A trio of Pontypool childminders are on a mission to reduce plastic waste

Posted on: Friday 18 October 2019
childminders using reusable wipes

A group of childminders are showing they care for the environment as well as the children in their care by using reusable nappies and wipes in order to reduce the amount of single use plastic they use.

Tracey Touhig, said: “Over the years we have realised that between us we have used thousands of single use wipes, and single use nappies, and having seen the volume we produce we decided it’s time to change.

“The main reason for the switch is environmental; disposable nappies and wipes are a massive source of single use plastic. Using just one reusable nappy every day of our working week will save over 250 disposable nappies from reaching landfill every year; multiply that by several children, or increase it to two or more reusable nappies a day, and you are already into the thousands. That’s a lot of single use plastic being saved from landfill or incineration. Then add in using reusable wipes and the amount of waste reduced is greater.” 

Having already trailed reusable wipes since July, the childminders have quickly become advocates of using them, saying they are much kinder to children’s skin and reducing nappy rash.

The childminders have already spoken to the majority of parents who are willing to try the new system. 

Theresa Harding, 42, said: “We have decided to run an opt out system where parents send their children to us in a disposable nappy, and we send them home in a disposable, however in between they use re-usable nappies and wipes on the children.”

The childminders have also changed some of their other practices to try and reduce the amount of plastic waste they produce. They now have a milkman, and have their milk delivered in glass bottles which are reused, and have recently introduced collecting and recycling felt tip pens which they drop off to Pontypool Indoor Market. They are also collecting crisp packets which they bulk up and send to a parent who then gives to a local group who are collecting them for the blind.

Michelle Browne, 49, said: ‘It’s extremely rewarding to think that just by changing the small things, we can make a difference to the amount of plastic waste being produced, and in the process we are protecting the future for our children as well. Small changes can lead to significant environmental benefits and less waste being produced. 

“The council’s (Torfaen) waste team were kind enough to demonstrate the use of the nappies in our home which was really beneficial, and provided us with a discount voucher for purchasing the re-usable nappies. If you have been thinking about giving reusable nappies a try then we would definitely encourage it.”

Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for the environment, said: “I’d like to congratulate the three childminders for taking a chance and giving reusable nappies and wipes a go. They are an excellent example of how small changes can make such a significant difference to the environment.

“The waste team are here to support anyone who has been thinking about trialing or switching to using reusable nappies and wipes – just get in touch.”

To find out more about reusable nappies and wipes call 01495 762200 or email waste@torfaen.gov.uk

Last Modified: 18/10/2019 Back to top