Cloth nappies to help save the planet for next generation

Oxfordshire’s parents are helping to reduce the amount of plastics we use and throw away, with a huge resurgence of interest in alternatives to disposable nappies.

Oxfordshire County Council is leading the way by loaning cloth nappy kits to parents so that they can ‘try before they buy’, helping to encourage the switch from disposables, which make up approximately 10% of all waste in Oxfordshire, and contain plastics that currently can’t be recycled.

The council is working with local community groups and organisations across the county to promote the environmental benefits of cloth, or ‘real’ nappies. A Banbury cloth nappy loan kit supplier has seen a 50% increase in requests compared to the same time last year, and in Oxford there is a waiting list to borrow them.

Councillor Yvonne Constance, county council member for the environment, said: “Any new parent has an awful lot to deal with, so nappies need to be easy to use and comfortable for babies and toddlers to wear.

“Modern cloth nappies are very different from the traditional terry cloth versions of the past, and are now light, soft and easy to use, as well as coming in attractive colours and designs.”

Disposable nappies are bad for the environment and the taxpayer; costing the council around £1m a year to throw them away.

Oxford parent Rachael Monks, said: “All three of my children have been in cloth, the youngest is 21 months so still using them. Nappy rash is virtually non-existent and they have plenty of padding when they fall down!

“People may be put off by the initial cost but once you consider the ongoing spend for disposable nappies, using cloth is a money-saver. Drying them is easy: on the line when it's dry and overnight on the airer when it's not. You'll also avoid stinky bins filled with disposable nappies in the summer.”

Councillor Constance added: “If cloth nappies are washed at up to 40 degrees and dried on a washing line, the environmental benefits are enormous, especially if they are then used for more than one baby.”

If you are interested in giving cloth nappies a go and want to borrow a trial kit, please call 01865 816043 or email waste.management@oxfordshire.gov.uk