In 2017/2018, more than 706,275 disposable nappies never reached Wollongong landfill, because of a reusable nappy education program run by Wollongong City Council aimed at raising awareness of the benefits of cloth nappies.

Over 300 families attended cloth nappy workshops as part of the pre-natal classes at Wollongong Hospital and in baby health clinics. Before the cloth nappy workshop, 58% of attendees said they might/would use cloth, and 40% said they would not use cloth nappies.

After the workshop, 96% of attendees said they might/would use cloth, and only 2% said they would not use cloth nappies.

Such is the power of awareness and education!

“Disposable nappies have a long life in landfill and each year Australians place about 450,000 tonnes of disposable nappies in landfill sites,” the Manager Environmental Strategy & Planning [Acting] at Wollongong City Council, David Green said.

“There are many benefits for parents to use reusable cloth nappies.  Reusables can save a family about $3,500 from birth to when the child is toilet trained.  This cost saving increases if you have more than one child.”

“The average baby uses 6,000 disposable nappies by the time they are toilet trained. Technology has improved since the day of white terry towelling squares and the cloth nappies available nowadays are functional, easy to use and come in many designs.” Mr Green said.

“Disposable nappies are toxic and contain a lot of waste which generates the greenhouse gas methane while in landfill. On average each family with a young baby would use six disposable nappies every day. This has a large impact on our landfill site at Whytes Gully. If we can reduce the amount of material such as disposable nappies going to landfill, we will greatly increase the lifespan of our only landfill site in the city.

“By reducing people’s use of disposables we also reduce the amount of energy to create the plastics and reduce the amount of plantation timber used to create the fluffy fill in disposable nappies.”

If you’d like to know more about the project, you can contact Wollongong City Council’s Customer Service Team on (02) 4227 7111 or email the Green Team.

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