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Disposable Nappies - the Facts From the UK Disposable Nappy Industry Association AHPMA

LONDON, April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- In the coming week campaigners will be appealing to the media to discourage the use of disposable nappies in favour of a return to washable cloth nappies. This is primarily a waste reduction exercise, however a number of misleading and emotive environmental arguments may come into play.

It is important that parents are given accurate, balanced information to enable them to make an informed choice. The facts about nappies are below:

- Neither disposable nappies nor washable nappies carry a greater overall environmental impact, both are equal in this respect. An Environment Agency (EA) report(1) published in May 2005 confirmed 'there was no significant difference between any of the environmental impacts - that is, overall no system clearly had a better or worse environmental performance.' Disposable nappies contribute to waste; cloth nappies consume water, energy and detergents.

- To date, GBP2.8m from DEFRA has been spent via the Waste Resource Action Programme (WRAP) on a disposable nappy waste minimisation scheme. The project has fallen well below target in terms of waste diversion. In its third year WRAP predicts a diversion of just 5,000 tonnes of disposable nappy waste. The project is now in a wind down phase.

- DEFRA funding for nappy schemes is to cease.

- The Local Government Association (LGA) is encouraging local authorities to offer cash incentives to parents to use cloth nappies. Many such schemes are already in place. AHPMA questions the validity and economic evaluation of this further spending.

- Disposable nappies contribute an average 2.4%(2), of household waste which equates to around 0.1% of total landfilled waste. For comparison, paper and card contribute 17%(2), to household waste and garden waste contributes a further 15%(2). Household waste is a fraction of all waste which is landfilled in the UK.

Disposable nappies are compatible with all prevalent forms of waste management. AHPMA members welcome the Government's funding for new waste technologies via the Waste Implementation Programme, which will provide realistic steps toward diverting waste from landfill.

- Over 95% of parents prefer to use disposable nappies. Parents should not be made to feel guilty about which type of nappy they choose to buy on environmental grounds.

Issued by: Tracy Stewart, Director General at AHPMA

AHPMA (Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers Association) is the UK trade association for the disposable nappy, continence care and feminine hygiene product industries.

(1) Life Cycle Assessment of Disposable and Reusable Nappies in the UK. Environment Agency. May 2005

(2) Analysis of Household Waste Composition. Dr Julian Parfitt. WRAP. Dec 2002

SOURCE Absorbent Hygiene Products Manufacturers Association

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