Oxfordshire parents switching to cloth nappies to reduce plastic waste…. Plastic Free July

It’s Plastic Free July; Oxfordshire’s parents are helping to reduce the amount of plastics that are used and thrown away, with a huge resurgence of interest in alternatives to disposable nappies.

They are being supported by an Oxfordshire County Council initiative to encourage more people to make the switch to environmentally friendly cloth nappies.

The council is offering free cloth nappy loan kits to parents, so they can ‘try before they buy’. The aim is to reduce the thousands of tonnes of nappies that are binned, costing the council around £1m a year to dispose of.

The council has received encouraging feedback about the scheme, with many families deciding to make the switch from disposables to cloth.

Julie Sawyers, from Witney, said: “Before we tried cloth nappies for our son Jacob, we worried they would be difficult to use and not as absorbent as disposables. Also, that the washing routine might be too much work with a new-born.

“The trial kit was brilliant. We used the new-born pocket nappies with bamboo boosters. Once we’d got used to fitting them correctly they worked brilliantly - and the designs are super cute!

“It’s great to be avoiding filling up our rubbish bin with disposable nappies. My husband is convinced too. We’re able to adjust the absorbency so we don’t need to do a nappy change in the night. And there are the longer-term money savings versus disposables.”

Another parent who provided feedback to the council was Meg Neal, from Carterton (pictured).

You can watch her interview on That's Oxfordshire TV here

Meg said: “I felt good about using them for my son Harley-Beau. I love the patterns and prints; and loved it when people noticed we were using them, and asked questions.

“It also helped my son’s eczema greatly. Cloth nappies are free of the chemicals used in disposables. We also changed to cloth wipes; you can add essential oils to the water for a nice scent.”

Meg has some recommendations for other parents:

“The nappy trial kit is key. Finding what works for you with the ease of borrowing is what made a real difference. Also; I would say, don't put pressure on yourself to go cloth full time, or think you are failing if you don't.

“You will continually learn what works for you, and that will also change as your new-born grows. Some days I still use disposables if I’m behind on washing, and that's okay too. Changing one disposable nappy a day to cloth makes a real difference to how many get thrown away.”

Oxfordshire County Council works with local community groups and organisations to promote the benefits of cloth, or ‘real’ nappies.

There are eight volunteer nappy advisors across Oxfordshire, who loan free sample nappy kits and provide advice on how they work.

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.

“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, call 01865 816043 or email waste.management@oxfordshire.gov.uk