Planet Vs Plastics - Celebrating Reusable Nappies this Earth Day

Planet Vs Plastics – Celebrating Reusable Nappies this Earth Day

Earth Day and Reusable Nappy Week fall on the 22nd of April and with this year’s themes of ‘Planet Vs Plastics’ and ‘One Change Big Difference’ the message is clear, making the swap to reusable nappies is good for the environment, early years education, health and it’s money-saving! One change can make a big difference!

Disposable nappies, which can contain nearly 10g of plastic, contribute significantly to the waste and climate crisis in the UK, with an estimated 3.6 billion disposable nappies being thrown away in the UK each year, costing Local Authorities over £140 million per annum for collection and disposal. 

The Nappy Life Cycle Analysis, published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra March 2023), confirms that reusable nappies are better for the environment than single-use disposable nappies. The report revealed that across their lifecycle, reusable nappies have a 25% lower carbon footprint than single-use nappies. If every child in nappies in the UK were to use reusable nappies from single-use nappies, the carbon saving would be the equivalent of 700 million car miles.

But environmental benefits are not the only factor to consider. Studies show that plastic disposable nappies can contain several toxic chemicals with very severe hazard profiles. Newborns and toddlers may be potentially exposed to a combination of harmful chemicals daily for several years. 

A recent study revealed that one out of every four children starting school in England and Wales hasn’t been toilet-trained. School staff are spending an average of 2.5 hours a day away from teaching to manage this issue. This is impacting pupils, who are losing approximately one-third of their learning time each day.

One of the benefits of reusable nappies is that they get thoroughly soaked and this gives the child the sensations that may stimulate them to experiment with holding and releasing their bladders while they are still wearing nappies, helping with potty training.

Using reusable nappies full-time can save you an average of £195 per year. And that’s not all. Many councils in London are signed up to Real Nappies for London voucher scheme which enables parents to claim a voucher for up to £70 towards the cost of buying reusable nappies. You can find out which councils offer the scheme and for more advice contact  Real Nappies for London.

Alice Stevens, Real Nappies for London:  “Reusable nappies are great for the environment, better for your baby and save families money. The voucher scheme helps families with the upfront cost and we run give and take events every month where parents take nappies to try for free!”

Quote from parents

 Sruthi Ramesh, a mum-of-one from Islington: “I would 100% recommend using reusable nappies. It’s way easier than I thought it was going to be. Washing them is way easier than I thought it was going to be.”

Marguerite Williams, a mum-of-three from Hackney who works as a midwife across north London: “When we’ve used disposables we’ve found that we’ve had more nappy rash, and I’m not sure if it’s a reaction to the chemicals in the nappies” and “I cannot get a disposable nappy to fit well enough to keep everything in, whereas my reusables are bombproof.”



Notes to editor

Reusable Nappy Week – 22nd – 28th April 2024 – Reusable Nappy Week is an international week of awareness raising activities and advocacy for reusable nappies.

Real Nappies for London – The Real Nappies for London website has top tips for helping your child come out of nappies and that help is available to all. More help is also available from the child continence charity Eric.


Photo opp: Friday 26 April 10:30am-12:30pm, Guides Hall at Coram’s Field

Other photos that can be used – Pictures credit: Real Nappies for London  


To find out more and how to get involved, visit: and follow #ReusableNappyWeek on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. 


Contact: Alice Stevens, Real Nappies for London 

020 3150 2023 |  


Key info and links 

Reusable Nappy Week 22nd- 28th April 2024

Earth Day 2024

Real Nappies for London 

Reusable Nappy Voucher Scheme 

Nappy Life Cycle Analysis Report



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