New Zealand is one of the highest producers of urban waste in the developed world, per capita. Every disposable nappy ever used is still sitting around with estimated time to break down of 500 years. Currently the Earth Day Network says that there are five massive patches of plastic in oceans around the world. These are called islands of plastic debris that cover broad and large areas in the ocean. National Geographic magazine reports that just one litter patch in the Pacific Ocean alone is about the size of the state of Texas.
"No single-use option is a good choice. People should consider how they can deuce their plastic consumption and use more reusable products." - Paul Evans WasteMINZ Chief executive
About 13 million tonnes of plastic leak into the ocean every year. This impacts biodiversity, economy and potentially our health. It is estimated that in 30 years, the ocean will hold more plastic than fish. Our babies will be 30 years old and this will be their world.
Worldwide it is estimated that 20 billion disposable nappies are dumped in landfill each year. As mentioned above, don't forget that all the nappies ever used are still in landfill too. As parents its easy for us to think that individually a change wont make much difference. But when you consider that one of your children will be responsible for up to 6,000 of these nappies, it might encourage you to think again.
If every parent in New Zealand used one cloth nappy per day on average it would save 1 million disposable nappies from landfill every week. Check out the nappylady.co.nz for more information like this.
Consider, using just one cloth a day and having two children then you will save 1,825 nappies from landfill. Probably a massive space in your house. This is an example of one small change making a really big difference. We don't want to leave them with the biggest mess of all...
"The world urgently needs to rethink how we use plastic" UN state of plastics document 2018.
Picture credit: Thanks to Greenpeace Rome