Published date: 23 November 2016

It stinks! Scale of nappy problem revealed

North London Waste Authority has today (22 November) revealed the scale of a contamination problem afflicting north London. With more and more north Londoners wrongly disposing of used nappies in their recycling bins, tonnes of recycling are being thrown away every year.

When used disposable nappies are put in the recycling bin instead of the rubbish bin the recycling is contaminated. If contamination levels are too high then recyclable material ends up being thrown away.

In the last six months more than 1,600 tonnes of recycling had to be thrown away in north London because of contamination by non-recyclable items, including used baby and adult nappies.

Councillor Clyde Loakes, Chair of NLWA, the Authority responsible for disposing of waste collected by north London’s councils, is calling on the big nappy companies to do more to stop nappy contamination in a letter sent to major brands today.

Cllr Loakes, said: “Contamination of household recycling is a real problem, and used nappies are one of the worst culprits. If the wrong things end up in the recycling then whole lorry loads of material that could have been sold and turned into new products will be thrown away instead, all of which costs taxpayers money and is bad for the environment.

“I’m calling on nappy producers to work with us to help deal with this problem. If the information on packaging can be made clearer, then people will be less confused about what can be recycled and what can’t.

“In north London disposable nappies cannot be recycled – even if the packaging says they are biodegradable. That means that someone has the unpleasant job of picking used nappies out of the recycling by hand, which costs time and money.”

Contamination isn’t just a problem for local councils either, if recycling bins are contaminated with non-recyclable rubbish, including nappies, then north London residents may find their recycling bins don’t get collected, leaving them with a problem to deal with.