In the same year that the UN Life Cycle Initiative endorses reusable nappy use, the Women’s Environmental Network (Wen) took back the Real Nappies for London scheme in April 2021.
Despite an uncertain year for us all having to adjust to Covid restrictions, between 1st Jan – 21st Dec 2021, the scheme had 1,447 families living in the London Boroughs of Bexley, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lambeth and Waltham Forest redeem a reusable nappy voucher. Waltham Forest leading the year with 212 vouchers redeemed and Hackney coming in second with 156 vouchers redeemed.
In the same period, we estimate a proposed 1,228 tonnes of single-use nappy waste in London will have been diverted from the Local Authority Collected Waste Stream, saving Local Authorities an estimated £100,392 in incineration (energy from waste) costs (based on £89/tonne gate fee, excludes haulage costs).
Reusable Nappy Meet and Give & Take at the Islington Ecology Centre – Nov 2021
Reusable Nappy Meet and Give & Take at Real Nappy Life – Nov 2021
We had fun running 61 outreach events throughout the year, varying from online reusable nappy demonstrations and online support sessions, to in-person nappy demonstrations and Reusable Nappy Meet and Give & Take events, where parents can learn about reusable nappies, claim a reusable nappy voucher and have the opportunity to pass-on no longer needed reusable nappies, baby clothes and maternity wear, for free. We also bought back Wen’s ‘Real Nappy Exchange’ as a new online ‘Reusable Nappy Exchange Facebook Group‘.
2021 also saw the return of Reusable Nappy Week (19th – 25th April), formally Real Nappy Week, after it had to be postponed in 2020 due to Covid. Real Nappies for London joined forces with representatives across the industry to form a Reusable Nappy Week Steering Committee. Amongst the reusable nappy demonstrations and online #PassTheNappy activities, Alice took part with a Reusable Nappy Briefing, chaired by Baroness Bennett, looking into what more can be done to promote the environmental, economic and health benefits of reusable nappies. We also joined an Instagram Live with The Nappy Lady and had a Cloth Nappy Natter with Tickle Tots (listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts).
We would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to all the families, volunteers, nappy networks, cloth nappy libraries, retailers, manufacturers, washable nappy laundry services, children centre staff, community midwives, health professionals and Local Authority officers for all of your support and engagement with the scheme throughout 2021. A particular shout out to the Islington Ecology Centre, Real Nappy Life and Nappy Ever After for hosting our in-person events.
We also say thank you and farewell to Brynja Herbertsdottir who joined the project in March 2021 filling in for Jenny Weeks whilst she has been away on maternity leave. I have personally enjoyed hearing about Brynja’s love for using reusable nappies – amongst learning lots about Icelandic traditions – it has been really motivating to have had her be part of the team encouraging others to choose to reuse! Here are a few final words from Brynja,
“I have enjoyed my time at Real Nappies for London, it has been very insightful and taught me so much. I love talking reusable nappies and less waste, and to do this for a living has been a dream come true! I loved meeting all the new parents, writing blog posts and helping parents campaign for a reusable nappy incentive. Thank you Alice and WEN, and welcome back Jenny!”
As we look forward to 2022, we have already received interest and active engagement from other London Boroughs to participate with the voucher incentive scheme helping to support Real Nappies for London widen its reach to engage more families to get started with reusable nappies. If you are keen to get your borough actively involved in supporting and promoting reusable nappies but not sure how to do it, you might like to read our ‘Write to Them Factsheet’.
If you’re thinking about starting reusable nappies in January, as perhaps a new year resolution, then join one of our online, or in-person reusable nappy information events. We have already added some events to our events diary with more to be added next month. We will also be participating with Reusable Nappy Week in April 2022. There will be lots of exciting planning happening in the upcoming months, so watch this space!
From all of us at Real Nappies for London – Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
Alice, Brynja and Jenny x