Reducing disposable nappy use in Gloucestershire

In order to reduce the quantity of disposable nappies being landfilled or incinerated, Resource Futures has been running a real nappy project and incentive scheme for Gloucestershire County Council since 2008.

Two outreach workers promote the cost savings and environmental benefits of using real nappies to new parents as well as administering a real nappy incentive scheme for the council.


The UK disposes of around 3 billion disposable nappies each year, representing an estimated 2-3% of all household waste, according to WRAP. For each child going full-time in real nappies, around 5,000 disposable nappies can be avoided.

Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) are keen to reduce the tonnage of nappy waste sent for disposal every year. This is done through a practical on-the-ground project to enable behaviour change amongst parents as well as imparting knowledge about the benefits and practicalities to health professionals across the county.


This is one of Resource Futures most well established, and long-term projects. Our focus is on the following key messages and activities:

  • Administering a money-back incentive scheme (£30 voucher) to encourage parents to switch to real nappies, administered from our Bristol office.
  • Knowledgeable outreach workers who explain the environmental and financial benefits: parents can typically save up to £500 during the time their child is in nappies.
  • Demonstrations of the large array of nappy types available.
  • Help and advice to enable parents to choose the best nappies for their situation, by phone, via e-mail and in person.
  • Ability for people to try real nappies before buying, with well stocked Loan Kits.
  • Strong links with health care professionals such as midwives and with a large number of baby group organisers.
  • Dissemination of publicity across the County through printed materials, social media and events.
  • A GlosNappies Facebook group, used as a discussion forum and a place where second-hand nappies can be bought and sold.


Engagement work with Gloucestershire residents over the last three years has resulted in:

  • 771 groups, talks and events attended across the county by our outreach workers.
  • 762 people making the switch to real nappies as a result of the incentive scheme.

Telephone surveys are carried out twice a year. Results from the December 2017 survey showed:

  • 76% said they were getting on well or very well with the nappies they bought.
  • 60% were using mostly or exclusively real nappies and a further 20% were using a mixture of real and disposables.
  • 84% said they were not experiencing any significant issues with the use of real nappies, with 76% saying they had no issues at all.

Based on the ongoing success of this work, Resource Futures has just been awarded a further contract to continue with the real nappy project until 2020.

Additionally, in 2016 we received further funding from GCC to support Stroud District Council during its service change, which included reduced residual waste capacity. This enabled Resource Futures to run an entirely new and exciting initiative which was comprised of:

  • The design and manufacture of custom-made, locally designed ‘Stroud & Proud’ nappies: 1,000 were given away free to every new baby born in the district, aided by our excellent links with local midwives.
  • Monthly ‘Nappuccino’ sessions for recipients.
  • Social media advertising to support the initiative.

Project Information

Services involved


Waste prevention, reuse and recycling

Team involved

Sally Scholefield
Consultant / Designer

Kirstie Clarke
Real Nappy Project, Gloucestershire

Lucy Hague
Real Nappy Project, Gloucestershire

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