Maidstone council's Bin the Nappy campaign supports recycling
Nappies thrown away in recycling bins rather than ordinary waste have cost taxpayers in one Kent town some £8,000 since the start of the year.
Maternity wards, anti-natal groups, nurseries and early years providers as well as new parents at home are all being warned by the Maidstone council of the impact of disposing of used nappies alongside materials for recycling.
The council's Bin the Nappy campaign is designed to hammer home the message that getting rid of them in that way can cause a whole bulk load of materials to be contaminated, rejected and diverted for incineration at huge financial and environmental cost to the taxpayer.
So far this year four loads have been rejected, at a cost of around £8,000.
As part of the campaign, a leaflet is being put inside the packs each new parent received at the maternity unit at Tunbridge Wells Hospital.
Waste manager at Maidstone Borough Council, Graham Gosden, said: “Over recent months we have noticed an increase in the number of used disposable nappies being found in the recycling bins.
“The local recycling collected from Maidstone households is taken to a recovery facility at Crayford for sorting. The process includes people having to pick items off a conveyor belt, whenever nappies are found in the recyclable materials it creates big problems.
“I appreciate that families with young children have busy lives and that labelling on packaging is confusing for parents who want to do their bit for the environment. However, we are asking that this important information could be passed onto new parents when they first have their babies, whenever the opportunity presents itself.”
Mayor of Maidstone, Marion Ring added: “As a mum and a grandma I know how busy life can get with a new baby.
"There are so many pressures on parents to do the right thing for the environment and labelling on nappy packaging can be confusing. So I’m fully supportive of this campaign to help parents get it right and put dirty nappies into the black bin.”
A ‘Censuswide’ poll of 1,000 UK parents with children under the age of three found that 10% thought nappies should go in a different bin.
Almost half of those quizzed thought biodegradable nappies were recyclable and more than two-fifths thought that was the case for compostable nappies.
The research also raises concerns about confusion over on-pack labels and logos.
The council's recycling team offers a specialist recycling information service, where they try to answer most questions and queries. This can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.