The council is targeting maternity wards, ante-natal groups, nurseries and early years providers to get the message across that putting used nappies in the recycling bin can cause a whole bulk load of recycling to be contaminated and rejected.
When disposable nappies are included in the green recycling bins the contents can spread onto other materials, in most cases rendering them unrecyclable. This can lead to bulk loads of recycling being rejected and diverted for incineration at huge financial and environmental cost to the Council and local tax payer.
So far this year four loads have been rejected, at a cost of around £8,000.
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.”
MBC is working closely with the maternity unit at Tunbridge Wells Hospital to get the message to new parents. A leaflet is being put inside the packs each new parent receives.
Marion Ring, Mayor of Maidstone is backing the campaign, she said:
“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 they went 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.
Maidstone Borough Council recycling team offer a specialist recycling information service, where they endeavour to answer most questions and queries, the service can be accessed by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo attached, left to right: Elizabeth Duncan, MBC Waste Strategy Officer; Graham Gosden, MBC Waste Manager and Marion Ring, Mayor of Maidstone launching the Bin The Nappy campaign at the Maidstone Borough Council waste depot.