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Encouraging the use of real nappies

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In the London borough of Bexley babies’ disposable nappies makes up four per cent of overall waste. Bexley LBC wanted to increase the profile of real nappies to get more families using them, and so applied for funding to compare three different incentive schemes - cash back, giveaway and voucher - with a view to developing an overall London real nappy scheme.

Bexley approached the local laundry service and the Lollipop nappy advisory service to produce the scheme. Residents are able to apply for three types of trials, all worth£35, two home washing packs and a laundry service trial. A key part of the scheme was making sure that parents to be were well-informed before they received packs to give them the best chance possible of using - and continuing to use - the nappies. They were required to go to a meeting or have a demonstration by one of the partners in the scheme. Health professionals and baby groups in the borough were given training and a demo pack of nappies and information, which they could then use to promote real nappies.

Since the scheme began in April 2005, 180 families have started to use real nappies and Bexley’s research showed that 70% were likely to continue to use them. The research also proved that a trial pack scheme reached people who would not have thought to use real nappies otherwise.

More details from the IDeA here.

For more information contact Rebecca Goodwin, waste minimisation and recycling officer and Beacon Co-ordinator. Email

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