Council leaders have again drawn attention to the environmental impact of disposable nappies and the cost to councils of dealing with them in spite of research which shows they may be no worse for the environment than traditional cloth ones. It is estimated by councils that about eight million nappies are thrown away every day in the United Kingdom.
A four-year study by the Environment Agency found there was little or nothing to choose between the two types in terms of environmental impact because the damage caused by burying disposables in landfill sites was equal to the electricity and greenhouse gases created by washing and drying cloth nappies.
Paul Bettison, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Environment Board, said all eight million nappies that were disposed off each day ended up in landfill because there was no other way to deal with them. This cost local authorities 67 million pounds a year.
“Councils are under huge financial pressure because of the escalating cost of landfill tax and EU laws. Landfill tax has just increased by a third and could cost councils three billion pounds over the next four years,” he said and added, “Councils are on the frontline in the fight against climate change and working hard to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill but ultimately we must make sure less waste is produced in the first place. Reusable nappies are the only way to prevent the nappy mountain landfill problem.”