Parents urged to ditch disposable nappies

Parents around the world are being encouraged to opt for reusable nappies in a week long publicity campaign.

Running from the 24th to the 30th of April, the tenth Real Nappy Week will be marked by over 500 events aimed at raising awareness of environmental and economic issues among the nappy-buying public.

These include more than 60 "nappachinos", where parents will be invited to learn about the benefits of cloth nappies over coffee.

In Maidenhead, organisers will build a nappy mountain to demonstrate how much waste is produced by one baby who wears disposable nappies.

Fashion shows and other events will take place as far a field as Australia, Mexico and Hong Kong.

The campaign is being co-ordinated by the Women's Environmental Network.

Biba Hartigan from WEN said: "We are bowled over by the level of interest there is in Real Nappy Week this year. So many people have cottoned on to how cute real nappies look, how well they perform, and their potential to save money and save waste. With so many activities and so many styles on display, parents are really spoilt for choice."

Kerry Newton, the owner of Sam I Am, an online store selling cotton nappies, said that Real Nappy Week was helping to bring her products into the mainstream.

"More and more people are giving them serious thought. It's no longer got the hippy image," she told edie. "It definitely is raising awareness. As the years go by, it's loosing its freakishness."

Eight million disposable nappies are thrown away every day in the UK. But not everyone is convinced that a return to cotton is the answer.

A recent Environment Agency study concluded that there was little or no difference between the damage done to the environment by disposable and re-usable nappies, and another study comparing the life cycles of disposable and reusable nappies is due to be published this autumn. A spokeswoman for the agency said it had "no specific view" on Real Nappy Week.

Jess McCabe





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