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Nappy initiative gets to the bottom of a recycling problem

PUBLISHED: 09:52 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:59 07 September 2010

Mums, babies and reusable nappies

Mums, babies and reusable nappies

Bridget Galton discovers that reusable nappies are back in fashion thanks to a new green initiative REAL Nappies Week aims to promote the cleaner, greener credentials of reusable nappies. For the past two years, Camden Council has organised a fashion show where tots crawl or toddle down the runway to display the different options available. The third wi

REAL Nappies Week aims to promote the cleaner, greener credentials of reusable nappies.

For the past two years, Camden Council has organised a fashion show where tots crawl or toddle down the runway to display the different options available.

The third will be held on April 22 at the Waterlow Park Centre, Highgate, from 10.30am.

There will be stalls about 'sustainable parenting', information and refreshments on offer to all new and expectant parents.

Hooking up with the Real Nappies For London initiative, the authority now offers a £54 voucher to offset the initial outlay of buying washable nappies.

Or the money can even go towards a laundry and supply service such as Camden-based Nappy Ever After.

Athena Kugblenu, from the council's street environment services, says: "Camden has been promoting reusable nappies for several years but the voucher scheme is a huge incentive.

"People get an information pack when they apply. They can find a system that works for them and use the voucher to offset the cost."

Ms Kugblenu explains why the council wants to encourage parents to turn their backs on convenient but costly disposables.

"The voucher is worth £54 because that is the landfill cost of dealing with the disposable nappies of one child from birth to potty training.

"We estimate parents will save £500 by using reusable nappies as well as diverting almost a tonne of waste away from landfill."

Different systems range from buying second-hand nappies to paying a laundry service to deliver clean nappies weekly and take away the soiled ones.

On the down side, reusables can be more time consuming, bulky, and awkward for mums out and about to carry around soiled nappies.

There has been concern that the energy used in laundering reusable nappies neutralises the positive effect of reducing landfill waste.

But the latest energy efficient washing machines use less power and new brands of nappies have been designed to dry quickly to avoid hours in the tumble dryer.

"If you use them correctly, you are going to have a positive effect on the environment," says Ms Kugblenu.

"We all tend to turn a blind eye to the waste we throw out every day and if only a small per cent changed their lifestyle it would make a huge difference."

Camden Council aims to get 10 per cent of parents in the borough using disposable nappies by 2010. The figure currently stands at seven per cent.

To apply for the vouchers, which can be redeemed at registered retailers, log on to www.realnappiesforlondon.org.uk.Anyone whose baby could be a model for the real nappies fashion show can contact Harley Collins on 020-7974 3295.

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