A new survey revealed that seven per cent of nappy users – parents, grandparents and carers – wrongly put their disposable nappies in with their recycling, which equates to more than one million people*.
There are around 3,300 births recorded each year in Dorset and, at an estimated 2,200 nappies per baby per year, could be about seven million used disposable nappies entering the Dorset household waste stream every year.
If a recycling bin contains materials which cannot be recycled at the kerbside, its contents cannot be collected for fear of contaminating the whole lorry load. The bin’s contents are instead collected as rubbish and sent for treatment, at a greater expense to the council and the taxpayer.
The new campaign offers a clear message that disposable nappies should never go in their recycling. It is also hoped more people will choose to start using reusable nappies, which are far better for the environment and save money for both parents and the Council.
Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Customer and Community Services, Cllr Jill Haynes, said, “We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work in partnership with Keep Britain Tidy and eight other councils to raise awareness of the problem of nappy contamination in the recycling system. We aim to educate nappy users that disposable nappies should never be put in the recycling bin and encourage them to change their behaviour”.
Chief executive of Keep Britain Tidy, Allison Ogden-Newton OBE, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with Dorset Council to tackle this issue. Recycling contamination, including disposable nappies, costs local authorities hundreds of thousands of pounds a year and stops many tonnes of waste from being recycled.
“The message to everyone who uses disposable nappies is clear – nappies never go in your recycling.”
Keep Britain Tidy is also calling on nappy manufacturers to label their products as non-recyclable to help avoid confusion.
Allison said, “We know from our research that there is confusion among the public about recycling – our survey has found that a third of nappy users admit to being confused – so we call on all manufacturers of disposable nappies to use eye-catching labelling that clearly communicates their product cannot be recycled.
“Our campaign features a new symbol that we would like to see carried on every pack of nappies so that there is clear and consistent advice to the public, many of whom are trying to do the right thing with what they perceive, incorrectly and tragically, is a recyclable product.”
Dorset Council has joined forces with environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy and other local authorities across the country in the campaign.
*population estimate calculated by Keep Britain Tidy
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