Nap­pies on the nose

Cockburn Gazette - - OPINION -

A DAILY in­flux of dirty di­a­pers con­tam­i­nat­ing re­cy­clables costs the com­mu­nity more than $150,000 each year.

A re­cent nappy au­dit car­ried out by the South Metropoli­tan Re­gional Coun­cil (SMRC) found that more than 200 used nap­pies were de­liv­ered to its Ma­te­ri­als Re­cov­ery Fa­cil­ity (MRF) ev­ery day.

The MRF pro­cesses the contents of the yel­low-topped re­cy­clables bin, where nap­pies are of­ten mis­tak­enly dis­posed.

A spokes­woman for the SMRC said nap­pies con­tam­i­nate re­cy­cling streams like pa­per and card­board, re­sult­ing in ex­port bans for en­tire con­tain­ers at a con­sid­er­able cost to both the coun­cil and the com­mu­nity.

“Some con­tain­ers of pa­per have been stopped from en­ter­ing over­seas re­cy­cling des­ti­na­tions as a re­sult of nap­pies end­ing up in them,” the spokes­woman said.

“Costs that can then be in­curred are in re­turn­ing or land-fill­ing the ma­te­rial.”

She said the in­cor­rect dis­posal of nap­pies – which should be placed in the green­topped bin – also dam­aged more than just the bud­get.

“Nap­pies in the re­cy­cling bin are a bio­haz­ard and we feel we have a re­spon­si­bil­ity not to send bio­haz­ards to other coun­tries, even if their stan­dards for im­port­ing, par­tic­u­larly of waste, may not be as high as in Aus­tralia.

“When nap­pies in­cor­rectly go into the yel­low-topped bin, they end up in land­fill and pro­duce meth­ane, which is 24 times more po­tent than car­bon diox­ide and contribute­s to global warm­ing.

“The take­away mes­sage is that nap­pies should al­ways be placed in the green-topped bin.

“There are also al­ter­na­tives to dis­pos­able nap­pies in us­ing cloth. Mod­ern cloth nap­pies are very easy to use and eco­nom­i­cal, and you don’t leave your child with a 500year land­fill legacy.”

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