Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Babies to fight war on waste

02.12.2003


The type of nappies mothers use in the maternity ward may influence the type they continue to use for their baby, according to a new study by the University of Surrey, funded by SITA Environmental Trust.



The Environmental Psychology Research Group at the University partnered the Maternity Unit at East Surrey Hospital and Cotton Bottoms Nappy Laundry Service to give parents the chance to use cotton nappies at the hospital after giving birth. Some also took the opportunity to try Cotton Bottoms laundry service free of charge when they returned home.

“Parents who choose disposable nappies mostly do so because of convenience, while cotton nappies are mostly chosen by people who are more concerned by the waste generated by disposables,” Rachel Leach, the researcher explained.


Their research found that many parents had been surprised to find that disposable nappies were not biodegradable or recyclable. “Disposable nappies account for about 4% of household waste going to landfill and it is currently estimated that they will decompose in 200 – 500 years.”

Parents who had chosen disposable nappies for their baby were as aware as other parents about the landfill problem linked to disposable nappies. They believed that this would only be addressed when at least half of all parents used cotton nappies. Indeed, one of the main reasons that disposable nappies are chosen anyway is that parents seemed to feel ‘everybody else uses them, so why shouldn’t I?’.

Cotton nappies need to be easier to buy if more parents are to be convinced to use them. Parents who chose to use cotton nappies for their baby usually found it a challenge to research and buy what they needed. But these parents were willing to act on their environmental concerns rather than take the view that it is more convenient to buy and use disposables. The research shows that there are premium times for promoting information about alternatives to disposable nappies.

Trying cotton nappies in the maternity unit influenced how easy parents thought they were to use. Parents who believed that they would be able to use, buy and wash cotton nappies were most likely to choose them for their baby. The majority of parents also reported that they were likely to carry on with the type of nappy with which they had started. Cost was not considered an important decision making factor to either those who chose disposable or cotton nappies. An added benefit for the hospital was that they drastically cut their incinerator cost for getting rid of nappy waste.

The free laundry trial was most appreciated by parents who were intending to use disposable nappies. Few parents who took part would have been likely to try cotton nappies without this offer. About one third intended to carry on using cotton nappies even though they had originally intended to use disposables.

“A change in maternity unit policy from one in which all parents supply their own disposable nappies to that of supplying parents with cotton nappies during their post-natal stay would impact on the parents’ attitudes and waste minimisation behaviour. Parents should remember that using cotton nappies does not mean that they are not ‘allowed’ to use disposable nappies on occasion.” Ms Leach concluded.

The research was undertaken in partnership with East Surrey Hospital and Cotton Bottoms. The project received £82,000 funding from SITA Environmental Trust through the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. Additional support came from Surrey County Council, Crawley Borough Council, Tandridge District Council, Mole Valley District Council and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.

Liezel Tipper | alfa
Further information:
http://www.surrey.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

nachricht Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Previous evidence of water on mars now identified as grainflows

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's James Webb Space Telescope completes final cryogenic testing

21.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New catalyst controls activation of a carbon-hydrogen bond

21.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>