Disposable Nappies are Rubbish

Having a baby is one of the most hectic times of life for any parent or carer and a child can get through around 2,000 nappies in its first year. Many of those nappies are thrown away in the wrong bin because people are in a hurry and have their hands full with their new arrival.

But every year, around 400,000 used nappies are put in recycling bins and end up at Norfolk’s recycling facility in Costessey, causing a big problem. This is where your recycling is hand sorted by our workers, who have to remove all those dirty nappies, which is extremely unpleasant and unhygienic.

Successful recycling relies on people making sure their recycling is ‘clean, dry and loose’ and nappies are certainly not clean or dry! Nappies in the wrong bin also costs money and time to deal with; which ends up costing council taxpayers more.

People don’t realise the problems nappies cause. Many people mistakenly think nappies, used or unused, can be recycled because they are made from paper pulp, but they can’t. The cardboard box disposable nappies are packaged in is recyclable, but the nappies themselves, in Norfolk, are not.

That’s why we want to remind people why it is so important to stop and think about whether they are putting the right things in the right bin. All of our councils and collection crews work hard to empty our bins and when they find a recycling bin contaminated with used nappies it can be soul-destroying.

So when you have finished with a nappy, please put it in your rubbish bin where it belongs.

Real Nappies - there is a choice

For parents who wish to try alternatives, why not try washable, fabric nappies which are a modern version of the old terry towels. They are fun and funky and a great way to save money as well as reducing your family’s rubbish in the bin. To give them a try, there are several local outlets, all accessible through the links to the left.

For more information, please click here.

Did you know?

The History of Disposable Nappies

Whatever you think about disposable nappies, they are here to stay.  They were invented by a mum in Scotland to help her cope with bringing up small children. Advertised as “A really attractive garment, skilfully designed by a mother, to make the whole-time use of disposable nappies a practical possibility”. They offered an easier way to keep your baby clean and comfortable.  Valerie Hunter created the first “Paddi” after having her third child, Nigel, in 1947 and becoming fed-up with washing traditional nappies. The two-part garments were initially made out of old nylon parachutes, tissue wadding and cotton wool.

So the advent of disposable nappies created an easier way to keep your baby clean. However, a used disposable nappy is only good for one thing – your rubbish bin!