Kiwis going the distance for cloth nappies

This is a little PR for a group I consider are on the right track.
Disclosure statement: my own children were clothed in a mixture of cloth nappies, both fitted and folded by myself, as well as disposable nappies on holidays, etc, when we needed an alternative. Back in the 1990’s! Hard Green luddite view of parenting, that’s me. My sister has also used some of the more modern cloth nappy solutions, and soon my own daughter will be experiencing the joys of the nappy arguments.

Upcoming Cloth Nappy Week 2012 kicks off with a weeklong road trip with a very specific distance in mind. With one million disposable nappies being thrown into New Zealand landfills each day*, or seven million each week, the number of nappies laid end-to-end would stretch to 2,100km – the distance from Invercargill to Auckland. It is this route the Cloth Nappy Week team of mums will be travelling from 14-22 April, in a bid to raise awareness of the benefits of modern cloth nappies over disposables.

“One million disposable nappies is a lot of landfill,” says Kate Meads, also known as The Nappy Lady, who is leading the nationwide movement toward more sustainable diapering solutions for parents.

“In a household with one baby, disposable nappies could constitute up to 50% of their total household waste. With around 145,000 children under age two-and-a-half using six to seven disposable nappies daily, one million disposable nappies are thrown into our landfills each day.

“Dealing with disposable nappy waste costs local councils tens of thousands of dollars per year, and the decomposing material in landfills creates methane gas, a major contributor to global warming. To put it bluntly, disposable nappies are harming our environment in a big way.

“While waste issues are fortunately becoming more and more important, in the meantime, our world is becoming more and more disposable. The big question for the future is, when our landfills are full, where will our rubbish go? I, for one, don’t want to leave my child with a legacy of garbage.”

Kate explains that a baby will need up to 6,000 nappy changes in the first two-and-a-half years of life, and at around 50c per nappy, parents are literally throwing their money away.

“Disposable nappies are seen as more convenient and less time-consuming than cloth nappies,” she explains. “I understand that mindset when it comes to our parents’
generation, but modern cloth nappies are so advanced in design and materials that they truly are no more difficult than washing a load of laundry.”

Cloth Nappy Week, which is a worldwide event taking place 16-22 April, is focused on educating parents about how stylish and easy-to-use cloth nappies are.

Kate and her team of Nappy Avengers is taking to the roads of New Zealand starting in Invercargill on 14 April, bringing workshops, information sessions, samples, competitions, giveaways and prizes to crowds of Kiwi parents around the country.

Cloth Nappy Week has an active website ( and Facebook community ( and excitement is prepared to celebrate all things cloth.

“We are fortunate in New Zealand to have an extremely savvy, intelligent, passionate community of parents who are interested in cloth nappies, and a wide range of brands
to choose from, stocked by a passionate group of cloth nappy suppliers and retailers,” Kate says. “Cloth Nappy Week is the time for everyone to work together to spread the word, and I’m excited to be taking cloth nappies on the road this

Cloth Nappy Week is scheduled for 16-22 April 2012, and The Cloth Nappy Road Trip kicks off in Invercargill on 13 April, ending in Auckland on 21 April.

* Source: Zero Waste New Zealand (

Kate Meads

The Nappy Lady


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