New campaign launched by North London Waste Authority highlights the fact that dirty nappies cannot be recycled. Trying to do so can contaminate lorry loads of recycling, as well as being unpleasant for depot workers who have to remove them
It’s not something most of us would think of doing, but a survey has found that one in ten well-intentioned parents put their baby’s dirty nappy in the recycling.
In case you’re in doubt, dirty nappies can’t be recycled. The confusion might arise as some nappies are labelled as biodegradable or compostable, but this does not mean they can be recycled.
Contaminated recycling costs north London taxpayers alone £1.5 million a year
Unfortunately, dirty nappies can contaminate a lorry load of recycling, so the contents of the whole lorry may head to landfill rather than being reused.
The research was carried out by North London Waste Authority (NLWA). They say that as well as a whole community’s recycling efforts potentially being wasted, recycling centre workers have the unpleasant task of manually pulling soiled nappies off conveyor belts.
NLWA estimates that contaminated recycling costs north London taxpayers alone an incredible £1.5 million a year.
Because of this, NLWA has launched the #BinYourNappy campaign to remind parents to dispose of their baby’s nappies in the general waste bin rather than the recycling.
It points out that many parents are confused by the symbols on nappies. They want to make clear that even if a nappy has a label saying biodegradable, compostable or disposable it does not mean it can be recycled.
They found the ‘Green dot’ symbol (two intertwined arrows forming a circle) can also be misleading. In the survey, 55% of parents thought this meant the outer wrapping could be recycled, and 13% thought this meant the nappy itself could be recycled.
In fact, the symbol only shows that the producer has made a financial contribution towards the recovery and recycling of packaging in Europe. It does not mean the nappy or packaging are recyclable.
If you’re a parent who cares about the environment, find out what you can do to help the planet while you’re caring for your baby here.