I first got involved in the debate about disposable nappies vs re-usables in the early 1990s.
The comparisons were being made in eco-labelling research and I was sitting on the UK Eco-Labelling Board. The over-whelming concern about disposables was the amount of waste they produce. Local authorities have teamed up with campaigning organisations to encourage people towards re-usables.
But the issue is far from clear cut. Whilst disposables nappies do produce more household waste, re-usables can have a bigger carbon footprint because of all the washing that’s needed. And one issue that’s often over-looked in this debate is about nappy rash. The absorbent gel in disposable nappies is incredibly efficient, which means there’s less moisture in contact with the babies skin, and therefore less nappy rash. This could mean using less nappies during a babies lifetime.
I sit on the P&G baby care expert advisory panel, which has formally met a couple of times, most recently in June 2011. I’ve also been involved in numerous discussions on this issue both at P&G and with outside stakeholders. And in September 2009, I was asked to speak at the trade association conference on disposable hygiene products, in Malta.