Around 5% to 15% of household bins contain disposable nappies (by weight) that are sent to local landfill.

In February 2022, we collaborated with 12 Councils on the Reusable Nappy Feasibility Study to find ways to reduce this waste and form a reusable nappy program.

Sustainability Victoria, through the Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria Councils Fund, supported the joint Council initiative to understand how parents and carers feel about:

  • using reusable nappies
  • using a local government reusable nappy program.

About the study and consultation

During our consultation, we heard from 257 Boroondara residents, and 2,282 residents across the participating Council areas who:

  • have used reusable nappies in the last 5 years
  • have tried using reusable nappies but stopped
  • want to find out more information about reusable nappies
  • prefer to use disposable nappies.

In addition to community consultation, the 5-month study included:

  • a review of 12 local, national and international reusable nappy brands to better understand the environmental, social and economic impacts
  • a review of 9 local, national and international reusable nappy programs to assess how effective they are at increasing the use of reusable nappies and reducing waste to landfill
  • 10 interviews with key stakeholders including Maternal Child Health, Early Learning Services and reusable nappy educators
  • 6 focus groups with 46 parents and carers who use disposable or reusable nappies.

The results

Key recommendations

Two key recommendations came out of the results of the study. They were for participating Councils to:

  • develop a joint communications strategy to encourage the use of reusable nappies
  • create opportunities for community members to experience and connect over reusable nappies.

Next steps

In the feasibility study, we heard how challenging it can be for time-poor parents and carers to research other options to disposables.

Based on the survey feedback, we are partnering with 13 Councils across Victoria to roll out a reusable nappy program called ‘The Nappy Project’.

The Nappy Project has been created to make it easier for parents and carers to find information on sustainable choices that work best for them.

The initiative offers resources and guides for parents and carers to learn more about reusable nappies and explore modern reusable options through:

  • hands-on education workshops
  • free reusable nappy starter packs (please check eligibility)
  • information across our childcare and Maternal Child Health centres for parents and carers to take home and learn more.

You can get ongoing support and resources about reusable nappies on The Nappy Project website.