Nappies are Rubbish not Recycling!

The Norfolk Waste Partnership, which encourages everyone to 'Recycle for Norfolk', has issued a stark reminder to Norfolk's residents not to put nappies in their recycling bins as they make otherwise clean recycling dirty and unusable, and can cause a potential health hazard for those who have to remove them by hand.


The reminder comes at a time when Norfolk's recycling level is at an all-time high with residents now recycling almost half their waste. Contamination however remains an issue and nappies are one of the biggest culprits. Many recycling bins are found to contain contaminated waste such as used babies' nappies and other absorbent hygiene products like kitchen roll and paper tissues.

It is estimated that around 400,000 used and dirty disposable nappies end up at Norfolk's Materials Recovery Facility in Costessey each year where recycling materials are sorted. Dirty nappies have to be identified and sorted out by hand by teams of hardworking people prior to all the recyclables being mechanically separated into the raw materials needed to make new products. 

Vice Chair of the Norfolk Waste Partnership, Councillor Andy Grant, explained: "It takes just one nappy to contaminate recycling. We want to make sure people understand why putting nappies into their recycling bin is wrong. Nappies badly contaminate everything else in there and lower the quality of our recyclable material. No one wants to see a bale of paper with a dirty nappy in it."

Cllr Grant added: "Having to remove dirty nappies from the recycling is also extremely unpleasant and unhygienic for our workers at the Material Recovery Facility who sort Norfolk's recycling material by hand."

Recycle for Norfolk is working with many of Norfolk's ante and post-natal organisations, health and family support agencies, as well as local councils, community groups and waste collection crews to reinforce the need to keep nappies out of Norfolk's recycling.

Norfolk Waste Partnership will be spreading the campaign message that nappies need to be put in the rubbish bin where they will be properly disposed of.

Paula Boyce, from the Norfolk Waste Partnership commented: "We do understand there will be many genuine reasons why people put nappies incorrectly in their recycling bin. People don't realise the problems nappies cause. Many people mistakenly think nappies, used or unused, can be recycled because they are made from paper pulp, but they can't. The cardboard box that disposable nappies are packaged in is recyclable, but the nappies themselves, in Norfolk, are not."

"Recognising having a baby is one of the most hectic times of life for any new parent or carer and that a child can get through an estimated 2,000 nappies in its first year, it could be that many nappies are thrown in the wrong bin because people are in a hurry and have their hands full with their new arrival. That's why we want to remind people why it is so important to stop and think about whether they are putting the right things in the right bin. All of our councils and crews work hard to empty our bins and when they find a recycling bin contaminated with used nappies it can be soul-destroying."

This latest recycling awareness campaign follows on from Norfolk Waste Partnership's 'Give your recycling a little bit of love' initiative in which residents were reminded of three simple rules for recycling: Clean, Dry and Loose.

More information about what can and cannot be recycled in Norfolk can be found at Nappy Recycle Campaign or via Twitter and Facebook: @Recycle4Norfolk


Press release issued on behalf of Norfolk Waste Partnership on January 29, 2018

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