Spring clean your nappy stash and help babies in crisis



From 6 to 20 September, The Nappy Collective is calling on families to spring clean their cupboards and donate their unneeded, unused, disposable nappies to babies in crisis. 

In Australia every day, about 250,000 children don’t have enough nappies to keep them healthy and comfortable, a situation known as nappy stress.  

Their families may be fleeing domestic violence, seeking asylum, or struggling with homelessness, mental illness, drug abuse or extreme financial hardship. They’re faced with the heartbreakingly difficult choice between buying other essentials – such as food and medicine – or enough nappies. 

Lani Masuku, CEO of The Nappy Collective, said, “In Victoria alone, 62,000 children experience nappy stress and require an estimated 95 million nappies at a cost of $31-48 million.”   

Refer to Nappy Stress report for state-by-state analysis of nappy stress and nappy need (page 15) 

These children are at increased risk of skin conditions (such as dermatitis), and bladder and urinary tract infections. They’re also more vulnerable to abuse, because they tend to cry and fuss more. 

And for a parent, not being able to provide enough nappies for their child can trigger postnatal depression. 

The Nappy Collective is the only organisation in Australia focused exclusively on helping families with their nappy needs. Since 2013, The Collective has collected nearly 3 million nappies through its bi-annual drives, and distributed them via its national network of charity partners to families experiencing extreme nappy stress. Many of these nappies would otherwise have ended up in landfill. 

Kate Wood from McAuley Community Services for Women said, “After The Nappy Collective’s last drive, our safe house was able to provide nappies to 66 babies and toddlers – that's close to $2000 worth of nappies.  

“Many women and children who seek refuge from family violence flee their homes with nothing, so this support means the world to them, and to us!”  

Ms Masuku said, “Packs of nappies cost a small fortune, even when you buy them in bulk. Our research reveals that, increasingly, lower-income Australian families can’t afford enough nappies to change their child as often as they need to. 

Lack of income, high costs of living, and broader social disadvantage contribute to this nappy stress. 

“To these families, nappies are treasure,” said Ms Masuku. “And we know there’s treasure languishing in cupboards, cars, prams and nappy bags around Australia.  

“By unearthing these nappies that your family doesn’t need – perhaps because your child has graduated to the next size or has toilet-trained – you can help a baby in dire need, declutter your house and reduce landfill in one fell swoop!” 

The September Collective will run from September 6 – 20 Australia wide, with close to 400 Drop Points where people can donate nappies.  

Nappy donors can find their nearest Drop Point by visiting www.thenappycollective.com/drop-points and entering their postcode or suburb. 

To learn more about The Nappy Collective, please visit www.thenappycollective.com.au  


Background Information 

The Nappy Collective’s Story 

The Nappy Collective was founded in 2013 by our chairman, Sandra Jacobs. Sandra, who is now CEO of the Bennelong Foundation, found herself asking, “What should we do with all the nappies our babies have grown out of?” 

Sandra discovered she wasn’t alone, with a group of mothers in her network sharing the same concern. Rather than passing them onto a friend, keeping them for the next child or throwing them away, the group started collecting and donating nappies to women in crisis.  

The organic uptake of its goodwill saw The Nappy Collective gather 1,500 nappies in its first two weeks at The Staple Store, the first Drop Point.   

Since October 2013, The Nappy Collective has redistributed more than 2.9 million nappies to 200 charity partners across Australia that support families affected by domestic violence, as well as families in crisis or in need. That’s more than 310,000 clean nappy days for our youngest beneficiaries, and a lot of material diverted from landfill.  

Nappy Stress in Australia 

Nappy stress is defined as families not having enough nappies to change their children as often as they need to, which can impact on the health and wellbeing of both parent and child. Some have to make the difficult decision to cut back on other essentials in order to afford enough nappies. 

The Nappy Collective’s research showing that nappy stress has increased for over the past 10 to 15 years. 

“Our research reveals that disadvantaged families need about 380 million nappies per year, which amounts to an estimated $191 million worth of nappies nationally,” said Ms Masuku. 

Nappy stress is driven by three main factors: 

1. A lack of income, or income poverty 

2. High cost of living 

3. Broader social disadvantage 

Demographic groups which are more at-risk of experiencing nappy stress include: 

  • People who are unemployed or whose main income source is government allowances or pensions 

  • Those living in public housing 

  • Children in sole parent households. 

To read our nappy research report, visit: http://bit.ly/nappyresearchreport 

All media enquiries can be directed to CEO, lani@thenappycollective.org.au & 0435 110 096