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Nappies

Volume 456: debated on Friday 2 February 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment his Department has made of the potential role of reusable nappies in limiting the amount of household waste which is sent to landfill; (112565)

(2) what steps his Department is taking to promote the use of reusable nappies;

(3) what recent discussions his Department has had with (a) the Waste and Resources Action Programme and (b) other organisations on promoting the use of real nappies.

The Defra-funded Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) Real Nappy Campaign was established to promote the use of reusable nappies. The three year campaign has succeeded in diverting approximately 23,000 tonnes of biodegradable nappy waste from landfill in England.

Reusable nappies may reduce demands on landfill but they still impact on the environment in other ways, such as the water and energy used in washing and drying them. In May 2005, the Environment Agency (EA) published a report entitled “A Life Cycle Assessment of disposable and reusable nappies in the UK”. The report concluded that there was no significant difference between any of the environmental impacts of the disposable, home use reusable and commercial laundry systems that were assessed. None of the systems studied were more or less environmentally preferable.

The EA has commissioned a modest amount of further work to test the validity of some of the assumptions on which these conclusions were based.

WRAP intends to hand over the work on real nappies to other interested parties during the course of this financial year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what his assessment is of the success of Waste Resources Action Plan’s Real Nappy Campaign; how much funding was received by the Real Nappy Campaign in each year since 2003; and how much funding will be made available in the financial year 2007-08. (117590)

The target of the Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) Real Nappy Programme, set out in their Business Plan 2003-06, was to divert a total of 35,000 tonnes of disposable nappy waste from landfill.

WRAP’s Achievements Report, published on 4 October 2006, states that the programme diverted approximately 23,000 tonnes of biodegradable nappy waste from landfill in England.

The Real Nappy Programme budget for the April 2003 to March 2006 period was £2.3 million, with some funding continuing in 2006-07 to allow WRAP to meet existing commitments. No further funding is planned over 2007-08.