picture-1Today’s New Zealand Herald carries a story about a West Auckland maternity hospital, Waitakere Hospital, that has made the switch to modern cloth nappies. This alone will save  80 000 nappies from going to landfill every year. 

 

New dress code for babies to save planet 

Parents leaving the hospital with their babies will have the choice of hiring a cloth nappy kit at half the usual price, or switching to disposables.

West Auckland Health Services Foundation’s Dr Nicole Bassett said using cloth nappies could cut the household waste of a family with one baby in half.

The foundation and Waitakere City Council decided to switch to cloth nappies after a three-month pilot scheme saved about 20,000 nappies going to landfill.

Dr Bassett said feedback from the pilot scheme showed cloth nappies were not difficult to use and did not cost the hospital significantly more than disposable nappies.

Parents who picture themselves struggling with pins and squares of fabric might be pleasantly surprised at the new breed of cloth nappies. Dr Bassett said modern versions came prefolded in different shapes and sizes and fastened neatly with velcro.

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Figures compiled by the Zero Waste New Zealand Trust and used by the Waitakere City Council said disposable nappies used 3.5 times more energy, eight times more non-renewable raw materials, and 90 times more renewable materials than washable nappies.

The figures also showed that it took as much energy to produce one throwaway nappy as it did to wash a cloth nappy 200 times.

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British report reveals reusable nappies offer substantial enviro benefits.

From the Australian Nappy Network:


The Environment Agency, UK, has revealed that using reusable nappies, as opposed to disposable ones, can save families, carers and the environment 40% in carbon emissions.

The ‘Updated Lifecycle Assessment Study for Disposable and Reusable Nappies’, published on Friday in the UK, was the largest and most comprehensive study of its type ever to be undertaken examining the environmental impacts of the two nappy systems. 

Lucy Westerman, Director of the Australian Nappy Network is delighted with the findings, saying that, “This report represents a dramatic step forward in propelling community education, amongst parents and carers, and confirms exactly what we have known for many years – that reusable nappies really are much better for the environment than disposables.”

The quantity of disposable nappies currently being sent to landfill, in Australia alone, is reaching dramatic proportions.  Recent research shows that Australians are throwing away one billion disposable nappies every single year, with each of these taking up to 300 years to fully decomposei. 

“The environmental impact of disposable nappies in Australia is immense,” explains Ms Westerman.  “Coupled with the landfill issue you also have to consider the impact of the materials, chemicals and resources that go into the manufacturing and packaging of disposables.”

“The Report demonstrates that by simply washing reusable nappies in full loads, using an energy efficient washing machine, set under 60º Celsius, line-drying them and reusing them on other children provides over 40% reduction in carbon emissions, compared to the use of disposables.”

“In Australia, obviously we have to be very conscious of using our water efficiently but we have the significant benefit of the climate, which enables most Australians to air-dry throughout the year,” she continued.

Today’s reusable nappies bridge the gap between the cloth of by gone eras and disposables.  Reusables are increasingly produced with minimal impact from highly absorbent sustainable eco-friendly fabrics such as organic cotton, bamboo and hemp.  Such fabrics are incredibly effective and soft for your baby to wear with the added convenience of being quick-drying, fitted like disposables or flat, with velcro, snappis or press-stud fasteners and no longer requiring soaking.

“Typically a baby will get through between 4000 and 6000 nappy changes before it is toilet trained, so when you consider the impact of this on the environment and the cost effectiveness of using reusables, it’s a win-win situation, not only for the environment but for your pocket too.” 
“If you then go on to reuse these nappies on another child you create even greater savings and by adopting reusable nappies means that parents and carers are in control of the impact they have on the environment,” concludes Ms Westerman.

 

Read more here at the Australian Nappy Network.

ANN Cloth Friendly Child Care & Cloth Friendly Hospitals Surveys – Can YOU Help?

The Australian Nappy Network (ANN) will be running and publicising many projects that will help to promote the wider use of reusable nappies.

One of the ANN’s first big projects is a set of search-able databases designed to make it easier for parents to a) choose child care and hospitals that use the nappies they want used on their children and b) equip parents with information about the nappies that are used in hospitals and child care they may need to use.

While we intend to contact service providers to populate the Cloth Friendly Child Care and Cloth Friendly Hospital databases, to start with we would like to ask users of child care and hospital (maternity and pediatric) services to complete a survey for any service they have used, detailing their experiences, knowledge, and the service provider’s willingness to use various types of nappies. The surveys should take no more than a few minutes each to complete.

The surveys can be found at the following links:

Cloth in Child Care:

http://AusNappyNetwork.ClothInCare.sgizmo.com 

Cloth in Hospitals:

http://AusNappyNetwork.ClothInHospitals.sgizmo.com