Bradshaw causes stink over nappies

There is 'little to no difference' in terms of environmental impact when it comes to choosing between cloth and disposable nappies, the former waste Minister has suggested.

Despite an estimated eight million nappies thrown away every day in the UK, former waste minister Ben Bradshaw scrapped the multi-milllion pound Real Nappy Campaign last week saying that ‘there was no significant difference between any of the environmental impacts of the disposable, home-reusable and commercial laundry systems that were assessed.”

The comments by the new health minister follow a study undertaken by the Environment Agency over the last four years.

The study found that environmental impact caused by throw-away nappies in landfill are more or less equal to damage caused by washing and drying cloth – or traditional – nappies.

Commenting on Ben Bradshaw’s announcement in the Commons last week, Councilor Paul Bettison, Chairman of the Local Government Association

(LGA) said:

“It costs local authorities £67 million a year to bury used disposable nappies. All eight million end up in landfill as there isn’t any other way to deal with a disposable nappy.

“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.”

It is believed that close to three billion nappies are thrown away each year in the UK. Other estimates claim an annual figure as high as 8 billion nappies thrown away.

Over the last three years, Government has spent £2 million on ‘the Real Nappy Campaign’ according to the Taxpayers’ Alliance, as well as locally-funded projects including ‘Nappucino’ mornings celebrating the uptake of cloth nappies.

The Women’s Environmental Network also responded to Ben Bradshaw’s comments by saying that: “Both the Agency and the Minister have missed a golden opportunity to tell parents their best options for reducting the overall impact of their nappy choices…Washable nappies are clearly better for the environment, even when you take account of the energy and water used to wash them.”

Dana Gornitzki

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