In order to get people involved it is important to understand the target audience, work with partners and stakeholders, and link to national initiatives such as Go Real.

If you are going to include real nappies in your waste prevention plan you need to consider the following;

  • Who are your target audiences?
  • Where are they? Where do they live/work/shop?
  • What are the main benefits to your target audience? 
  • Do you have all the information you need to understand the benefits and barriers? If not what do you need to do? E.g. carry out a survey, speak to midwives.
  • What stakeholders do you need to involve to help you? 
  • Are there any current schemes in operation? Can you link up with these? If not is there potential to create one?
  • Are there any outlets for purchasing the product? If not how can you encourage one?
  • Are there any barriers or restrictions to stop householders participating?
  • What are the main barriers in your area and how can you overcome them?
  • Can you learn from others? 

Any planned activity and promotion should link to the yearly Real Nappy Week (April each year) run by Go Real.


The main potential barriers for families using real nappies are perceptions of inconvenience, mess and time issues. Other barriers include the following: 

  • up-front costs of buying nappies;
  • lack of understanding about the different types;
  • perceptions of negative impacts around water, detergent and energy use in the laundry process; and
  • perceptions of leaking and increased nappy rash.


Incentives can be used to overcome some of the barriers for householders. To encourage the use of real nappies, it is essential to motivate parents and dispel myths. This should involve conveying the direct and wider benefits to families and relevant stakeholders. You need to tailor which benefits to promote and which methods of communications to use to the audience. 

Local authorities can offer practical support to overcome barriers, such as the provision of:

  • free sample nappies for new mothers
  • discount vouchers, rebates and interest-free loans on reusable nappies and nappy laundries
  • staff resources (e.g. nappy officers) to help promote and run schemes.
  • trial kits and nappy libraries 

It is important to know as much as you can about your audience before considering incentives. Some people may be more environmentally motivated while others are motivated by the cost savings. Some families may also have limited access to private transport and hence may appreciate not having to constantly shop for bulky disposable nappies.