Real Nappy Users across the UK are filing complaints against a misleading and inaccurate story that appeared in the Daily Mail.
The article which was published on the first day of Real Nappy Week claimed that “£3 million has been spent in the last five years trying to persuade people to use washable nappies” Yet Go Real, the Real Nappy Information service pointed out that the story failed to report on the amount of savings that this investment may have led to.
Jon Rolls, Chief Executive of the organisation said: “If all babies born in England and Wales were in disposable nappies our councils would be facing costs of approximately £93 million every year! So in the five years that the Daily Mail article focused on, the tax-payer has forked out £465 million to pay for the disposal of nappy waste. This is compared to the £600,000 per year spent on Real Nappy projects that the Daily Mail would have us believe is an outrage!”
Jon explained: “In order to cover the council’s investment they would have had to convert just 4,571 parents each year, between them; just 0.6% of the birth rate! Any additional conversions would actually give them a net benefit!”
But the crux of the complaint to the Press Complaints Commission was the article’s mention of a report produced by the Environment Agency. The Daily Mail stated that “in 2007 the Environment Agency reported that there was no significant difference between the environmental impacts of disposable, home use reusable and commercial laundry systems.” and used this to suggest that the councils in question had been wasting their money on Real Nappy promotions.
However, there have been two Environment Agency Reports on this matter yet neither of them was published in 2007. The most recent report, published in 2008 advised that Real Nappies could be up to 40% better for the environment than disposables through parents following simple laundering advice. So if parents washed their Real Nappies in a full load they can reduce their global warming impact, compared to using disposables. Go Real which provides support to Local Authorities in helping them adopt cost effective promotions has recently carried out research which suggested that over 70% of Real Nappy users are likely to be having a lower impact on the environment than they would if using disposables.
Many Real Nappy organisations and supporters have lodged complaints to the Press Complaints Commission on the accuracy of the Daily Mail article and the PCC have indicated that they are currently investigating the matter. Go Real hopes the Daily Mail will see sense and apologise for misleading its readers, many of whom will be parents facing difficult choices, which are made even more difficult by inaccurate reporting like this.