An award-winning chemical engineer is enjoying her side-hustle running a reusable cloth nappy library and helping Tees families to save money and reduce household waste.

Andrea has lived in the Tees Valley since 2008 having moved here as a Graduate to work as a Graduate Chemical Engineering for SABIC at Wilton. Since then, Andrea has become one of SABIC’s youngest ever Operations Managers at age 29 she began managing more than fifty people. In her role she is responsible for the safe and reliable operation of logistics manufacturing assets, including jetties and cryogenic storage tanks.

Andrea’s work has attracted awards including the NEPIC Young Achievers Award and Tees Businesswomen Breaking the Mould Award. In May, Andrea will become a Technical Operations Manager for FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies.

During Andrea’s maternity leave, she took over running Teesside Cloth Nappy Library which is active on Facebook and on The Tees Buy Local directory. The library helps local families convert from disposable nappies to reusable ones by hiring out nappy kits and giving free help and advice.

Andrea at work with Lottie on her adventures as part of the WES Lottie Tour

Since Andrea took over, the library has expanded from 4 to 22 kits and she now coordinates eight volunteers across Teesside. The team consists of Tees Valley parents who are happy to help other save money and waste by using cloth nappies. These include solicitors, hairdressers, teachers, scientists, engineers and stay at home carers.

Due to demand in the pandemic, free kits are now also given to low-income families from the recycled donated stock. The cost for the standard kits, which are available in different sizes, is £10 for four weeks hire. Andrea and her team have helped a hundred local families converted to reusables have saved more than 60 tonnes of household waste which would have been incinerated. Each family also saved on average £1,000 per child.

Andrea has also expanded her role to a UK wide one, where she shares best practice with other libraries and runs the donation page helping other libraries create free recycled kits from nappies which are no longer needed by families. One of the libraries even uses faulty nappies to make bunting so nothing goes to waste.

Andrea is looking to expand the reach further to help more families and has recently agreed a promotional space at The Forge, Norton. Andrea also has plans to speak to the Local Authorities and expand the scheme locally via children’s centres and health visitors.

Andrea is an active member of the WES Tyne and Tees Cluster and recently sat on a panel event talking about her nappy side hustle alongside some high-profile women in STEM who have their own businesses.

Can you help:
• Spread the word to those who can use the service
• Get in touch (TeessideCloth@gmail.com) if you know of any groups who will find this useful including toddlers / baby groups, zero waste shops and health visitors
• Donate any old nappies either nationally through the donation page or simply contact the Teesside Cloth Library direct for local donations.
• Do you wish to help Andrea and the team by volunteering to look after the kits so they are well distributed throughout the Tees Valley for easy drop off and collection.

Reusable Nappy Week runs from 19-25th April. The international campaign week ran by the Nappy Alliance where all the nappy libraries and retailers come together to promote the use of reusable nappies. Look out for events and savings as well as information on why and how you can pass on your nappies to ensure they get used and more people get to help save waste.

 


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