Disposable nappies danger to environment

THE impact of "disposable" nappies on the environment was highlighted yesterday as part of a campaign to encourage parents to use reusable cloth versions for their babies.

THE impact of "disposable" nappies on the environment was highlighted yesterday as part of a campaign to encourage parents to use reusable cloth versions for their babies.

A pile of 100 full dustbin bags was assembled outside Ipswich's Corn Exchange to demonstrate the volume of waste generated by a single child during its nappy-wearing lifetime.

Eight million nappies are thrown away each day in the UK and they comprise a large percentage of the waste which councils dump at landfill sites.

With the sites filling up Suffolk County Council and other local authorities are having to look for new ways of disposing of the increasing volumes of domestic waste.


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Officials warned recently that the construction of large-scale incinerators will have to be considered within the next ten years to help cope with the waste mountain.

Yesterday's demonstration of the environmental problem caused by disposal nappies was sponsored by the county council and Ipswich Borough Council with the support of the new Ipswich Real Nappy Network (IRNN), comprising parents worried about the impact of disposable nappies on the environment.

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The county council is promoting a Changing Times discount scheme which offers a £30 refund from the purchase and laundering of cloth nappies.

It is also sponsoring a "real nappy" roadshow which is due to tour the county until April 20.

IRNN Chairperson, Rachel Turner, said the group's aims were to raise awareness about "real" nappies and the impact on the environment of so-called disposable nappies.

"Using home-laundered cloth nappies could save parents £500 a year compared with the cost of using disposable nappies.

"Disposable nappies are made of super-absorbent chemicals, paper pulp and plastics while cloth nappies are mostly made out of natural fabrics," she said.

An estimated 15% of parents currently chose to use cloth nappies for their babies and the number is thought to be rising.

Five out of seven mothers who tested washable nappies for a Which? magazine survey were so pleased with their experience they continued to use them.

Nappy Line, a new phone line for details of local cloth nappy sources and laundering services, has been set up in response to increased demand for cotton nappies. The telephone number is 01983 401959.

IRNN offers a range of services to parents and healthcare professionals and also runs "nappaccino" sessions in St Pancras Church hall in Tacket Street, Ipswich, on the first Wednesday of every month, where parents can enjoy coffee and a chat about the care and use of cloth nappies.

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