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Parents of babies living in the Waitaki district from next month can be more environmentally conscious under a new subsidy scheme for cloth nappies being launched by the Waitaki District Council.
The aim is to switch as many families with babies as possible away from disposable nappies, reducing the amount of rubbish going into the Oamaru and Palmerston landfills.
Solid waste officer Gerry O'Neill last week said that over a 12-month period, starting on October 22, new parents in the district would be offered cloth-nappy starter packs at a heavily discounted price.
"We have managed to secure a really good deal with four different suppliers, and when combined with a subsidy from the council, parents will be able to buy a cloth-nappy starter pack valued at more than $100 for just $10," he said.
The council had more than 12 tonnes of nappies and sanitary waste going to the Oamaru landfill every week.
Any measure that reduced that was worthwhile in helping extend the life of the landfill and reducing its operation costs.
It would also help reduce the extra costs the emissions trading scheme (ETS) would impose.
"If we can encourage even half of new parents in the district to use cloth nappies just some of the time, this will still represent a significant reduction in the volume of waste going to the landfill.
"The more parents using them more often the better," he said.
Cloth nappies had come a long way in recent years.
There were now several different types, and they were designed to be quick and easy to wash and dry.
There were also significant cost savings to be made for parents using cloth nappies over the longer term, so the benefits went further than just reducing waste to landfill.
The initial cost put some parents off, but the subsidised starter packs would provide a real boost for families wanting to give them a go.
Details about the cloth-nappy starter packs and how to purchase them will be made available over the coming weeks.