Ratoath based Fianna Fáil councillor, Deirdre Geraghty-Smith, is calling on the Minister for Climate Action, Eamon Ryan, to “introduce a Reusable Nappy Scheme to support parents wishing to make sustainable choices and reduce their plastic waste”.

Meath Live can reveal the figures in relation to disposable nappies in Ireland:

– It is estimated that over 600,000 plastic nappies are disposed of in household waste every single day

– It is estimated that a baby uses between 2,500-5,000 disposable nappies from birth to potty training

– It takes between 200-500 years for one single disposable nappy to biodegrade

– One child can generate up to 2.5 tonnes of plastic waste through the use of disposable nappies

– Switching to cloth nappies could save parents up to €1,500 from birth to potty- more if used on multiple children


Geraghty-Smith will be submitting a motion before Meath County Council this month, in advance of Reusable Nappy Week, which begins on April 19th.


The motion reads:

“That Meath County Council calls on Minister for Climate Action to introduce a local authority led reusable nappy support and information scheme; to support and encourage households in reducing single-use plastic waste in line with the objectives of the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy 2020”.


Geraghty-Smith stated: “The mantra ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’, has become a very familiar one and we are all aware of the significant need to reduce our consumption of single use plastics.


A lot of recent focus has been on items such as cotton buds and coffee cups, however the figures relating to disposable nappy waste are quite shocking. It is estimated that a single baby uses between 2,500-5,000 single use nappies between birth and potty training. This could result in one single child generating up to 2.5 tonnes of plastic waste from nappies alone. This waste often goes straight to landfill where it can take up to 500 years to biodegrade”.


Geraghty-Smith believes it is important to raise awareness, to make more sustainable choices and cutting down on plastic waste. She stated that Reusable Nappy Week provides an “excellent opportunity to start a national conversation around the benefits of cloth nappies”. She notes that in the UK, many local authorities offer cash grants to support parents in making the switch to cloth and wants similar schemes introduced in Ireland.


Geraghty-Smith warns that there are numerous chemicals in disposable nappies, which families may not want next to their babies’ skin. These chemicals can have an environmental impact. There are benefits of moving away from disposable nappies.


Lastly Geraghty-Smith stated that “Ireland’s climate targets are ambitious and policymakers have a duty to support sustainable and green decision making. In keeping with the ambitions within the Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy, I am calling on Minister Ryan to introduce a local authority led Reusable Nappy Scheme, as making the switch to cloth can be a win-win for families and the environment”.