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

List of DM’s current ethical principles.

Here’s my list of what I currently have as my ethical principles.
Note that I don’t adopt any other person or god’s list of principles, so almost everyone else will differ from me; also that this list isn’t identical with what I would have given even ten years ago, let alone when I was in my late 20s.

Instead of using the word “morals”, I choose “ethics”, partly to get away from the recent American distortion, and partly because it is then connected to the various schools of philosophy in Athens about two thousand three hundred years ago, illustrating that: equally authentic and respectable people can differ in their ethical/moral stance.

· So here’s my list (the order is only as it comes to mind):

v-=# David MacClement’s Ethics list, as of August 31, 2005 #=-v

1) Humans are a different (more complex) but not better species than other primates, other mammals, other animals (including snakes, insects, spiders etc), other living things like big trees, other plants, algae and microbes.

2) In the same way that, in a flourishing ecology, there are niches which come to be filled by whatever species can do that (e.g. Darwin’s Galápagos finches, and NZ’s birds filling ground-dwelling-species’ niches), humans have their own niche, their own *raison d’être*, their own “place in creation” in religious terms; we are fully entitled to that much of the earth’s bounty.

3) Our niche is that of a mobile/sedentary – scavenger/omnivore/cultivator which modifies our habitat, and has an effect on the other species we share this planet with, similar to the modifications/effects other similar-size-and-mobility species have.

4) Like other species of primate, we act occasionally as predator, killing and eating other animals, and preferably doing it ourself, but no further than at one-remove (the hunter or farmer kills and butchers, then we take it from those hands, to cook and eat).

5) Death is not strange, it may even be welcomed, but actively deciding-to, then carrying-out, the killing of another human is abhorrent; just as chimpanzees find it abhorrent.

6) As elements of our ecology (think of elements in a matrix, though an ecology is fuzzy, flexible), an individual person affects the whole ecology:

(a) when they are born,

(b) when they die,

(c) when they decide-to (and actually do) procreate,

(d) when they consume something, whether object, energy or food,

· and when they refrain from doing any of those things.

7) Humans make mistakes (I’m sure other primates and some sea-mammals do too); individually this is a normal part of living, but when mistakes are institutionalised (i.e. a social structure is created to perpetuate the process which is severely faulty), such mistaken institutions can ruin the ecology those people are part of. I consider that the institutionalising of exploitative-and-excessive-production-and-consumption is such a mistake.

· My ethical choice is to have as little contact as possible, with this.

8) My personal *bête noir* is waste. Examples:

· I am increasingly happy as we two throw out (because we’ve bought) less and less;

· I abhor the waste of fossil long-chain hydrocarbon when it’s being broken up ans burned as fuel (either in electric power stations or vehicles: 70 percent of the original energy is wasted in the heat-engine); thermodynamics tells me that such long-chain hydrocarbon should (ethically) be built-on, used to create something which is very useful and has a long life (decades-in-use), like what are currently specialised plastics.

· The majority of crops grown for food and feed is wasted. Unconscionable!

9) I believe that a small number of animal species have an ethical sense.

For this reason I want them treated ethically, so:

(α) either I or someone I deal directly with, should be who kills the sheep or cow (or pet), and:

(β) I choose the nearest to an ethical process for farming, organic, as my source of food. I see almost no reason for pesticides, and very little reason for quite-specific fertilisers (not nitrogen or phosphorus, but probably selenium etc. for element-deficient soils).

^-=# David MacClement’s Ethics list, as of August 31, 2005 #=-^


— David MacClement, ZL1ASX I’m in Greenhithe North Shore NZ

earth our home: