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In the UK nearly 8 million disposable nappies are thrown away every day, which is 3 billion nappies a year. Research revealed that there is genuine confusion amongst the public about whether disposable nappies are recyclable.
We’re working with Keep Britain Tidy to respond to this issue that costs local authorities millions of pounds a year. This forms part of a contamination reduction programme.
In Greater Manchester we have noticed that many people are unaware of what bin nappies should go in and therefore are putting them in the paper and card recycling bin. This is not the right bin and is causing many lorry loads to be rejected and classed as general waste.
The #TedSays campaign aims to remind residents that nappies are not recyclable and should go in your general waste bin, focusing on a simple message please don’t put nappies in your recycling.
We are working with 9 local councils across Greater Manchester districts that we collect waste from – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside and Trafford, and Keep Britain Tidy.
Keep Britain Tidy is an independent charity with three goals – to eliminate litter, end waste and improve places.
All disposable nappies should go in your general waste bin.
Nappies that are put in the recycling spoil recycling and in some cases, classifies paper and card as general waste.
Here is a fun way to remember where to put nappies from Biffa and North London Waste Authority :
If reusable nappies are not for you, remember to put disposable nappies in your general waste bin.
Results highlighted that:
With more people aware of the environmental impact of throwing away nappies, more nappies are being thrown in the wrong bins.
Disposable nappies are made from a combination of materials such as plastics (of polypropylene, polyethylene and polyester), wood pulp, and super absorbent polymers and elastic.
The nappy market is trying to be more environmental too and “Eco” nappies are on the rise. In the UK there are no brands that are 100% biodegradable but many companies are taking steps in the right direction by using renewable materials such as cotton and corn-starch to replace the plastics during the manufacturing process.
This doesn’t mean they can be recycled. Although there are many nappies that have biodegradable components they will still take many years to breakdown.
It is important to note that labels or symbols on nappy packaging labelled as “biodegradable” does not mean they are recyclable. For more information on what these symbols mean watch the video from RecycleNow (opens in a new tab):
Italy and Holland (opens in a new tab) do have nappy recycling facilities, engineers have devised ways of recovering the plastic and other materials inside them, but these are very new and technology that is being tested. Unlike bottles, cans or cardboard, nappies are hard to recycle.