Real Nappies for London: a “bottom-up” approach to reducing waste and creating community! What I learned from the Real Nappies for London’s Breakfast Briefing.

By May 17, 2018 No Comments
17th May 2018
by Charlotte Hawthorne
I am not a mum, do not look after children in my day-to-day, and now that I think of it… have never actually changed a nappy. However, after attending theReal Nappies for London Breakfast Briefing earlier this month, you can find me chatting away about reusable nappies to anyone remotely involved in childcare because, ladies and gentlemen, nappies are also a sustainability issue.

What are Real (zero-waste) nappies, and why should they be the norm?


Watch the video on the Real Nappies for London home page by following the link below:

There are three strong arguments in favour of reusable cloth nappies over disposable plastic ones:

It's Better for the Planet

Each baby uses around 6 diapers a day. That’s 2000 a year. 6000 by the time toilet training sticks. That’s A LOT of nappies that can’t be recycled, going to landfill or incineration, putting pressure on our already overburdened planet. “Britain throws away nearly three billion nappies a year. That’s around eight million a day. 90% of disposables end up in landfill, [...] disposable nappies produce methane gas”- methane has four times more of a greenhouse gas effect than CO2.

It's Better for your Wallet

Switching to reusable nappies saves you a serious amount of money, especially if you have more than one child. “A recent study showed a saving of up to £1,000 compared to disposables”.

It's Better for your Baby

Real nappies are less harsh on skin, encourage earlier potty training… and they just look way cooler.

Real nappies are mostly made of natural fabrics which are much better for your babies skin than the super-absorbant chemicals, plastics, and pulp which makes up disposables. RNfL say “Babies that wear nappies that get wet, such as cotton or bamboo are stimulated to experiment with bladder control and tend to potty and night train more easily than babies that wear ‘stay dry’ nappies”.

Just remember to change your baby’s nappy every few hours to prevent nappy rash- soiled nappies cause rash- not wet nappies.

Image source:

Have a go at using Real Nappies!

The Real Nappies for London movement is more than just nappies. It’s also about meeting other like-minded people, taking pro-environmental action and being part of events where you and your baby can have fun.

As Real Nappies can be washed and passed on to other childcarers, this allows for connections to flourish within the community. RNfL have organised some great events such as Real Nappy Swap shops and Libraries where you can exchange knowledge and trial nappies, the largest nappy change event (breaking the world record), and real nappy cat-walk fashion shows.

Reusable nappies are no longer a “hippie” thing for the very few; you can find them in your local supermarkets and many myths regarding their use have been dispelled.

Some London boroughs are involved in a incentive scheme allowing residents to get a “starter pack” of reusable nappies for an extremely reduced price:

Let us know what your thoughts are, Tweet us @LSx_News.

Don’t forget you can find out more about Real Nappy Week by following the hashtag #RNW2018.

Womens Environmental Network

London Community Resource Network

Real Nappies for London

Croydon Real Nappies Network