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Campaigners urge action over carbon footprint of disposable nappies

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Environmental campaigners are calling on the UK government to take action after new analysis found a significant difference between the carbon footprints of washable and disposable nappies.

Reusable nappies have 25% less global heating potential compared with single-use nappies, according to a report commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The environmental impact of production was shown to be nearly nine times greater for single-use nappies, and nearly 10 times greater when it came to their disposal.

However, the report paints a mixed picture, with reusable nappies given a worse impact score for 11 of 18 categories – mainly associated with water and electricity usage when washing and drying.

Disposable nappies are one of the biggest single contributors to plastic waste worldwide, but a 2005 life cycle analysis declared there was “little or no difference between the environmental impact of reusable and disposable nappies”.

This resulted in a lack of action from policymakers, according to campaigners, who say the government has a…

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