Green babies should get council nappy cash

Leaders of local government are calling for a wider adoption of schemes that reward the pockets of parents prepared to use real nappies.

In an effort to reduce the huge number of disposable nappies currently going to landfill, many councils have introduced cash incentives for using less wasteful reusable cloth nappies.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has this week called for groundbreaking ways of tackling the issue to be rolled out across the country.

Several councils have been trialing a scheme where people with new born babies are paid up to £80 to use real nappies instead of throw away ones.

At the Local Government Association Sustainable Communities Summit, on Monday, February 13 councils were encouraged to adopt the scheme to help them tackle the growing ‘nappy mountain’.

Nearly 3 billion nappies are thrown away in the UK every year with 90% ending up in landfill.

Nappy disposal costs each local authority hundreds of thousands of pounds each year and landfill sites are becoming increasingly rare and expensive to use.

Schemes already in effect include money off council-run laundry services and payments towards purchasing real cotton nappies.

The LGA’s Cllr David Sparks said: “It is vital that new and innovative ways of encouraging people to cut the amount they throw away are found.

“The growing nappy mountain is a real problem for the environment, for council taxpayers and for families.

“Paying people to take up reusable nappies gives families the chance to save money, understand that they are almost as easy to use as disposable ones and help reduce damage to the environment in the process.

“While people may opt for sticking with disposable nappies, this scheme gives a financial incentive to hard pressed families to try other more cost effective and greener options.

“For council taxpayers and local people this is a win-win situation. Local people get extra cash to reduce the costs of bringing up a child and the taxpayer has the amount of money their council spends on landfill cut.”

Sonia Fevre, a speaking for the Women’s Environmental Network’s (WEN) real nappy campaign, said the LGA’s push was welcome but that it needed to go hand in hand with efforts to educate the public so parents could make an informed choice.

“Overall we are very pleased with this,” she told edie.

“We also work with councils to promote real nappy incentive schemes so this seems like a progressive move.

“But In addition to incentive schemes its important to provide information and ways that people can find out more, the two things go hand in hand.

“More needs to be spent on marketing – at the moment that is a problem because real nappies don’t have the financial backing behind them that the disposable nappy industry has.”

She said reusables had a clear advantage over disposables.

“You can sum them up in three simple words: waste, cost and health.”

By Sam Bond

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