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Many better ways to wrap your baby's bottom: Ward

20 June 2005
Many better ways to wrap your baby's bottom: Ward

Parents have many convenient and easy options for wrapping up their babies' bottoms, but clever corporate marketing has led to disposable nappies taking over, says Green MP Mike Ward.

The Greens' Waste-free Spokesperson was commenting after attending today's 'Real Nappy - No Nappy' workshop in Nelson.

"How many of us would willingly wear chemical-impregnated underpants? And then wee in them and see how long we can wait before slipping on a dry pair?

"The message coming out of the Nelson Nappy workshop is that parents have never been so spoiled for nappy choices, but that most aren't aware of them," said Mike.

"Clever marketing has resulted in a takeover by the disposables, but the grass roots are fighting back and a nationwide network of suppliers and advisors is now telling parents about the various options.

"At one end there is the 'no nappy' option - yes you can put a nappy on, but you don't have to let your baby actually fill it - just slip it off and hold baby over a bucket. Few could resist giving this a try today after listening to half a dozen enthusiastic parents who are now using this method.

"Otherwise you can choose from the traditional pink-edged squares through to the various modern pre-folds and pockets in a range of colours, fabrics and styles.

"And the verdict? All are good, cheaper on the pocket, easier on the environment and much kinder and healthier for baby. And nappy rash and leaky naps? Not a problem if you first get advice from the Nappy Network's experts."

Last year Mike helped launch a nationwide reusable nappy campaign. Since then, The Nappy Network has been formed and the number of cloth nappy stockists around New Zealand has grown. At local government level, support is also increasing.

"I wrote to all councils, who are of course charged with looking after the environment, and DHBs, who look out for human health, to ask them if they are supplying information to parents about the use of cloth nappies. Of those who responded, councils support was evenly split, but 70 percent of DHBs actively encourage the use of reusable nappies.

"It is still unknown how to treat disposable nappies which, when left to fester in a landfill, are a type of toxic waste. Some waste campaigners have ranked nappies low down the waste minimisation priority list and talk about the importance of tackling the larger volume waste, such as organics. However, collection and processing systems now exist for those streams, so it is time for some investment in the infrastructure needed to provide alternatives to disposables," said Mike.


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