PARENTS are being asked to try cloth nappies for their babies as an environmentally friendlier solution to disposable ones.

Oxfordshire County Council is spearheading a new project where reusable nappies are loaned out to parents so they can try before they buy.

According to experts, parents might use 25 before their baby no longer needs the cloth nappies – compared to 5,000 disposable ones they might use over that same period.

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Disposable nappies make up 10 per cent of all waste thrown away across the county and it costs the tax payer about £1m a year to dispose of them properly.

According to waste company Veolia, eight million nappies are thrown away across the UK every day – and it takes hundreds of years for them to degrade.

In an effort to get parents to change their buying habits, the council is now working with other community groups and organisations to promote the environmental benefits of cloth nappies.

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In Banbury, a nappy loan kit supplier has seen a 50 per cent increase in requests compared to the same time last year.

Meanwhile in Oxford, there is a waiting list to borrow them.

Rosie Head, who runs the Nappy Shed in Oxford, said a tonne of rubbish is created by a baby every year just by using disposable nappies.

She said: “It is an environmental issue. That is the clincher.”

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Rosie Head of the Nappy Shed. Picture: Ed Nix

County council cabinet member for environment Yvonne Constance said: “Any new parent has an awful lot to deal with, so nappies need to be easy to use and comfortable for babies and toddlers to wear.

“Modern cloth nappies are very different from the traditional terry cloth versions of the past, and are now light, soft and easy to use, as well as coming in attractive colours and designs.”

Oxford mum Rachael Monks said: “All three of my children have been in cloth, the youngest is 21 months so still using them. Nappy rash is virtually non-existent and they have plenty of padding when they fall down!

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“People may be put off by the initial cost but once you consider the ongoing spend for disposable nappies, using cloth is a money-saver. Drying them is easy: on the line when it’s dry and overnight on the airer when it’s not. You’ll also avoid stinky bins filled with disposable nappies in the summer.”

Mrs Constance added: “If cloth nappies are washed at up to 40 degrees and dried on a line, the environmental benefits are enormous, especially if they are then used for more than one baby.”

But they did not meet with universal support. Dad of two, Luke Greaves, 43, said he did not think people ‘would be too keen’ to use recyclable nappies as they seem ‘a bit old fashioned’.

To undertake a trial, call 01865 816043 or email