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Nappies and Sanitary Protection: Recycling

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 188179, tabled on 27 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department plans to publish an update on the Life Cycle Assessment of nappies and absorbent hygiene products.

Answered on

29 April 2021

In line with the 25 Year Environment Plan, and our Resources and Waste Strategy, we are considering the best approach to minimise the environmental impact of a range of products, including nappies, taking on board the environmental and social impacts of the options available.

Potential additional policy measures include standards, consumer information and encouraging voluntary action by business. We are seeking powers, through the Environment Bill, that will enable us to, where appropriate and subject to consultation, introduce ecodesign and consumer information requirements. This could include labelling schemes that provide accurate information to consumers, to drive the market towards more sustainable products.

The previous Life Cycle Assessment of disposable and washable nappies dates from 2005, and was updated in 2008. To take account of the latest technological developments we are now funding a new environmental assessment of disposable and washable absorbent hygiene products (AHPs) with the primary focus on nappies. This is in progress and is looking at the waste and energy impacts of washable products, disposal to landfill or incineration, and recycling options. It will be published later this year following peer review and will help inform possible future action on AHPs by Government and industry.

In order to complete this study and explore feasible options going forward, information is being gathered from industry. I have met with representatives of the Nappy Alliance, and will be meeting with the Absorbent Hygiene Product Manufacturers Association and disposable nappy business representatives shortly.