Do you wish cloth nappies were more widely known and accepted in Australia? According to CHOICE Magazine’s latest nappy trial, it looks like things are slowly changing. One in five of their disposable nappy trialists told them they are using cloth nappies or a mix. And a recent CHOICE Online poll showed 40% of over 1000 respondents preferred cloth nappies.
In other countries, local councils have led the way in encouraging the use of cloth nappies. Councils in the United Kingdom have made some real innovations in trying to reduce the 3 billion disposable nappies they throw away every year. Many councils offer a cloth nappy cash back scheme. Others encourage residents to apply for a voucher from the county council to spend at local retailers. Even councils who don’t offer vouchers or rebates provide information about cloth nappies and have a nappy library, so residents can borrow a range of nappies to try before buying their own set. Others provide a month’s free use of a nappy laundry service.
Did you know that in New Zealand it is estimated that the use of cloth nappies has tripled in the last five years, with reports that up to 15% of parents are now using cloth? Surely part of this has to be attributed to the grass roots promotion by local councils through their waste reduction programs as well as their maternal and child health facilities. Some councils provide subsidies, some sponsor cloth nappy education classes, others provide nappy kits to antenatal classes, many promote the use of cloth nappies as a way parents can save money (and reduce their waste).
So what are local councils in Australia doing? There are some who have become involved in the Reusable Nappy Week organised by the AustralianNappy Network. The City of Casey (Vic) hosts a Nappy Expoduring Reusable Nappy Week and has a rebate scheme. Some councils involve cloth nappy businesses in their sustainable expos, others provide information on modern cloth nappies through their Maternal Child Health Centres. But, on the whole, considering the environmental credentials of many local councils, it is surprising that more isn’t being done. Maybe we need to let our local councils know that Modern Cloth Nappies exist…
If your local council is a supporter of cloth nappies, please send them an email to let them know you appreciate what they are doing.
If you’re interested in doing something yourself to help increase awareness of cloth nappies, the Australian Nappy Network is planning events for Reusable Nappy Week 11-17October 2010 and is looking for ideas and volunteers. If you or someone you know, or even your local cloth nappy shop is planning something for Reusable Nappy Week, ask if they need any help and see you can get your local council involved, or at least advertise it on their website.
What's your local council's attitude to Modern Cloth Nappies?