. Reusable nappies are now cleverly designed nappies which have leak-proof seams for a soft, snug fit and are super absorbent too.

Easy to use, with liner to dispose of the poo, and easy to wash. Don't soak, just store in your nappy bucket, pop them into your machine and wash with non-bio powder at 60, voila!

Easy for baby

Reusable nappies don’t contain chemicals meaning absolutely no harmful chemicals next to your bubba’s delicate bottom.

Cloth nappies are much less likely to cause nappy rash, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions.  Happy days!

Easy on the planet

Did you know that disposable nappies take up to 500 years to decompose and that so called "bio-degradable" nappies don't actually break down in landfill. 

Using cloth nappies halves your weekly rubbish, reduces your carbon footprint by 40%, protects the world your baby will inherit. Even 1 cloth nappy change a day makes a difference. 

Discover our blog on “How to make the switch from disposable to reusable nappies” for lots of helpful information, hints and tips to help make the swap.

 Government's New Environmental Bill Will Address Nappy Waste

Simple steps

A small change can have a significant impact. By even just switching occasionally to reusable nappies, a family can make a big difference to the number of single-use nappies that end up in our waste systems every year and save money too. Modern day reusable nappies are beautifully produced, often using sustainable materials, and have seen a surge in popularity in the past five years.

It’s great to finally see nappies so high up on the agenda in parliament. Government backing such as this Environmental Bill will encourage local authorities to work together to set up more nappy schemes for new families and make sure that any environmental claims made by single-use nappy manufacturers meet established standards to ensure they are accurate and realistic. Mr Linden’s amendments to the Environment Bill will help families make informed decisions about the products they use for their children.

Shop our full range of reusable nappies >>