Campaigners called for a nationwide voucher system to encourage parents to adopt reusable diapers after Downing Street denied reports of a new tax on disposable diapers.
The government insisted there was no plan for a tax on single-use diapers despite suggestions that they were the next item on a “ministerial results list” after last week’s crackdown on disposable plastic plates and cutlery in England.
The Nappy Alliance has said a tax is not the answer despite the scourge of disposable diapers, with nearly $ 3 billion thrown away in the UK each year.
Guy Schanschieff, chairman of the group that represents the reusable diaper industry, said he had never advocated for a tax or a ban because “there is already a pretty big problem with child poverty. children in this country ”.
“The last thing we want is for parents to pay more for disposable diapers, it’s about having access [to reusable ones]”Said Schanschieff, founder of the Bambino Mio brand.
Growing concern over the climate crisis means sales of alternative brands of diapers made from a variety of materials, including cotton, bamboo, microfiber and hemp, are already booming, even though start-up costs are higher.
A single reusable Bambino Mio diaper costs £ 16, while the supermarket-branded disposable diapers sell for as little as 3p each. However, in the long run it is estimated that parents can save £ 300-400 by using reusable items that can be passed on to other children.
There are already a number of incentive programs in place in the UK. Real Nappies for London is working with 15 local authorities and reusable diaper brands to reduce disposable diaper waste in the capital. In Camden, for example, parents can request a voucher worth £ 54.15 to purchase reusable items or to use for a paid laundry service for cloth diapers.
Another big problem with disposable diapers, according to the Keep Britain Tidy charity, is that the British mistakenly attempt to recycle them and end up contaminating thousands of tons of waste. Its chief executive, Allison Ogden-Newton, described it as an “environmental disaster” costing local authorities hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.
Schanschieff said his organization was in constant dialogue with the Ministry of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the issue of layers.
“There are various councils that subsidize reusable diapers for parents because they can actually save money because they don’t go to the landfill,” he said. “They [Defra] I find it quite difficult to get a feel for it because it’s not like coffee mugs or stirrers or plastic knives and forks, you can’t just ban them. An easy-to-use voucher system involving large supermarkets could offer a way forward, he suggested,
A recent United Nations Environment Program diaper report said single-use diapers are one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste around the world. He described his booming industry with sales expected to exceed $ 71 billion next year.
A Daily Mail article said disposable diapers were the next item on the government’s results list and quoted a Whitehall source involved in politics as saying “you can’t ban them… It should take some form of a tax” .
This is a contentious issue. Three years ago, when then-Environment Secretary Michael Gove hinted at a ban on disposable diapers, it caused such an uproar that he was forced to deny that such a move. was planned.
A Defra spokesperson replied that the government had “absolutely no intention of imposing a tax on diapers” and was already a world leader in the fight against plastic pollution.
“We have banned both microbeads in rinse-out personal care products and the supply of plastic straws, agitators, and cotton swabs, and our carrier bag charges have reduced sales by 95% in local stores. major supermarkets, ”they said.