Reusable nappy scheme

Make a real change

Baby with real nappiesReusable cloth nappies, often referred to as "real nappies", have a range of benefits. Not only are they better for your child and family, but they're also better for the community and environment. We're encouraging families to learn about why they should ditch disposables and choose to reuse.

Better value for money

  • Families can save up to £500 per child by choosing reusable nappies over disposables. The savings get even bigger if they are used again by another child.
  • Approximately three billion disposable nappies go to landfill each year, costing council tax payers £32 million. Switching to real nappies means that council tax could go further.

Better for the environment

  • By the time your child is potty trained they could have used over 4,000 disposable nappies.
  • It takes up to 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompose in landfill, and when they do they let out harmful methane gas that contributes to climate change. Research has shown that using real nappies can make a 40 per cent carbon saving compared to disposables.
  • Using real nappies also reduces the amount of energy and non-renewable resources consumed when compared to disposables.

Better for baby

  • There are chemicals and bleach paper in disposable nappies. Real nappies are available in a range of fabrics including cotton, bamboo, microfibre and hemp, meaning your baby has soft, breathable fabrics next to their skin.

They're easy to use, too. Modern real nappies are all in one, pre-shaped and fasten with Velcro or poppers. Solid waste is caught in a liner and flushes down the toilet, then just pop the nappy in the washing machine instead of the bin.

Real nappy testimonial

Hemel Hempstead mum Sarah Tucker used real nappies with her first child, and is excited to use them again with her second. Read all about her real nappy journey, including why she prefers real nappies over disposables and what she recommends for new parents who want to give them a go:  Real Nappy Journey (PDF 1MB)

Getting started with real nappies

To help get you started with real nappies, we offer Dacorum residents the chance to apply for a free starter kit worth over £100. The starter kit contains: five all-in-one cloth nappies, one night nappy and wrap, one booster and one roll of disposable liners - from two of the leading real nappy brands. Alternatively, if you buy your own real nappies or join a nappy laundering scheme we will give you £50 cashback towards the cost.

Order your free real nappy starter kit

Or to claim £50 cashback, simply download a copy of the  Real nappy reward leaflet and application form (PDF 2.5MB), which includes information on the benefits, different types of real nappies and more, as well as the cashback form. Please email your completed applications to or post them to:

Environmental Services
Cupid Green Depot
Redbourn Road
Hemel Hempstead

Learn more about real nappies

Real nappy library

If you're struggling to choose a real nappy that suits your baby and your lifestyle, consider trialling different nappies from a real nappy library.

The local cloth nappy library Stork and the Bees hires out personalised nappy kits for one month at a cost of £1 per nappy and regularly holds real nappy demonstrations and information mornings in the local area. By trying a variety of different real nappy styles, you can then purchase your real nappies with confidence. 

Visit the Stork and the Bees Facebook page for more information.

Further information

Visit the WasteAware real nappy webpage for more details on the real nappy scheme.

Visit Go Real - The Real Nappy Information Service Facebook Group for more information on:

  • The benefits of real nappies
  • Where to buy real nappies
  • How to use real nappies
  • Top tips
  • FAQs

Warning signCoronavirus (COVID-19): We continue to provide services online and via telephone. However, we recognise that in some cases you will need an appointment with an officer, and will therefore be offering limited pre-booked appointments at the Forum for urgent enquiries. Please call 01442 228000 and ask for the service you require. For council service updates and other advice, please see our COVID-19 page×