“Aren’t disposable nappies 100% biodegradable these days?”

New FAQ Question: * Aren’t disposable nappies 100% biodegradable these days?

Be very sceptical of biodegradability claims. Many disposable nappies are now claiming to be 70% or even 100% “biodegradable”.

Firstly, biodegradation claims are made after testing in ideal composting conditions with access to air, conditions which do not occur in our landfills. A typical household compost heap cannot cope with the output of even one baby, and soiled nappies should not go into household compost at all.

Secondly, biodegradability claims can be spurious. For one example, as of August 2008, SeNevens is under ACCC investigation for alleging that their Safeties Nature Nappies are 100% biodegradable. THe ACCC alleges false, misleading and deceptive conduct in their marketing of these nappies, in breach of the Trade Practices Act.

Link: “ACCC institutes proceedings against SeNevens International ltd

Lastly, landfill is not the most important environmental impact that nappies have. You need to look at the entire life cycle, the carbon costs, the packaging, the transportation costs, the energy consumed in manufacture, the pollution, the raw materials including non-renewable resources. Focussing on biodegradability is very convenient for nappy manufacturers who would like to greenwash their products, but it is not the whole story.

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