Changing the language of waste

We want 60% of babies to wear reusable nappies by 2020. Ambitious? Yes. But let's give it a shot. And you can help. There's a very small thing that you can do which will be incredibly powerful. Please, will you stop calling nappies 'disposable’?

Baba+Boo Blog // Changing the language of waste

‘Disposable’ nappies aren’t disposable. When they go to landfill, they are not being disposed of; they are being moved. All the ‘disposable’ nappies that have ever gone to landfill are still there.

These nappies aren’t disposable, they’re single-use. And we need to start calling them that.

Language is powerful. It conveys a message as well as a meaning. While the Daily Express bemoans the bureaucrats, the Independent extolls our public servants. CNN may see a president leading a government; to the BBC, the same leader is a dictator in charge of a regime.

If something is ‘disposable’ then it’s convenient, it’s easy to ‘deal with’. It lacks value and is unimportant.

‘Single use’ is much less easy. Its message is of something wasteful, a symptom of a throwaway society.

We really believe that fewer people would use single-use nappies if they took a bit longer to think about the impact they’re having and the money they could save. By changing the language we use, we’re well on the way to influencing attitudes.

Thank you so much.



  • This is a really good idea, I’ve never thought of it that way and it definitely has more of an impact! x

    Lucy Melissa Smith
  • Fantastic and thought provoking.


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