Should Lane Cove Council Offer a Rebate on Reusable Nappies and Absorbent Hygiene Products?

    In the last couple of years, local councils have been offering a rebate to induce locals to start using reusable nappies and sanitary products.

    For example, the City Of Parramatta discovered that nappies and absorbent hygiene products were the second largest contributor to household garbage waste in Parramatta, with audits showing that by weight, these products made up 9% of the material collected through the red-lidded general waste bin. This was second only to food waste which made up 43%.

    Hornsby Shire Council introduced a rebate programme, and it was so successful that the programme closed earlier as their budget for 2021/22 was fully expended.

    Now the Inner West Council is trialling reusable sanitary products and reusable nappies rebates.  The rebate scheme was trialled after single-use nappies, tampons, and pads make up approximately 8% by the weight of the average Inner West garbage bin (Kerbside audits 2019).

    How Will  The Inner West Council Trial Work?


    A Rebate of up to 50% of the product value with proof of purchase, excluding any postage costs for eligible products, will be paid.

    The rebate will be up to $150 for nappies and up to $100 for sanitary products (or a combination of the two). The maximum rebate available per household is $150.

    Trial funding is limited, and once exhausted, the trial will stop for the financial year.

    Eligible Products for The Rebate

    Reusable nappies and associated accessories include cloth and swim nappies, reusable inner liner for nappies, reusable wipes, wet bags, and reusable nursing breast pads.

    Reusable sanitary products include leakproof underwear, reusable sanitary pads, cups and wet bags.


    You must be a current resident of Inner West Council, proof of residence is required.

    Only one rebate per household.

    The maximum rebate per household is capped at $150 (up to a maximum of $100 for reusable sanitary products and up to $150 for reusable nappies).

    Receipts and proof of purchase need to be provided.

    Reusable Nappies

    Reusable Nappies are not for everyone.  You do need to be able to wash and dry them quickly. has a good article on the pros and cons of reusable nappies.  They suggest that you might want to use reusable nappies at home and disposable nappies when you are out.  If your child suffers from nappy rash, disposable nappies are a better option.

    Reusable Sanitary Products

    According to CleanUp Australia, there are:

    • 6 million menstruators in Australia
    • 16-22 sanitary items used per period
    • 13 periods per year
    • 30-40 years of menstruating
    • Over the course of a lifetime, a single menstruator will use somewhere between 5 and 15 thousand pads and tampons – which nearly all ends up in landfill.
    • And 90% of conventional pads contain plastic (backing, adhesive strips, packaging) which in landfill would take 300-500 years to decompose, if ever.

    Menstrual Underwear is a reusable option that many women are embracing.

    The global Menstrual Underwear market was valued at US$ 200.7 million in 2020 and is expected to reach US$ 1206 million by the end of 2027.

    How Would the Trial be Funded?

    The Lane Cove Sustainability Levy is a special rate variation (levy), and 6% must be utilised specifically for sustainability projects from Council’s Sustainability Action Plan.

    Last year the fund was not fully exhausted.   A budget for the 2022/2023 plan has been developed, but a trial could be looked at for the next financial year.  Item 1.11 of the Lane Cove Council’s Draft Sustainability Action plan is:

    “Create awareness programs with best practice waste strategies to reduce disposable and recyclable waste at the outset”.

    A rebate scheme like the ones introduced by other local councils would be in keeping with Council’s Sustainability Action Plan.

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