Nappy subsidy smells a bit iffy


The Waitaki District Council is going to subsidise cloth napkins in an effort to cut down the amount of disposable nappies going into council landfills.

Solid waste officer Gerry O’Neill last week said that over a 12-month period, starting on October 22, new parents in the district would be offered cloth-nappy starter packs at a heavily discounted price.

“We have managed to secure a really good deal with four different suppliers, and when combined with a subsidy from the council, parents will be able to buy a cloth-nappy starter pack valued at more than $100 for just $10,” he said.

The council had more than 12 tonnes of nappies and sanitary waste going to the Oamaru landfill every week.

Any measure that reduced that was worthwhile in helping extend the life of the landfill and reducing its operation costs.

Let’s start by giving them points for talking about parents and not just mothers who usually get saddled with anything to do with napkins.

Let’s also acknowledge that waste reduction is a worthy aim.

But that isn’t enough to stop me thinking something about this nappy subsidy smells a bit iffy.

It sounds good in theory but will it work in practice?

Just $10 isn’t a big investment in cloth nappies. That should ensure a reasonable uptake, but who’s going to make sure they get used even some of the time?

What’s to stop someone buying a starter pack and selling the nappies. Anything more than $10 would be a profit for the seller and a bargain for the buyer.

Twelve tonnes of nappies and sanitary waste sounds like a lot. But what sort of reduction will this subsidy result in and at what cost to the ratepayer?

I wonder if the council looked at the option of composting instead which Envirocomp appears to do successfully?

Is it really greener and does anyone want to find out?


Dark greens  have long been campaigning on the environmental evils of disposable napkins but now they’ve gone a step further – reusable cloths instead of loo paper.

Should you have the stomach for it you could follow the link above for instructions on how to store clean and used cloths and then comes this advice on laundering:

Wash in hot, dry in the dryer. You may add whatever laundry additives you desire – chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach, tea tree oil, lavender oil, stain remover, whatever.

And that’s raises the question – would all the energy, water and the production and disposal of additives requried for the washing and drying be any better for the environment than loo paper?

I don’t care what the answer is because resuable bum wiping cloths are several green steps too far for me.

Hat Tip: Micky’s Muses

%d bloggers like this: