Hazards of disposable nappies 'ignored'

MOTHERS think they are disposable. But getting rid of 'disposable' nappies, which are now used in almost nine out of 10 nappy changes in Britain, is an increasing problem.

Most are put straight into the family dustbin and almost 3 billion a year - equivalent to about 17,000 juggernaut lorryloads - end up in landfill waste tips.

Yet none is recyclable or even compostable. The decomposing human waste they contain represents a health hazard and the danger of explosion from a build- up of methane gas.

About 40 million Pampers nappies, one of the most popular brands, are sold each week. The total United Kingdom market is worth pounds 477m a year.

Disposables form one-thirtieth of all household waste but they do not figure in plans for recycling waste that local authorities are submitting to Whitehall. The authorities have been asked to put forward schemes for recycling about 25 per cent of household waste.

The Department of the Environment says that disposables form too small a proportion of waste to be concerned about, and local authorities are equally sanguine on the subject.

The recycling department at Liberal Democrat-controlled Richmond upon Thames in south- west London said that disposable nappies 'just weren't taken into account for the moment' - a position echoed by Tory-run Wealden District Council in East Sussex and the recycling department in Labour-run Glasgow.

Nappies are thought to be a major contributor to the problem of methane leakages at thousands of rubbish tips.

'They're bound to increase landfill gas,' George Cooper, of the Institute of Waste Management, said. 'I believe they should be put in yellow bags to identify them as clinical waste, and be disposed of separately.'

The danger was first realised in the mid-Eighties when they became popular. Since then, gas- tapping installations have had to be built at hundreds of dumps. Wells costing about pounds 3,500 each have to be drilled every 40 metres (43yds) round the edge of dumps, with extraction and venting facilities to burn off the gas.

Britain is one of the biggest users of disposable nappies in the world. About 1,000 nappies can be made per tree trunk, so current UK use (2.993 million) consumes 3 million trees from Swedish plantations each year.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Resourcer

£18000 - £22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Recruitment Resour...

Account Manager (Junior)

Negotiable: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Account Manager (Junior) Account ...

Javascript Developer

£40000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a...

Solar Business Development Manager – M&A

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried