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Member Article

New campaign launches to tackle Defra’s poor record on nappy waste

A new campaign has been launched by eco nappy brand Mama Bamboo and its founder Laura Crawford calling on DEFRA to take action on the “woeful” state of nappy waste management in the UK. Currently, across the UK as a whole, 3 billion nappies and 11 billion wet wipes are added to landfill each year. 93% of the nappy and wipe industry consists of plastic single-use disposables that are not currently recycled or composted but instead sent to landfill.

Both plastic and natural fibre nappies currently make up approximately 10% of black bin waste destined for landfill. Diverting this to compost or recycling would drastically reduce landfill waste.

Crawford is a green pioneer and founder of Mama Bamboo which manufactures disposable bamboo compostable nappies and wipes. She has set up a petition calling on the Government to take action on this issue and it has already been signed by over 1600 people.

“The current system for recycling and composting used nappies and wipes is woefully inadequate in the UK and the stark fact is that 8 million nappies are sent to landfill every single day. This needs to change and we are calling on DEFRA to increase targets for diverting nappy and wipe waste away from landfill across the UK

“The plastic versions could be sent to recycling centres, whilst the compostable versions should be sent to industrial compost facilities.

“It seems ridiculous that in the face of changing technologies and processes being proven viable, the majority of UK councils continue to send this waste to landfill simply because it’s the cheapest option.

“We take sustainability seriously and have just attained B Corp status. This means that we join an elite group of businesses around the world that meet the highest verified standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability. We want to use our business as a force for good and as an opportunity to make a change to the current poor record that we have in this country in managing nappy and wipe waste.

“We have designed sustainably resourced disposable nappies and wipes which are compostable. We even use compostable packaging for our nappies. We don’t use the plastics that most of the major brands use but without council’s investment in a circular economy, we cannot realise the full benefit of these sustainably produced products.”

“We are a corporate sponsor for a UCL Research Project to propose a fully circular economy model for compostable products like ours which will offer the most sustainable solution, but without stricter controls and penalties, we believe councils will continue to send waste that can be composted to landfill simply because it is cheaper. We must pressurise DEFRA to impose stricter controls in order to encourage councils to invest in these viable industrial composting technologies.”

At present only 22 councils in Wales have invested in the technology to recycle nappy and wipe waste and no one has invested in composting, despite there being excellent examples of viable processes in US, Canada, Germany and New Zealand. We are sadly lagging behind.“

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Mama Bamboo .

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