How to start cloth nappies for free

Did you know you can get started with cloth nappies for free? That might sound too good to be true, but in lots of parts of the UK, you really can! Local councils across the country are realising that we are facing an environmental crisis that is partly driven by overuse of single-use plastics like disposable nappies. And not only that, it costs councils a significant amount of money to process and dispose of all that waste. 

To try and tackle these problems, councils are doing more to encourage people to try cloth nappies, and are even willing to pay for or gift you free cloth nappies in the hope that you’ll make the switch. 

Each council runs their scheme slightly differently, but they mostly fall into three categories: a lending service, a free starter kit, or cashback/voucher (more on those later!) Most councils have eligibility criteria - you’ll need to prove that you have a baby, usually under 18 months of age, and are using reusable nappies. Many councils will ask for the signature of a doctor, midwife or health visitor to confirm this is the case.

Here are a few of the different kinds of scheme out there, and a list of all the different councils that offer incentives.

  • Lend a kit of nappies

  • Some councils provide a service for lending nappies, either through a local nappy library or a separate service. Some lending services will let you choose the nappies you borrow, but more often the kit is chosen for you. Although this might mean you end up with some nappies you don’t like, you won’t have to think about what kinds of nappy to choose for your kit, and you might be surprised by kinds you hadn’t heard of or didn’t expect to like.

    Some of these lending services won’t offer accessories like cloth wipes, so if you wanted to try those you’d have to buy them yourself.

    The nappies you borrow are likely to have been used by another family before you, but will have been well looked after and sanitised before coming to you. 

    Although you won’t be able to keep the nappies, borrowing some nappies to try will give you a great idea of what works for you, which will likely save you from spending money on nappies that you don’t end up liking. It’s surprising how often people end up liking a different kind of nappy to what they originally thought!

    You can find our nappies at the following libraries:


    Hackney Cloth Nappy Network

    Oldham & Rochdale Sling Library

  • Free starter kit of nappies

  • A number of councils offer a starter kit of nappies. Like a lending service, you likely won’t have a choice of which nappies you get, but they will be new and you may find that you get more nappies than you’d be able to buy with a voucher. Some councils also include accessories like cloth wipes and wet bags in their kits. 

    Be aware that a free starter kit will allow you to give cloth nappies a go, but won’t necessarily have enough variety to find the right nappy for you. If you try all the nappies in your kit and find none of them work, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you cloth nappies aren’t for you. There are so many different varieties available and it may just be a case of trying a few more to get the right fit for you.

  • Cashback or voucher

  • Many councils offer cashback or a voucher towards reusable nappy purchases. Although this is the most flexible incentive scheme, it also has some pitfalls. In particular, it’s quite easy to accidentally spend your voucher on nappies that you don’t end up liking. 

    To avoid this, we’d recommend going to your local nappy library before you spend your voucher, so you can try a range of nappies and work out what you like. When you’re confident on the kind of nappy you want to invest in, then you can use your voucher knowing that it’s money well spent!

    Most of these cashback and voucher schemes will allow you to spend the money on nappy accessories like cloth wipes and wet bags too, but make sure you check the details of your council’s scheme as each one is different.

    Cloth Nappy Incentive Schemes in the UK


    Bedfordshire - £25 cashback when you spend £50

    Berkshire - £30 cashback 

    Bournemouth - £30 cashback 

    Bradford - Free nappy kit worth £45

    Bracknell Forest - £30 cashback 

    Brent - Nappy lending service

    Broxbourne - Nappy starter kit or £50 cashback

    Cumbria - £30 cashback

    Derbyshire - £25 cashback when you spend £50 

    Devon - Free trial kit

    Dorset - £30 cashback 

    Dudley - £30 cashback when you spend £50 

    Essex - £30 cashback 

    Gloucestershire - £30 cashback 

    Guernsey - £35 cashback 

    Hertfordshire - 15% off with selected suppliers

    Hertsmere - £50 cashback or Nappy Starter kit

    Huntingdon - 15% off with selected suppliers

    Leeds - Free Nappy Starter pack or £30 cashback

    Leicestershire - Nappy lending service

    Lewisham - £25 voucher 

    Lincolnshire - Nappy lending service

    London - See below

    Luton - £40 cashback when you spend £50

    Northamptonshire - Nappy lending service

    North Somerset - Nappy lending service, advice and demos

    Oxfordshire - Nappy lending service

    Rutland - Nappy lending service

    Selby - £30 cashback 

    Sheffield - £10 voucher 

    South Gloucestershire - Discounted Nappy Kits

    Stevenage £50 cashback or a Free Nappy Starter Kit

    Three Rivers - £50 cashback or a Free Nappy Starter Kit

    Wakefield - Free trial kit

    Walsall- £30 cashback when you spend £50 

    Watford - £50 cashback 

    Wealdon - Nappy lending service

    Wiltshire - Nappy lending service

    Wokingham - £30 cashback


    Carlisle - £45 voucher 

    Denbighshire - £75 voucher 

    Flintshire - £75 voucher 

    Gwynedd - Free trial kit or a £30 voucher

    Pembrokeshire - £30 cashback when you spend £50 or £60 cashback when you spend £150 

    Torfaen - £30 voucher 

    Swansea - £100 cashback 

    Powys - £100 cashback


    Edinburgh - Free nappy starter kit

    Inverclyde - £80 cashback 

    North Ayrshire - Free nappy starter kit

    Northern Ireland

    Belfast City Council - Free two week trial and £30 cashback scheme when you spend £50

    Derry City & Strabane - £30 cashback

    Lisburn & Castlereagh - £30 cashback 

    Newry, Mourne and Down - £30 cashback 

    Real Nappies for London

    The Real Nappies for London Campaign provides residents of certain London boroughs with vouchers up to £54.15 

    Barnet - £54.15 cashback

    Bexley - £50 cashback

    Camden - £54.15 cashback

    Enfield - £54.15 cashback

    Hackney - £54.15 voucher

    Haringey - £54.15 voucher

    Islington - £54.15 voucher

    Lambeth- £40 cashback

    Southwark - Free nappy starter pack

    Sutton - £35 cashback

    Oldham - £30 cashback

    Waltham Forest - £54.15 cashback

    West London Waste (Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hounslow, Hillingdon, Lambeth, Richmond upon Thames) - Nappy lending service

    Southwark - Free nappy starter kit

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