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Ministers visit North Ayrshire Council to find out more about trailblazing nappy scheme for families

Posted on 25 Mar 2024
Ministerial Visit Irvine Nappy Scheme 2024 (2)


Two MSPs have travelled to North Ayrshire to learn more about the Council’s innovative Reusable Nappy Incentive Scheme.

In October 2019, North Ayrshire Council became the first local authority in the UK to offer families birth-to-potty real nappy packs.

The scheme saves families up to £1300 per child on the cost of disposable nappies, while also reducing the environmental impact of nappies by around 40 per cent.

Today (Monday, March 25) Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity and Central Scotland MSP Monica Lennon spent time at the Council’s Irvine headquarters to find out more about the initiative.

They were given an overview of the scheme by a Council Waste Awareness Officer and met Kilwinning mum Lyndsey Sampson, who used the scheme with baby Orla, 17 months, and her other two children Heidi, nine, and Ellis, eight.

Each child goes through around 5000 nappies until they are potty trained, and single-use nappies cost between £650 and £1300 while “real” nappies cost a lot less.

Lyndsey, 40, said: “The reusable nappy incentive was a great way to trial what reusable nappies worked best for our baby and lifestyle in what was otherwise a minefield of options.

“We have enjoyed using them, knowing we are not only helping the environment but also saving money. We have continued to use them with all three of our babies.” 

Ahead of the scheme’s launch in 2019, the Councilalready offered a Reusable Nappy Incentive Scheme, which provided a free trial pack, giving new parents the chance to see what suited their baby best.

The trial pack consists of three, free reusable nappies in various styles, waterproof wraps, biodegradable liners and a laundry bag.

The wider birth-to-potty scheme provided the ability for parents or carers who used the trial pack, or those who are already comfortable with the idea of using reusable nappies, to request the full new free pack containing 20 birth-to-potty nappies, biodegradable liners and a laundry bag.

The scheme is promoted and supported by a team of Waste Awareness Officers, who offer advice and support to parents and carers.

Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet member for Green Environment and Economy, said: “We were pleased to welcome the MSPs and demonstrate how well our Reusable Nappy Incentive Scheme has been working, and how it has been helping local families and reducing the volume of waste going for disposal.

“Supporting our residents is paramount, especially while we are still navigating our way through the Cost-of-Living Crisis.”

Ms Lennon has campaigned for the Council’s approach to be rolled out nationally to save families money and reduce waste from disposable nappies.

Ms Slater said: “I welcome Ms Lennon’s efforts to encourage more local authorities to develop reusable nappy schemes.

“Reusable nappies cut waste and can be a great and economical option for parents. That’s why Scotland’s Baby Box includes a redeemable voucher for reusable nappies, and families are offered a discounted package should they wish to continue to use them.

“We have also commissioned new research to better understand the barriers to greater use of reusable nappies, and we encourage the sharing of best practice examples on reuse, such as North Ayrshire Council’s initiative.”

Since October 2019, the service has issued 223 packs (134 trial and 89 birth-to-potty) and five new applications are currently being processed.

The scheme is open to residents of North Ayrshire who are expecting a baby or have a baby of nappy-wearing age.

Ms Lennon added: “This North Ayrshire Council scheme is totally trailblazing. It was great to hear, firsthand, the importance of it for families and the environment.

“This is exactly the kind of scheme that families in Scotland should have access to.”

If you would like to find out more about the scheme, or apply, please go online to tinyurl.com/nappies-nac

Our photo shows (front, seated) Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet member for Green Environment and Economy) and mum Lyndsey Sampson, 40, with baby Orla, 17 months with (back, from left) Lindy Floyd, Waste Awareness Officer; Monica Lennon MSP; Robert Robb, Assistant Waste Resources Manager; Lorna Slater MSP, Minister for Green Skills, Circular Economy and Biodiversity; Thomas Reaney, Head of Service for Neighbourhood Services and David Mackay, Senior Manager for Waste Resources and Streetscene.