Nappy waste in Brisbane

Use this page to find out how to reduce nappy waste to landfill in Brisbane.

Every child will need their nappy changed at least 6500 times in their life. Disposable nappies cost parents and carers up to $2700 more than reusable nappies and generate up to 20 full wheelie bins of waste that end up in landfill where they'll take hundreds of years to break down.

How can you reduce disposable nappy waste?

Choose reusable cloth nappies over disposable nappies to reduce waste to landfill and save money.

The best time to start thinking about nappy waste is when you're expecting a child. 

Prevent

CHOOSE RESUABLE CLOTH NAPPIES AND WIPES. BUY smart.

Read top tips to prevent nappy waste by choosing reusable cloth nappies over disposable nappies.

Use these tips to help prevent nappy waste

  • Attend a workshop to find out more about reusable nappies before making a purchase.
  • Find or host a 'nappaccino' – a free event where parents-to-be gather for coffee. An experienced nappy user shows the group how to use reusable nappies and answers questions. Your local community group might be interested in hosting its own cloth nappy workshop. The Australian Nappy Association  has a workshop information pack available for purchase.
  • Ask friends and family for a reusable nappy pack as a baby shower or baby gift.
  • Talk to your maternity unit and midwife about using reusable nappies from birth.
  • Ask your childcare centre if they support the use of reusable nappies. The Australian Nappy Association provides free resources to support childcare centres.
  • Choose reusable cloth wipes over single use wipes. 
  • Buy smart (for your pocket and the environment) by:

    • choosing high quality items that are made locally and can be adjusted as your child grows
    • selecting natural fibres and materials such as cotton, bamboo and hemp. These materials can be reused and composted when they're no longer usable
    • purchasing cloth nappies from a retailer who is a member of the Australian Nappy Association.
  • If you have an excess of unused disposable nappies, donate them to The Nappy Collective to help families in crisis.
Reuse and circulate

Sell/donate cloth nappies or repurpose.

After you've finished using your cloth nappies, consider selling or donating them to others or repurpose them for cleaning cloths.

Learn how to reuse/circulate reusable nappies

Find out more on reuse and circulation from the Australian Nappy Association website.

Recycle

COMPOST OR RETURN FOR RECYCLING

Explore options to recycle reusable cloth nappies when they are no longer usable.

Recycling options

  • Compost cloth nappies. Textiles made from natural fibres such as cotton, linen, hemp, bamboo, wool and silk can be composted at home or added to your worm farm. Cut them up into small pieces first. Find out more at Textile Beat.
  • Send cloth nappies back to the retailer or manufacturer if they have a cloth nappy recycling program.

Impacts of disposable nappies

Cost

Disposable nappies cost significantly more than reusable cloth nappies:
- a set of terry towelling nappies or 'flats' costs around $100-300;
- a set of modern cloth nappies costs around $500-1000
- disposable nappies for a baby/toddler costs around $3000.

Resources

Disposable nappies require large volumes of pulp, paper, plastic and other raw materials during manufacturing. Significant amounts of water and energy are also used.

Landfill

Disposable nappies make up 6% of Brisbane's average household general waste bin. When sent to landfill, these nappies produce greenhouse gas emissions.

Global target

By 2030, to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse1.

Related links


1. Sustainable Development Goal 12.5 - Responsible consumption and production, United Nations

Last updated: 25 August 2022
Topics: waste

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