Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney


Real versus Disposable Nappies

Disposable Nappies are expensive for parents to buy. It is reported that each child goes through approximately 5,000 nappies before they are toilet trained. There is a real case for parents to turn to the use of re-usable nappies instead of using disposable.

In 2016, the Council did some research on the mainland to find out what the average contents were of grey bins. We learnt that disposable nappies accounted for 2.5% of the overall waste stream, but in some areas, when looked at individually, this was as high as 5%.

In 2015 there were 192 births recorded in Orkney. If you take the figure of 5,000 nappies used by each child, that equates to approximately 960,000 disposable nappies entering the waste stream for disposal in 2015 in Orkney (less those who use re-usable).

We know that the average weight of a used nappy is 230g. If this is converted to kg and we know the cost per kg to dispose of any material, it can be worked out that it cost Orkney Islands Council in the region of £40,000 to dispose of used nappies in 2015 alone. It costs parents too – apparently about £700!

The Real Nappy Network

The Orkney Real Nappy Network is a project re-launched by Orkney Zerowaste to offer impartial advice and support about buying and using real or reusable nappies.

It does this by providing:

  • Information and advice at regular events throughout the year and at your home.
  • Demonstrations to parents and parents-to-be using samples of various nappy types.
  • A Real Nappy Library from which you can borrows ingle nappies for £1 per nappy per week,or a long-term hire kit which contains enough nappies for full time use. These kits contain a wide variety of nappies (styles and brands) and can be hired (for a small fee) as long as needed.  
  • A network for real nappy users to socialise and share experiences through events and online.

A link to the 'Real Nappy Network' website can be found at 'Related Sites'.


Related Sites