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Blog: The Truth behind Nappy Recycling

Nappies are big business, with over 3 billion sold, used and disposed of in the UK each year, in an industry that is set to top £702m by 2015. Yet, while we are all aware that nappies are a fundamental and irreplaceable aspect of life with a small child, few are conscious of the considerable environmental impacts that result from their production, use and disposal.


The average child in the UK will use 4.14 nappies per day, which equates to a staggering 3,796 nappies in the first two and a half years of its life – the standard length of time before a child becomes potty trained.


The sheer volume at which nappies are consumed becomes apparent when considering that they account for around 4% of all UK household waste, and that the nappies from a single child can account for as many as 40 black sacks per year.


At present, the majority of local authorities across the UK collect nappies as part of household waste. This has a tremendous impact on UK ecology, as it not only contributes 10,000s of tonnes of waste to landfill each year, but also releases vast quantities of methane – a greenhouse gas that is twice as harmful as CO2.


Over just two years, a single child can produce 630kg of methane – the equivalent to 1,800 miles in a car. However, the true environmental impact of disposable nappies may not have yet come to light, as they can take up to 500 years to decompose due to the harsh plastics used in their production.


How Nappy Recycling Can Help

A survey conducted by Devon Authorities Waste Reduction and Recycling Committee found that 95% of parents want disposable nappy recycling as part of their standard household waste collection, and that 84% would prefer to dispose of nappy waste by recycling rather than incineration.


Knowaste is the UK's first provider of nappy recycling and is actively campaigning to encourage more kerbside nappy recycling. The Knowaste facilities in West Bromwhich, Midlands, are capable of processing 36,000 tonnes of nappies per year and offer the capacity to reduce a baby's carbon footprint by up to 70%.


Knowaste's recycling process enables up to 98% of the disposable nappy to be removed from the waste stream, offering a 22,536 metric tonnes reduction in greenhouse gases per year and, vitally, reducing the amount of harmful waste entering landfill.


Do you want to see more nappy recycling? Join the debate: @KnowNappyWaste




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