On 1 August this year the Northland DHB Safe Sleep Programme launched a pilot programme to recycle and reuse Pēpi-Pods® back to whānau in need of a safe sleep space.

The pilot area is centred in Whangarei with distribution through iwi health providers, maternity units and services.

At distribution, whānau are made aware of the recycling programme and are encouraged to return the pods. The incentive for return is a $20 petrol voucher.

Whānau love this initiative and every return comes with a ‘great idea and appreciate the vouchers’! There is an obvious need to extend this to the whole of Te Tai Tokerau as they have already received and accepted return pods back from the far and mid-north (outside of the pilot area).

“We want to make access to Pēpi-Pods® easier across this large region especially within our rural spaces,” offered Raewyn Smith, Safe Sleep Coordinator, “this recycling programme will hopefully encourage whānau to recycle within their own communities.”

When a Pēpi-Pod® is redistributed whānau receive a clean pod, new mattress and blanket set. Northland DHB are able to track the pods through using the bedding pack serial numbers.

The kaupapa for Moenga Hangarua is ‘te ao Māori and caring for Papatūānuku’ – reducing the amount of plastic going into landfill!

Within three months of the programme being launched they have received 40 Pēpi-Pods® back.

There has been two pods returned that had minor cracks that couldn’t be reused as a safe sleep device so these were offered to the local Community Gardens initiative and repurposed for seedling production – they drilled holes in the bottom! “This is a time to mihi to and acknowledge Change for our Children who provide these pods across the country to support the reduction of SUDI in our communities,” said National SUDI Prevention Coordination Service, GM Fay Selby-Law, “and we also acknowledge Raewyn and the team in Northland who are providing an innovative service that is mindful of Papatūānuku, our environment, our communities.”