Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nappy Days, Mushroom Management & Cooking the Books

Tomorrow (Sunday 26th April) is the last day of Real Nappy Week 2015, and we’ve missed it. Never mind, it doesn’t stop today. In fact it goes on every day. Did you know that Redbridge council sends 58,800 disposal nappies to landfill every day? That’s every day, 365 days a year. That’s 21,462,000 a year, all going to landfill and costing the council, or you and me the council tax payer, huge sums in landfill charges. These things don’t come free you know. But the thing I want to know is who counted them?

We’ve missed the week's events organised by Redbridge council to promote real nappies, but they do still have a trail [sic!] offer pack for parents, or indeed grand parents, at £5 for those with children under 18 months old. Even if you don’t give a stuff about the environmental damage caused by disposable nappies, real nappies are estimated to save you up to £500 on a first baby and if used for another child even more. In these austere times that could make a solid down payment on tuition fees later on. Go have a look at the Redbridge-i page where the facts are explained and the myths busted.

Meanwhile, Mark Hall over at Business Waste laments how British business is wasting a small fortune every year on protective packaging and er, stuffing the environment in the process. He says:
In most cases, plastic protective packaging for electronic goods is for cosmetic purposes only, and only exists to maintain brand image when the outer box is open. It’s a brave but forward-looking brand that abandons white plastic inserts and replaces them with biodegradable card or organic packaging, but it’s a step that businesses should be prepared to take.
Alternatives that businesses should consider to replace plastic inter packaging include:
  • Recycled card
  • Biodegradable foam ‘peanuts’
  • Shaped biodegradable foam
  • Organic fibre inserts
The last of these is now a cheaply-available reality. It’s a type of fibre derived from the mushroom root system that can be turned into durable – yet 100% compostable – custom shapes ideal for any component or product. According to its developers, the environmental impact of this packaging is precisely zero. 
“Boxes you can grow are the future,”
Also on Business Waste Mark Hall looks at how Food packaging waste is killing the planet, and it’s all down to lazy meals. In a survey on how often householders cooked an evening meal from scratch using fresh ingredients they were shocked by their own findings:
  • Never 34%
  • Once a week 43%
  • More than once a week 21%
  • Every day 2%
Mark Hall explains:
Unfortunately, many supermarket-bought ready meals contain excess quantities of sugar and salt, and could be damaging to health in the long-run. It’s worse if the meal is of the instant variety. While the tens of thousands of tons of extra food packing are a serious issue, the health of the nation is just as bad, with a reliance on low-quality food causing obesity, diabetes and other conditions that will cost Britain dearly in coming years. 
“Dumping the ready meal really will save lives, and help save the planet,” says Hall.
And in a shocking discovery Barkingside CSI have uncovered damning evidence linking the expanding waistline of the Redbridge Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing to a stash of empty Pizza boxes found at an office basement in Beehive Lane.

The case has now been referred to Barkingside's renowned healthy shopping, eating and exercise guru and the subject will undergo an extensive rehabilitation course with appropriate therapy and dietary training as well as meditation and afternoon naps.


  1. in my day as a mother of two small children every thing was less cheap and disposable,,,,now everything is cheap thanks to cheap supermarkets so there is no wander the attitude is more about things are disposable

  2. Because your recent blogs have been so non-controversial, B21, I’m sure you post items like this just to wind up people like me. What a gift! What an opportunity to slay the dragon of cant and idiocy! I won’t go into the subject of who counts the disposable nappies going to landfill – you’ve pipped me to the post on that one – except to say that I hope that person never has the opportunity to make me a packed lunch.
    You’ve swallowed the bait, B21, as indeed you and everyone else was intended to. Figures like this foisted on a gullible public and taken for granted can sometimes trigger revolutions. They should be treated with total contempt and attacked with the truth. Let’s start with this absolutely spurious figure (quoted directly from Redbridge-i) of ‘more than 58,800…’ disposable nappies sent to landfill every day.
    Based on the government’s official extrapolated figures from the last census (a true and accurate survey) the population of Redbridge is currently stated to be slightly under 300,000 of which, it clearly states, children from birth to five years old comprise 7% - that would be around 21,000 infants. It’s reasonable to assume that more than half those one to five-year olds have outgrown nappies altogether and that leaves us with a possible 10,000 environment-threatening toddlers every single one of whom, according to that 59,000 statement, would have to be using nearly SIX disposable nappies every day of the week! Perhaps because they’re being fed with all these demonised ready meals? Including the packaging?
    Or is just a teeny-weeny bit possible the statistic is just a number pulled out of a very dubious hat!
    As for the statement that the £500 supposedly saved by using ‘real’ nappies ‘…could make a solid down payment on tuition fees later on’ we have to take into account that while tuition fees currently stand at £9,000 a pop, at university age sixteen to eighteen years ‘later on’ £500 would probably not be enough to buy a packet of crisps.
    I also rather like the hilarious invitation from the Real Nappy Week aficionados to see a ‘real’ nappy ‘close up’. I could hardly contain my emotions. I wanted to rush out and hug - and I quote - a ‘cloth-bottomed baby’.
    Where do they get this stuff?!
    Summing up and taking into account Mark Hall’s comments further on in your narrative (and his even more dubious statistics) it would appear we have to dump our ready-meals (but never in a landfill site) wrap our babies in plastic peanuts, make pencils or mascara from the 40% of carbon we’ve saved and eat only unwrapped salt and sugar free mushrooms. Or something like that.
    All this while the rest of the world carries on as usual completely oblivious of the criminality of living a normal crank-free life.
    Surveys of course can be very useful tools when interpreted correctly. In a survey I conducted last month in Barkingside High Street 35% said YES, 21% said NO and 46% said ‘Get thee hence’ - or perhaps something a little more succinct. These figures are of immense significance and I intend to publish a summary just as soon as I remember what the question was.

    1. Dear Alfred,
      I'm told that changing a a baby's nappy six times a day is about the right figure.
      But I take your point that £500 won't be worth much in 16 years time what with current interest rates and inflation.

    2. i could well believe six nappys a day ,,,,even more so with the cheap supermarket brands that people think save them money....tried and tested and left i find them a massive false economy..

  3. Disposable nappies! Never had them in my day. My wife took great pride in having a washing line full with Persil white nappies! The disposable ones should be banned forthwith - if not before.