More and more London households are discovering that reducing their environmental footprint makes them feel good. As a city we are learning to love recycling and prevent food waste. But sometimes it’s hard to change a habit and make that step into the unknown.

Real Nappies for London, the campaign to reduce London’s disposable nappy waste understands that the majority of parents want to opt for the alternative to single-use nappies but just don’t get round to it. So for this Real Nappy Week (24 – 30 April 2017), in partnership with the national real nappy information service Go Real, they are asking parents to give cloth nappies a go and for the first six weeks they will have a virtual community to support them.

Alice Walker, Project Manager at Real Nappies for London says, “This is about parents trying real nappies with the support and guidance of experienced real nappy parents, so that they feel more comfortable and confident in switching to reusable nappies, hopefully continuing until their baby is potty trained. We’re asking parents to start/restart using real nappies and to tell us about their progress over six weeks. This is a fun and engaging campaign, and a chance to be part of a community, do something that makes them feel good and makes a difference to the planet.”

Disposable nappies have become the norm but at a cost to the environment, as well as parents’ pockets. An Environmental Life Cycle Analysis published by the Environment Agency in 2008, comparing reusable and disposable nappies, revealed that reusable nappies could have up to 40% lower carbon impacts than single-use nappies. Families can save around £100 – £1,000 over 2.5 years if they use washable nappies rather than disposables.

We are accustomed to the “buy it, use it, throw it” lifestyle. Cloth nappies are a perfect circular economy model; they can be used not only for your first child but also for your second child, or passed on to other parents when your set of real nappies is no longer needed. If you can’t or don’t want to wash nappies yourself you can always use a nappy laundry service.
Parents can find out whether their London borough offers a real nappy voucher by visiting the RNfL website. The UK Cloth Nappy Network and some local authorities offer nappy packs as an alternative way of trying washable nappies before they buy. During Real Nappy Week and throughout the year, there are also opportunities to attend face-to-face real nappy demonstrations run by real nappy advisors as well as “Give and Take” events where parents can pick up pre-loved real nappies.

To get involved with the #switchforsix campaign, parents sign up on the RNfL website.  Parents are invited to engage with the campaign by using the hashtag whilst posting pictures on social media with an update of their experience.  Parents are also encouraged to join the Switch for Six Facebook Group where they can ask any questions they have about using, washing and drying real nappies. All questions will be answered by Real Nappies for London, Go Real and Real Nappy Advisors, as well as parents who have successfully used real nappies and taken part in the volunteer meet-up session run by RNfL and the Hackney Real Nappy Network.

Since the start of the Real Nappies for London scheme in 2007 over 11,000 London parents have claimed and used its real nappy vouchers.   There is always an opportunity to switch to real nappies, so why not give it a go now for six weeks?

Alice Walker, April 2017

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